The first step to getting financially fit is to get active. This doesn’t need to involve working up a sweat, but instead a conscious decision to stop being a coach potato when it comes to your money and finances and taking the first steps to putting a workout plan in place. Start with a simple fitness test, a simple summary of what you have coming in, what you have going out, what money and assets you have and of course what money or obligations you owe. Just as with starting a diet or a new fitness programme, it is important to take a health check before you start.
Go for goal
Having warmed-up, the next exercise is to set your financial goals. Most diets focus on losing pounds, but getting financially fit focuses on putting on the pounds! Whether your goal is to pay off debts, get in control of your spending or start a pension, a clear understanding of where you would like to get to, will help you prioritise and establish a workout to make those goals a reality.
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Getting in financial shape doesn’t need to be a solo sport; being part of a team can keep you motivated if the going gets tough. Often goals will not be for you alone, but involve a partner or family, so be sure to discuss the game plan with them & work together towards your common goal.
Don’t forget to stretch
Limbering up is important at the start of any exercise and money management is no different. Warm-up with some simple budget stretches, looking to make your budget go a little bit further and increasingly flexible each time.
Strength and conditioning
A new exercise or sport sometimes uses muscles you never knew you had. Similarly embarking on getting financially fit may require breaking old habits and taking a different approach. Over time, with training and practice, this can build muscle memory and what at first was new and challenging will soon become second nature, like saving each month. As you build confidence and strength, it will also allow you to take on more financial challenges and build strength and wealth.
Marathon, not a sprint
Financial fitness is not about a quick fix to see you through to the end of the month, but about establishing life-long habits, building financial stamina for a long and healthy financial future. Don’t just focus on the quick wins, but maintain a steady pace that keeps you motivated and on track to achieve lasting financial fitness. Having mastered the here and now of budgeting and saving, focus on long-term goals such as building a pension pot.