While listening to an interview with Dr. Andrew Weil (www.drweil.com) today I was reminded, yet again, of the similarities between physical and financial health. To start with, staying both physically and financially healthy is based on very simple principles. Eat natural foods, spend less than you earn, exercise daily, save money for the future, drink plenty of water, and so forth.
The principles are simple, but our ability to make the processes complex is something to behold. Fast, processed food and drink has taken us far off the path of eating natural foods and drinking water, while credit cards and casino-like stock market investments have divorced us from the realities of spending and saving. It’s not tough to see the wreckage this has caused in both areas of our lives. Roughly 40% of Americans are obese and the same percentage could not cover a $400 emergency expense.
These are depressing numbers for the holiday season (sorry, not sorry). Lord knows the next 12 days will see more binge eating and drinking, along with more credit card abuse (happy holidays!), but what will happen in 2019? Possibly a pause for January, but then back to the pattern. What if we want out of the cycle?
Decide you’re worth it.
There are countless diet programs to be found online (more complex confusion), but start by eating one non-processed meal a day. And trade the Mountain Dew for a water. This is the first simple physical step you can take. Take another the following week. While you’re getting your physical life in order, try this for your financial life – save 10% of every paycheck. Don’t put it in your company 401(k), save it. To start with, just open a separate account at your local bank. Get into the habit of saving the cash first, then figure out where it needs to go.
Another piece of advice Dr. Weil dropped was that we all need to figure out what works best for us. If you are used to hearing that “this is the best and only way to get real results” or something similar, you’ll appreciate how refreshing this statement is. First learn the principles, then adapt to your lifestyle. Are you paid via direct deposit? Maybe it will be easier to have your employer deposit the 10% directly into the new account. Or maybe you need to put the cash in a separate envelope. It’s up to you.
Clients often say that they didn’t even miss the 10%. Give it a shot and prove to yourself that you’re worth it.