by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh courier
A couple of years ago I ran into a gentleman at the gym. He stared me down. Then finally he asked, “Are you that guy that writes for The Courier?” I responded, “yes”. He said, “I thought that was you. I read your column every week.” I ask, “you still reading it every week?” He said yes, EVERY WEEK. I gave him a fist bump and said, “Thanks, I appreciate that!” In the back of my mind, I’m thinking DUDE; I haven’t written an article in 5 years!
It’s been 7 years since I’ve written and put out new material. What’s interesting is that it was the Financial Market Meltdown in 2008 that forced a small company owner like me to close shop and go back to Corporate America. It was the Coronavirus Health and Financial Crisis in 2020 that inspired me to take up writing again. I remember from the Financial Market Meltdown how hard it was financially and emotionally for millions of people. I knew that the Coronavirus Health and Financial Crisis would be just as devastating—if not worse. I figured that I could offer words of encouragement and provide financial guidance during this pandemic. What I didn’t realize is how much of a profound impact writing again would have on me.
Writing requires a ton of research and a lot of self-reflection. As I begin to do my due diligence, it became painfully obvious to me that over the past 7 years—I LET MYSELF GO! Guess you can say I’ve been living my life like it’s golden—with no regard for short-term and long-term perspective and consequences. Yep, I’ve been living my best life—high on the hog! Today I find myself with a narrower Net Worth and a more expanded Waistline than I had 7-years prior. Not exactly the trajectory I was aiming for.
After reviewing several Facebook Profile pictures of relatives, friends, and former co-workers, I get the impression I’m not the only one who let themselves go! Many of us are not looking like our “Best Selves” these days—physically or financially! It is what it is! We cannot wallow in regret. The best time to begin a Health and Wealth wellness plan is yesterday, last week, last year. Looks like we missed that train. The next best time to begin is TODAY—Right now! Let’s Get Fit, physically and financially!
Successful principles are transferrable to all endeavors. In order to succeed at anything in life you’ll need to honor these six principles—hard work, commitment, patience, perseverance, discipline, and consistency. Patience and consistency are the two that generally thwart our efforts—preventing or delaying us from accomplishing our goals. As we strive to Get Fit, physically and financially let’s look at these principles eyeball to eyeball and vow to succeed.
In addition to the six principles, there are other similarities when it comes to succeeding at becoming fit, physically and financially: In this article, I’ll focus on the math and tracking similarities.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it:
On the finance and wealth side, our out-go (expenses) must be less than our income. You must have margin or wiggle-room between your income and your expenses in order to get ahead financially. There are three ways to create margin between income and expenses—increase income, reduce expenses and/or do a better job managing the money and expenses you have by understanding how you’re spending money. Simple. Yet very few of us keep track of our spending. We simply spend money than wonder where our money went. You cannot out earn overspending. Regardless of your income level, if you have no margin between your income and expenses, you will not progress. A good app that I use is to track my income and spending is “Mint”. Mint will link to your checking/saving account and other banking accounts. It gives you detailed reports and reminders of income coming in and how you’re spending money. Once you have a handle of how the money is being spent and how much margin you have between your income and expenses, you can use the margin (extra money) to pay off debt and save money for future goals. The more consistent we are in doing this, the larger we’ll see our margin grow. The bigger the margin, the faster we can accomplish our financial goals.
On the physical and health side—if you’re trying to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. You’ll be amazed at how many calories we consume daily. Food is needed to fuel our body, giving us the energy to live and keep it moving. Instead of eating to live, most of us live to eat. We use food to socialize, entertain, and soothe our nerves in addition to eating to live. The result, we take in way more calories than we think. At some point in our life, overeating creates unwanted bulges and cellulite in various places in our body. If we exercise, we can consume more food. Few of us have a consistent exercise regimen. Even with exercise, it’s important to know how many calories you burned and how many calories you consumed because we cannot out work overeating. A good app I use to track the calories I eat and the calories I burn is “My Fitness Pal”. My Fitness Pal will give you a detailed review how many calories are in the food that we eat daily. It will also consider your exercise. One of the biggest surprises for me with this app is learning that in some cases I was taking in what I should be consuming in one day—in one meal. The larger the margin between calories burned and calories consumed, the faster you’ll lose the unwanted weight.
(Money Coach Damon Carr can be reached at 412-216-1013.)