Balancing Your Financial and Physical Well-Being

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Sun Feb 04 2024

balancing your physical and financial wellbeing

Financial wellness and physical well-being have many similarities. Improving both is simple but not always easy. Fiscal and physical health both require discipline. Both can be tremendous sources of stress. And both are essential to overall happiness. 

If your health and wealth are not where you would like them to be, it can feel like you're floating in space with no tether, so balancing your financial and physical well-being must be your priority. We'll show you some ways you can improve both. 

Make an Honest Assessment

Achieving financial stability and physical fitness requires knowing your numbers. Some of these numbers include:

  • How much debt you have

  • Your income

  • Your expenses

  • Your net worth

  • Your weight

  • Your blood pressure

  • Your total cholesterol

  • Your blood sugar level

It may be scary to get these numbers. You might be looking into a black hole of debt that was much worse than you thought. Or blood sugar numbers that require immediate and drastic action. But you cannot achieve financial and physical harmony until you have a complete and honest assessment of the situation. 

Set Goals

Financial fitness and physical fitness both have different meanings for everyone. For some, it might mean being 100% debt-free and having the ability to perform daily activities and enjoy hobbies without pain. For others, it might mean achieving a net worth of several million dollars and a body fat percentage below 20%. 

When the U.S. decided to go to the moon, we started with that goal and worked backward. The same is true for your fiscal and physical health goals. Sit down with a pen and paper and write out your goals

Create a Plan

create a plan

Setting goals is one thing, but you need to create a plan to help you reach those goals. Let's look at some examples.

Your goal is to pay off all of your credit card debt. This is an excellent financial goal. High-interest debt, like credit card debt, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve other financial goals like saving to buy a home or saving for retirement

It can seem daunting if you have a lot of debt to pay off, but how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So, break your goal into smaller steps. That's your plan. Here's what the steps to paying off your credit card debt might look like:

  • Make a list of all your credit cards, including the balance, interest rate, minimum payment, and due date. 

  • Choose a date by which you want to be credit card debt-free. Having an end date for your goal helps keep you accountable. 

  • Be realistic. If you make $40,000 per year and are $20,000 in credit card debt, you aren't going to be able to pay it off in six months. 

  • Choose an "accountability" partner to help keep you honest and on track.

  • Choose a method to structure your payoff. Two very good methods for paying off credit card debt are the avalanche and snowball methods

  • Consider financial tools that can help make your debt less expensive, like a balance transfer credit card or a personal loan. 

  • Call each credit card company and ask if they will lower your interest rate. This doesn't always work, but it can, so it's worth spending the five or ten minutes it takes trying. 

  • Go through your spending and find things to cut or reduce to help pay off your credit cards faster.

  • Consider bringing in extra income from a part-time job or "side hustle" to pay off the debt more quickly. 

  • Track your progress weekly or monthly. What gets measured gets managed. Tracking progress allows you to make any necessary adjustments when things aren't on track to reach your goal by your target date. 

  • Track your credit score. Seeing that score go up as your debt goes down is rewarding and can help provide motivation to keep working on killing off those cards!

Now, let's look at the same process for achieving a health goal, and you'll see just how similar financial and physical well-being are. The goal is to lose weight.

  • Weigh yourself.

  • Figure out how much weight you need to lose. This can involve measuring your BMI, speaking to your doctor, or knowing what size you want to fit into. 

  • Calculate a healthy amount of weight to lose each week.

  • Set an end date for your goal. 

  • Calculate how many calories you can eat daily to reach your weekly weight loss goal.

  • Choose the best eating plan for you, any health conditions, and your lifestyle.

  • Find an accountability partner. 

  • Choose a form of physical activity to aid in your weight loss goal. 

  • Decide how you will track your eating and activity. There are many useful apps these days that make this easy. 

  • Reward yourself with a non-food treat when you reach a milestone if you have a lot of weight to lose. 

Enlist Help

Most of us are not financial or health experts. Neither subject is heavily emphasized in our educational system, and that can mean we have gaps in our knowledge that make it hard for us to succeed without some guidance. That means we have a lot of room to learn. It can be valuable to enlist someone with more knowledge than you when it comes to money and health matters. 

That might mean hiring a money coach, financial planner, a nutritionist, a dietician, or a trainer. You can also work to gain additional knowledge on your own. Money and health are huge subjects, with thousands of books, blogs, articles, and podcasts dedicated to them. Find some that you enjoy and are reputable, and dive in! 

Win-Win

Finding physical and fiscal balance is a win-win. The better your financial and physical health, the less stress you have. Bettering both will increase physical and financial resilience. Once you have paid off your credit card debt, you will have a lot more money in your bank account each month. That money can go towards building an emergency fund. Suddenly, an unexpected expense like a car repair is a minor issue and not an additional source of stress. You can easily handle the cost from your emergency fund. Your finances are more resilient. 

When you have achieved your weight loss goal, you have more energy. You can use some of that energy to exercise. Exercise increases immune function, so a bug that may have meant spending a few days off work and in bed before now just means feeling a bit run down for a day or two. Your body is more resilient. 

Wellness Budgeting

Improving your health doesn't have to be expensive, but you may need to practice some prioritization of well-being. If you've relied on cheap, fast processed food, buying healthy, fresh ingredients is more expensive. 

A study found that following a healthy diet could save $88.2 billion. The savings come from reducing conditions like heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. Those are expensive conditions that may mean missing work, expensive medical appointments, caregiving, and medications. 

Many forms of physical activity are free, such as walking, running, cycling, and hiking. You don't need the most expensive workout clothes and gear to exercise safely and comfortably, and you don't need to join a costly gym. Outdoor exercise is more physically and mentally beneficial than gym workouts. 

There are thousands of YouTube videos that teach you how to do any kind of workout you could want in the comfort of your home. If your goal is to build muscle, you don't have to buy an entire set of weights. You can do plenty of exercises using your body weight to help increase muscle mass. 

The Bottom Line

Finding harmony between your financial and physical well-being is one of the most important things you can do to improve every area of your life. And because they are so similar, you can use the same blueprint for both. Enjoy the journey, and we'll see you in the stars!