Are you financially fit? If you’re like most people, you could probably be a little fitter than you are now. The good news is that almost everyone can get fitter financially, not only is it the state of your bank account it’s a state of mind.
A 2019 Financial Health Pulse in the US found that only 29% of people felt ‘financially strong’, having their savings and borrowing under control. 54% say they were are ‘financially coping’ or struggling with some aspects of their financial lives and 17% consider themselves ‘financially vulnerable’ or struggling with all, or nearly all parts of their ﬁnancial lives. 20% of women admitted to being more stressed about their finances that they were a year ago compared to 13% of men.
Achieving financial fitness requires discipline and determination over the long term, just like running a marathon it’s not easy. Becoming financially fit means feeling good and confident about your financial situation, and being able to manage your money in order to meet your current and long-term needs — having the money you need when you need it! As with any type of training, becoming financially fit requires learning the principles and best practices that others have used to achieve their financial objectives, and having the discipline to refine the necessary skills over time.
Here are our top considerations to being financially fit, and remember these can apply to anyone, regardless of how old you are, or how much money you earn. It’s not easy but the rewards can be extraordinary!
1. Set financial goals
· Know what the best savings and investment products are to help you achieve your goals and maximise your earning potential
· Include an emergency fund within your goals (at least 3 month’s salary in the bank)
· Put money away using an automated regular payment before you have the opportunity to spend it
· Take consistent incremental steps
· Evaluate your goals at least every six months
2. Get knowledge and advice — when you need help, get it!
· There are lots of financial tools and apps to help you get started or it might be time to speak to a financial adviser
· Do your homework, there are some great free resources online and educational podcasts that talk you through financial planning and wellness step by step
3. Maintain a steady lifestyle
· Set a budget with an eye towards saving money, how does your monthly income compare to your monthly expenses?
· Make conscious positive changes to your spending habits — do you need all your monthly subscriptions and memberships?
· Adjust your spending accordingly only as your salary increases or you receive a bonus
4. Manage debt
· Prioritise getting debt under control and securing the best terms and rates
· This could include checking your credit report which contains information on the status of your credit accounts and payment history
5. Having insurance/protection
· Have you protected your belongings, your income if you are unable to work and taken care of other life insurances — you may receive these benefits as part of your employment so ensure you have signed up!