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We tend to idolize professional athletes from all different types of sports. Usually for good reason, too – they undergo rigorous training, develop impressive mental strength and reach both mental and physical peak performance. Studies even show that student-athletes are more likely to have better academic and behavioral performance.

We don’t want to focus on physical fitness today, though.  We want to focus on your FINANCIAL fitness.  One way to create a broad financial fitness plan is to look at how athletes approach their physical fitness plan. We can model our financial approach off of their approach on the field. The mindset needed for success in both is pretty similar.

So where do we begin?

Defining Your Goals 

If you’re a professional athlete, your goals might be pretty clear and straightforward.  Win the game. Win a championship.  Be the best player in the league.  Improve on last year’s stats. Have a long-lasting career.

Financial goals may seem different, but they’re really not that far off.  Each individual should have tailored goals at the onset of their “career” to work towards on a short term and long term basis.  If that groundwork is missing, it’s hard to know what you’re working towards.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals

Athletes often have both short-term and long-term goals; a track star may have a goal for their next meet while simultaneously working towards the Olympic trials far into the future.

You should have both short-term and long-term goals for your financial future as well.  You could be working towards a down payment on your first home in Monmouth County while simultaneously putting money away for retirement.

You can identify what parts of your paycheck currently are going towards a night on the town in Asbury Park, and what parts are going towards maybe buying a beach house in Manasquan after you retire.  There’s a balance to be found for everyone, and it’s going to look different depending on the person.

Finding that balance and setting those goals gets you one step closer to being financially fit!

Staying Disciplined 

You can’t become a professional athlete without a LOT of hard work.  It takes a lifetime of dedication and discipline.  It’s one thing to become a professional, but it’s another to STAY one and have a long, successful career.  Discipline over multiple decades is the only way to success.

The same thing is necessary for financial success.  Sustained discipline over many decades.  You can get yourself out of financial trouble in the short-term, but without sustained discipline you’ll fall right back into the same hole.

Working with a financial advisor can help you stay disciplined, but it’s not the same as having a coach on hand for a sports team.  A coach can bench you for poor performance or bad behavior, but an advisor ultimately can’t truly stop you from making poor financial decisions.  That burden still falls in your lap.  An advisor can set boundaries and limits for you, but it’s up to you not to cross those boundaries.

This is especially true when it comes to your spending habits; when you have a budget, stick to it without exceptions. Once you make an exception, it becomes easier and easier to keep doing so. Without a disciplined approach to spending and saving, your goals are significantly less meaningful.

Stick With it 

Failure doesn’t stop athletes.  They get knocked down and they stand right back up again.  Staying committed and focused on the task at hand is crucial.

Whether a pitcher is throwing you a curveball, or life is throwing you a financial curveball, adjusting and staying diligent is the way to go.  It’s like Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  He was clearly talking about boxing, but it directly applies to your financial fitness as well.

The best athletes don’t give up, even when they fail; they stay committed and focused on their goals. The most successful people financially don’t give up either.  They keep working towards their goals no matter what life throws at them.

Don’t be discouraged if you do happen to go over budget or your investments aren’t doing well. Just like an athlete: pick yourself back up, refocus, and keep putting in the work to reach your financial goals.

Working with a financial planner can help you get started on the path towards financial fitness.  If you don’t have a financial planner, we would be happy to speak with you.  Click here to schedule an initial meeting with our team.  There is no cost or obligation.

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