The Recipe for Prosperity: How to Build Health & Wealth
As I approach my 40th birthday, I’ve really taken notice to how my focus in life continues to shift. My 20’s were a lot about fun and experiences. My 30’s were about building a career/business and family. And now that I’m almost 40, I see myself wanting and needing to focus more on my health and fitness. This body ain’t what it used to be! In some ways I’ve been working on my wellness for a little while, but work and commitments often push any progress out of sight and out of mind. As we each grow older, the realization that your health is your wealth becomes more apparent. It’s the aches, the pains and creaks that start to creep in initially. Then the naps the day after a tough night sleep or the quiet you need after a stressful day. I’ve had to do my fair share of “discovery” on my health/diet/body and what it needs to be at its best (which it is not most days!). Do you think about health as a form of wealth too?
As I try to reprioritize my health and fitness, it occurred to me how similar the process of being physically fit and healthy runs parallel with becoming financially fit and healthy. When we think about something as important as our health, it behooves us to learn more about ourselves, our diet and what our body needs. We find ourselves seeking out MORE than just what tastes good or feels good in the moment. We seek out what makes our bodies work best and helps us feel good TOMORROW too. It takes compromise. It takes planning. It takes some tracking, maybe some trial and error, and often… some expert advice.
Yup. Sounds a lot like financial planning doesn’t it? As you think about your health and wealth planning, here are some similarities to review between the two. There’s a lot of overlap!
It’s Your Health and Wealth – No One Else’s
There will always be someone fitter, stronger and wealthier than you. So don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and instead try to focus only on yourself. Your physiology is unique. Your financial circumstances are unique too. You will achieve financial independence on your timeline and based on your circumstances and choices, not someone else’s. So, start by figuring out what you’re working towards – and in some cases, what you’re hoping to avoid! What does success look like to you? What matters most to you? What are you hoping to see happen? And what are you willing to sacrifice (time and/or money) to get there. Planning can be simple, once you figure out what you’re trying to accomplish! Then your plan can be tailored to YOU! After all, a healthy body/mind and bank balance is a direct result of the decisions you, and you alone, make.
Discovery Is Important
Have you ever been on a diet? Maybe Keto, plant-based, low-carbs or tried intermittent fasting? Have you ever had a health scare that forced you to track everything you ate to better understand what you consume and try to find root problems? Ever been on a health kick because you didn’t feel well, told somebody and they told you “Oh, I felt that way. You have to try THIS”? Ever get bloodwork done, only to find out you should be taking supplements? Maybe you needed more zinc, or vitamin D, or a probiotic or a multi-vitamin? The key here is to understand where you are today – which means assessing what is going well, and what deficiencies exist. Just like a financial plan starts by gathering a bunch of financial data, and meal planning starts with taking inventory of what’s in the cupboard, your health plan needs to have a baseline to work forward from. So start there!
You’re Running a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and without some sort of miracle, your fitness or financial freedom could take years to materialize. You can’t just wish for financial success and expect it to happen. You need to make it happen and let’s be honest, it’s not easy. So, choose to move at your own pace and within your own ability, by focusing on baby steps and not making leaps. Whether that means saving a little more, increasing your income or building your muscles through strength training, moving forward is the key. My best advice is to start by making small changes and to celebrate little wins along the way. In turn, you’ll create good habits that lead to long-term success. A little bit of the right thing can go a long way! I’d also suggest creating a mindset that accepts delayed gratification. Trusting that your choices today will make a difference later on is one of the most important realizations you can make on your financial independence and healthier life journey. Don’t be discouraged if it takes some patience and discipline to reach that goal.
Coaching Is Key
Whether it’s in fitness, finance, or as simple as wanting to eat better, getting some expert advice is often a good idea. So, hire a coach, a financial planner, a dietician. Sure, you can do it alone, but a professional coach is there to help guide you, help hold you accountable, and help you course correct when you need to because they have experience working with a wide range of people just like you. It’s sometimes hard to self-assess and a coach can be there to spot your weaknesses and correct them, long before you may have been able. There are always anomalies and some who choose to do it alone will also reach their ambitions. But it is less common and often a harder journey. Adam and I have accumulated almost four decades of information and experience on personal finance, retirement and estate planning, investment management, etc. We’ve also had our fair share of coaches and mentors on our journey too. If I could do it over again, I would have hired a health coach far sooner than I did to tap into the experience of others and learn my lessons earlier in the process!
You can complicate any task and add any number of “requirements” to achieve your goals. But when it comes to health and wealth keeping the process simple is key! To become healthier, you need to move more, eat better, sleep well and drink lots of water. To become wealthier, you need to spend less than you make and invest the difference. Everything else, really, is just complicating the matter and creating distraction. In many ways, your job is to just follow the script and don’t deviate too much. Sure, you can substitute some ingredients here and there, but the recipe for success was already figured out by someone else - so you just have to trust it.
There are many parallels between managing health and wealth and the habits we form around dealing with both. As consumers, we make all kinds of decisions every day about what to buy vs. what to save, what to eat and what to drink, when to move our body and when to be still. Like all things in life – what’s good for one person, may not be for another. The trick seems to be to balance the here and now with the future, to make a plan to balance ourselves, and to constantly monitor where we are so nothing bad sneaks up on us.
So as you move into a new year, embrace the opportunity to start anew, with whatever you feel needs more of your focus in 2024; your health plan or your wealth plan. For me, it’s time to take what I know in financial planning and put it to work for building a plan for better health in my 40’s. What about you?
Investment advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group are separate entities. This is not intended to be used as tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax or legal professional for specific information and advice.
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