Get Financially Fit

By Jonathan Dugas
Woman holding piggy bank for financial fitness - Vitality

While self-care and physical activity can help to lower stress, did you know that not all stress is bad stress? While some stress actually works to the body’s advantage, too much stress can have negative effects on the body.

The source of the stress doesn’t matter to our bodies, finances can be as big a source of stress as our jobs or our families. No matter what survey or poll you look at, you will find that most people list finances as a top source of stress. Even before COVID we had plenty of uncertainty in our lives. It is never a given that we will have “enough” money to keep our family well clothed and fed, or pay for our cars, or be able to retire with the lifestyle we want. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there is a whole group of people who spend their days helping the rest of us reduce our financial stress by helping us be more financially fit. Financial planners, advisors, and coaches can all help us take a better approach to our finances that will help us feel better and more secure.

For example, most people know what a budget is, but how many people actually use one each month?  It’s one of the best ways to take control of your finances and start to feel more secure that you have “enough” money. Perhaps the best thing about budgeting is that the internet is full of ready-made budget templates you can download for free and start using today.

Other aspects of being financially fit might need a little more expertise, and that is where the financial planners and coaches can really help. Many of us have some form of debt, and the experts can really help us understand how best to reduce that debt, and then avoid more debt going forward. If you have more than just a mortgage—and many of us have student loans, car loans, and credit card debt—you might benefit from meeting with a financial planner or coach. There are several different approaches you can take depending on how much and what kind of debt you have, but no matter what your situation an expert can make a huge difference.

Be aware that just like physical fitness, these changes won’t happen overnight. You will need to be patient and persistent to become financially fit. But if you stay the course, you can work your way to less financial-related stress.

With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Jonathan Dugas spends his days thinking about how we can help more people be more active.  With four Ironman finishes and 13 marathons and counting, he’ll see you out on the road.

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