Are You Financially Obese?

By Rich Ellinger | Small Business

Are You Financially Obese? image financially obeseAre You Financially Obese?

Many people find losing weight is very difficult, because they can’t commit to a plan that works. Consumers struggle to meet their financial goals for many of the same reasons. They become “financially obese”.

A recent survey from the CFP Board / Consumer Federation of America Household Financial Planning shows that very few Americans are meeting their financial goals. There are two primary reasons for this. They either don’t create a plan at all or they don’t consistently follow the plan they have created.

You will be more likely to succeed if you understand the mistakes that keep people from reaching their goals. Today we’re going to explore 4 ways trying to lose weight and trying to achieve your long-term financial goals are similar.

Create a Clear Plan

Many people don’t think they need to follow a formal weight loss plan. They believe that cutting calories and exercising will help them reach their goals. Unfortunately, sheer optimism and willingness to change is rarely enough. Meg Selig, the author of Changepower! 37 Secrets to Habit Change Success, estimates that only 10% of people can lose weight without a clear strategy.

You also need to create a clear strategy to meet your financial goals. The Consumer Federation of America Household Financial Planning study shows that only about 31% of people have created a detailed financial plan. The 69% without a plan are far less likely to succeed. Here are some things you will need to keep in mind when you are creating your financial plan:

  • Decide when you want to retire
  • Figure out the type of lifestyle you want to live
  • Figure out how much you need to save each month to hit these goals

You need to set clear, specific goals, and you need to formulate a plan to reach them.

Reduce Sweet Temptations

Most people genuinely want to meet both their personal financial and weight loss goals. Unfortunately, temptations can often keep people from getting there.

You can spend several weeks dieting and exercising, but eating a few sugary sweets can undo all of your hard work. Giving into temptation can keep you from reaching your financial goals as well. You can cut your spending and save more prudently, but all of that effort will be immediately undone if you use your savings to purchase an expensive plasma television.

You need to follow your financial plan consistently. There is nothing wrong with buying yourself a treat once in a while, but you don’t want to derail your long-term goals in the process. You will want to follow these steps to make sure that you can afford it:

  • Measure your monthly income
  • Subtract your expenses
  • Subtract the amount of money that you need to set aside for savings
  • The remainder is your discretionary income

J.D. Roth, the author of Get Rich Slowly, once said “you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want.” You can afford the plasma television, but you may need to put money aside for a few months before you can pay for it. You don’t want to pay for it with your credit card or your retirement fund.

Start Working Towards Your Goals Today

Mason Cooley once said “Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.” Cooley was overly optimistic if his advice was intended for people that were overweight or struggling to meet their financial goals. Reaching your weight loss and financial goals is utterly impossible if you never take the first step.

Many people plan to start losing weight as soon as they finish that box of chocolates in their kitchen. Others plan to start saving for retirement after they buy the new sports car they always wanted.

Unfortunately, there are always short-term temptations that can keep us from ever taking the first step towards a live happier, healthier life. You need to exercise willpower to resist them and begin making positive changes in your life.

Creating a Plan that is Too Strict

Surprisingly, being overly ambitious can also derail your long-term plans. You may initially be excited to lose weight, but you won’t be able to stick with your plans if the sacrifices are too extreme. You will need to cut back on sweets and fried foods, but you probably won’t stick to a diet that forces you to give up everything you love. This is probably the biggest reason starvation diets have about a 95% failure rate.

You will run into the same problem if you create an overly restrictive financial plan. You need to set a realistic plan that you will be willing to stick with.

Some money-saving initiatives can also cost you more in the long run. For example, many people try to save money on DIY projects. Manisha Thakor, author of On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance said that some people spend a lot of time trying to save money that would be better spent earning it. It’s a thought worth considering.

People often make the same mistake when they are trying to lose weight. They often skip breakfast to consume fewer calories. This is counterproductive, because a healthy breakfast boosts metabolism and helps people burn more calories throughout the day.

Avoid Becoming Financially Obese

Many people struggle to meet their financial goals for the same reasons others fail to lose weight. You will be much more likely to reach your goals if you have an effective plan and the dedication to follow through with it. You will need to make some sacrifices, but you will be glad you made those changes in the long run. You will feel much better after you are financially secure, so it is important to start making these changes today. Don’t become financially obese.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Are You Financially Obese?

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