Tone up your finances and let your purse put on weight

As the dust settles after another Christmas and New Year, January is traditionally a time for resolutions, and for many fitness and finance is usually on the list of things to be addressed, although not always in tandem.

In some eyes, these two subjects could not be further apart. One perceived to be office bound behind a desk, the other involving physical exertions at the gym or outdoors.

However, if we scratch beneath the surface, there are many similarities and traits that run through both. Establishing goals, setting objectives, evaluating your current position, making changes, implementing a plan or schedule and monitoring progress along the way all relevant to both financial planning and fitness training.

Setting goals

A starting point for both is to write down what you want to achieve over the short term, medium term and longer term.

These targets could  be paying for next years holiday, helping with a daughter’s wedding 5 -10 years down the line and over the longer term, being able to stop working when you want without the fear of ever running out of money.  Likewise, it may be setting a time that you want to complete a race. Ask yourself, are these goals realistic and what you need to do in order to achieve them. Similar to the role of the coach is to the athlete, the guidance of a financial planner should be considered to help achieve your financial goals.

Evaluate your current position

Before your journey starts you need to ascertain where you are now. Give yourself a health check and cut out unnecessary spending. Establish your assets and liabilities and work out a budget that you can commit towards achieving your objectives. The more money or time you can contribute will provide a greater opportunity of success in the future.

Implementing your plan

Once you have established what you want to achieve, by when and what it will cost in financial commitment or indeed time for training and conditioning, the next step is to create a plan to take things forward. A financial planner or coach will assist in working out a strategy for you to ensure that you get on track to meet your objectives and remain so along your journey.

This can involve making required changes to your current position, paying off short term debts and committing regular sums to build up emergency funds. Make arrangements for saving or investing funds that are now ear marked for your medium and longer term objectives. Get yourself in decent shape before the journey. 

Expect a bump in the road 

Whatever stage you are at in your financial plan or training schedule there will be some problems to encounter along the way. These could be such things as an unexpected stock market crash or a niggling injury prohibiting any short term progress. Be prepared to accept these as part of the deal, safe in the knowledge that perseverance and sticking to your longer term plan will bring reward later on.

A regular review is vital

The key to successful Financial Planning or fitness training is reviewing your progress along the way. Don’t rest on your laurels and assume “everything will be ok”. Rather, challenge yourself ensuring that you are on course for what you want. Trust the advice of experts and check your goals and expected timings are still realistic. Recalculate where you are in relation to achieving these and don’t be afraid to implement new strategies or training techniques if required.    

Evan Duffus can be contacted at our Aberdeen office or by email on evan.duffus@acumenfp.com. 

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