How Winning with Money is Like Losing Weight

Winning with Money is Like Losing WeightAlong with the New Year’s resolution to manage finances better, the resolution to lose weight is probably one of the most common ones every year.

I have discovered that in a lot of ways, winning with money is like losing weight. Let me show you why I believe that.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, although I do like to set goals. This year I went a little more formal in my goal-setting approach. I used Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life to establish goals for 2014 in 7 areas.

One of those areas on the wheel of life is the physical. I gave myself a very specific target weight reduction goal and a target date of June-30-2014. Once I had a goal set, I needed a plan for execution.

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The Background

I have had a life long struggle with my weight. I have tried a number of approaches and techniques, but there has only been one method that really worked for me. About 13 years ago I lost about 70 pounds using that method.

I got to my desired weight goal and I felt great as for the 1st time in my life I had slayed the weight giant. But as if often happens in life, you can get distracted. I got away from what worked for me and over the last few years I gained all that weight back.

So, as I looked for goals for the New Year, I knew I had to do something about my weight so I committed again to the one program that worked for me so many years ago.

I have only been back in it for a few weeks but I am happy to report that I am already on track and about at 15% of my goal.  There is still alot of work ahead of me, but great progress so far. I promise to keep you posted.

Winning with Money is like Losing Weight

So how is winning with money like losing weight?

What have I learned that can help you on your journey towards financial wellness?

  1. You need a plan to get on track with weight reduction. Similarly you need to have a plan for your money. Without attention and focus, you will drift and will not be able to hit your goals.
  2. The plan needs to fit you and your family. It has to be something that works for you. I found something that I know works for me with weight reduction. There is a lot of personal finance advice available today. You have to pick something that works for you and stick with it.
  3. There is a level of sacrifice required if you are going to change anything in life. In my case, my weight reduction plan requires that I get up early on Saturday mornings to make weekly meetings and face the scale. I know that’s what works for me. So I miss on sleeping in on my day off, but it is worth it. With your money situation you will need to sacrifice something in order to change it. Maybe you sell that nice car that you love so much and get a beater so you can get rid of a high monthly payment. Maybe you take more hours at work. Maybe you skip family vacations for a couple of years while you get out of debt.
  4. The mechanics of both winning with money and losing weight are simple. There is no mystery. For weight reduction, you have to eat less and move more. You have to pick the right kind of foods, drink your water, etc. With money, increase your income (via more work) and decrease your expenses (by eating at home more, getting out of debt, etc.). In either case, there is no magic pill or software that can help you. It’s up to you.
  5. What’s difficult in both winning with money and losing weight is the commitment to stay with the plan for the long haul. Your financial situation may be daunting but you did not get here overnight. It took me years to put all that weight back on. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me. So I have to stay committed to the outcome for the duration until I hit my goals.

You have to do the same if you are going to achieve victory with your finances.

Conclusion: So What?

I taught adult Sunday School for a number of years and at the end of a lesson I always liked to leave the class with a challenge or application in the form of this question: “so what?

What does all of this mean to you? It means that you need to decide what your approach for your money will be. Either you will get on a plan that works for you or you won’t. Either you will change your financial situation or you won’t.

But the fact of the matter is that you can change your money situation if you make the decision to do something about it. If you get mad enough or scared enough about where you are headed, you will change.

I know I finally got concerned enough about my health to do something about my weight. I am back on a plan. I have had good weeks and bad weeks so far, but I am sticking with what works.

Question: What will you do to change your financial situation? 

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The Role of Discipline in Your Financial Plan

The Role of Discipline in  Your Financial PlanAll discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Hebrews 12:11 (NASB)

The Scripture verse above highlights the word discipline. So what’s discipline?

In looking at a couple of dictionary definitions, you can see that discipline can be defined as the ability to keep working at something that is difficult.

Another definition states that discipline is an activity that is done regularly as a way of training yourself to do something or to improve your behavior.

So the notion both from the Bible and from the secular definitions is that, discipline involves hard work, dealing with a difficult situation, on a regular basis, for a period of time, with the ultimate reward of improving your current situation.

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Discipline in Your Financial Plan

Discipline enables you to:

  • Prepare and work on your budget every month because you know that’s how you can control your money.
  • Keep track of your expenses so you can manage your money.
  • Stay consistent with your debt snowball and avoid falling for the traps of debt consolidation and credit repair scams. You know there is no quick fix.
  • Wait and you don’t buy a house until you are ready. You are immune to house fever.
  • Learn to save and wait to pay cash for what you really want. You don’t live just for the thrill of the moment.
  • You don’t panic with the ups and downs of the stock market. You stay on track with your investing strategy.

If you are in bad shape with your finances, realize that you did not get here overnight. But also realize that you can turn things around starting today.

Your Challenge

You can make the decision to get on different plan that gives you and your family hope for the future. But wishing for a different outcome is only part of the equation.

You need a plan and you need to act on your plan with urgency and discipline. If you need help, I can coach you through the process.

Don’t wait any longer. The time is now and the only person that can change your financial plan is you. Let’s get going!

Question: What other examples can you share about applying discipline in your financial plan?

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5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife on Valentine’s Day

This is a special post for my fellow men. You may be racking your brain on what to get your wife for Valentine’s Day.

Have I got a deal for you! I believe the best Valentine’s Day gift is a good financial plan.

With that in mind, here are 5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife on Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

5 Personal Finance Gifts for Your Wife

Savings Guidelines

A while back, I posted the budget guidelines to give you a quick reference guide to plan your monthly budget. That was a very simple but very popular post.

Today I want to give you a similar quick reference on the topic of savings.

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Savings Guidelines

The Savings Guidelines

 “He who spends more than he earns is sowing the winds of needless self-indulgence from which he is sure to reap the whirlwinds of trouble and humiliation.”
George S. Clason (“The Richest Man in Babylon”)

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