Financial Fitness

Written by Sarah Provost
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Financial fitness is a relatively new phrase to describe an age-old concern: how to make our resources cover our expenses. It's a highly appropriate phrase, implying as it does the self-discipline we bring to other aspects of our lives, such as healthy eating and regular exercise. We do those things routinely, knowing that they are in our own best interests, even when we might prefer to eat fast food and spud out in front of the TV.

Physical fitness brings satisfaction that repays whatever sacrifices we might make, and financial fitness does the same. Our emotions are influenced by our levels of fitness. We've all had that uh-oh feeling when a waistband is too tight, and have known the glow that results from a good workout or brisk walk. Our financial fitness is even more closely tied to our sense of well-being. The anxiety produced by too-tight jeans is nothing compared to the dread of approaching bills that haven't been provided for.

Financial Fitness Requires Commitment and Consistency

You know you're not going to sculpt a great body by going to the gym once a month or whenever the mood strikes. You won't be able to bask in a balanced budget, either, if you only pay attention to your spending in moments of crisis. Financial fitness results from consistent focus on meeting your commitments month by month and even day by day.

In the same way that some people go on a crash diet just before a big occasion, there are those who disregard their financial situation until it becomes a problem, then panic and look for short-term solutions. In both cases, any results are likely to prove temporary. You don't have to constantly deny yourself to stay healthy. If you want tiramisu tonight, cut back on calories tomorrow. Better yet, cut back all day if you know you're going to want dessert. Treat your finances in a similar manner. An occasional splurge is all right, if you have the self-discipline to make up for it by cutting back elsewhere. With a little attention to physical fitness, we can live longer. With similar attention to financial fitness, we can afford to.

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