We are in a blog series discussing how strategies for running marathons could help you maximize your wealth in a meaningful way. If you’re just joining us in this series, So far, we have covered:
Strategy #1: Know your why.
Strategy #2: Why you need a contingency plan.
Strategy #3: What to do when your plan hits the fan.
Strategy #5: Have a backup plan for your plan.
Today’s Money Marathon post is designed to help you discover how you could potentially get more mileage out of your training and your money. What we’re going to walk through today is a five-minute weekly exercise that can apply to your financial fitness and your physical fitness.
And it’s as simple as this. Ask yourself three questions one time a week. I prefer Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee. And I would love to do that weekly every week with my wife if the schedules work out. We have seven kids, so life’s kinda crazy! So, pick a time once a week. Try this out for 12 weeks; message me or call me and let me know how this works for you.
So here we go. These three questions you can ask yourself can help you get more out of your physical fitness and your financial fitness.
Question #1: Am I on track?
Number one is pretty simple. Am I on track? Or are we on track if you’re doing this with your spouse or partner? To answer that question, there is a series of underlying questions you need to ask.
With my physical fitness, it’s pretty simple. Did I hit my mileage for the week? Did I hit my paces? Did I hit my time in my heart rate zones? And thankfully, that’s easy if you’re not training. I have it on a watch. I look at a screen, and it tells me if I am on track.
Financially, you might want to ask yourself a series of questions as well. Did I spend less than I brought in? If so, that’s good. That means you have extra money that you can use for your goals. Whether it’s retirement, a giving goal, a vacation goal, a debt reduction goal, building an emergency reserve, or paying for college, that’s question number one. Did I spend less than I brought in?
Number two, am I on track for my savings goals? If you’re automating your savings and you’re saving how much you want to save in your plan, you are on track. If you’re not automating your savings, that question every week can remind you to make a lump sum contribution when you have extra cash or chip away at it.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to save if you rely on a bonus. But I would encourage you to at least ask that every week so you’re focused on your long-term goals as well as your short-term lifestyle goals in your spending.
A third question you might want to ask if you have giving goals or goals to help loved ones (like saving for college) is, am I on track with my giving goals or goals for kids’ education?
Unfortunately, you can’t do all of your fitness and financial goals on a Garmin watch, but if you have a financial plan, you can log in and see your percentage chance of success if you have decent financial planning software. The only thing you need to do is make sure that the plan is relevant and realistic with appropriate assumptions.
Question #2: What issues held me back?
The second question is, what issues held me back? Take time to reflect on the week, and if you had trouble, determine what gave you trouble, and then come up with a plan to solve it financially. If you need help, you can give your planner a call, or if you don’t have one, you could contact us if you have issues that are holding you back from your financial goals, and we could try to help solve those with you.
Question #3: What are my wins?
The last question is, what are my wins? And this one’s important. There’s always something else to do. There’s always the next thing, the next workout, the next task, and if we’re always looking at what we have to do next, to me, it’s exhausting. So, I like to take a break once a week, revel in what was done, and pat myself on the back.
Even if I got injured and had a rough week, if I only ran once or twice, well, I’ll revel in the fact that, hey, I got a run or two in that week. Then, I took time to rest and recover by sitting in the hot tub or ice. Or I paid one of my kids to give me a massage.
It’s important financially, too, to celebrate the wins. If you’re like me and love Amazon shopping, if I held myself back from an Amazon purchase or put something in my wish list instead of my cart, I can celebrate that. There are a lot of things you can celebrate financially. Maybe you paid a little bit extra towards debt, especially today. If you have an auto loan at 7%, 8%, or 9%, maybe you can celebrate that. Perhaps you made a lump sum contribution to an emergency reserve. Pat yourself on the back for that!
So again, those are three simple questions you should ask yourself every week if you don’t want to lose focus on your financial or fitness goals.
To recap the questions that could help you get more out of your training mileage and your money:
#1: Am I on track?
#2: What issues held me back? Take time to solve those.
#3: What were my wins or our wins (if you’re doing this with a spouse or partner) for the week?
I would encourage you to put a weekly reminder on your calendar and go through a five-minute financial fitness exercise to ask yourself these three questions. We’d love to connect with you if you’re interested in learning more about a financial plan analysis or a second opinion of your financial plan. Click here to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation to see how we can help.