Get In Shape - Financial Fitness 101
We’re all familiar with fitness fanatics, raving about life changing workouts guaranteed to get you into tip top shape. While physical fitness is important, it is crucial to exercise Financial Fitness. Financial Fitness is a set of goals or programs to help you identify your financial goals and how to get in the best financial shape of your life.
Start with the Assessment
When you join a gym, what’s the first thing that you do? At most fitness centers, an assessment of your weight, condition and overall - you guessed it - fitness. To strengthen your financials, you need to be realistic about your current state. “Check your credit, tally up your emergency fund (aim for six months of living expenses), look at how much you are contributing to your retirement plans, and get a handle on how you're splitting up your savings between stocks and bonds,” an article from Time suggests1. Look at what your daily, weekly, monthly spending is as well as use budgeting tools to help you visualize your spending. “Most of us know exactly how much our paycheck will be each month but few know exactly how much they spend” explains MCF Financial Consultant Steve Wright. “How much you spend can be equally important as how much you save.”
Once you are aware of your current financial state, it’s easier to set reachable goals. Determine a goal and strategy with a financial professional to lay out the steps to achieve it. Before you can start running those marathons, you got to lose those 20 pounds. In financial fitness, that dead weight is debt. Most financial professionals agree that tackling your debt is key to financial strength. “Curtail the use of debt to consume what is crucial and avoid high-interest rates and potential fees by minimizing the use of credit cards. Build a debt management strategy to reduce and eliminate high-interest debt and to accelerate the payment of debts like student loans and your mortgage, if they are a priority” according to BNN2. “The process can seem overwhelming, but having a plan provides clarity” Steve adds. “The key principles to a good plan are; spend less than you earn, have a budget (and stick to it), save and invest consistently over the long term, use debt wisely and build liquidity for emergencies. When we help our clients achieve those goals and subsequently other big picture goals, including large purchases or retirement; the feasibility to accomplish them goes from unthinkable to inevitable.”
And finally, to maintain peak financial fitness, Forbes suggests that everyone should, “start reading about markets: You don’t need to get deep in the weeds on financial derivatives, but have an idea about what is driving markets and why. Spend five minutes each day devoted to reading only about markets and I guarantee it will be beneficial to you.3”
A financial consultant can assist you in making a plan and sticking to it. Contact us to connect with a financial consultant to find out how we can help you reach your goals.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by MCF), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from MCF. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. MCF is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the MCF’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. If you are a MCF client, please remember to contact MCF, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services.