We're in the midst of the festive season, with all the temptations and excesses that it brings, but when the New Year rolls around we often feel inspired to get fit and set new life goals. While many of us look to our physical health as we seek to reverse the indulgences of the holidays, now is a great time to take responsibility for your financial fitness too. In fact, there are many parallels between a healthy approach to fitness and good financial planning.
My Journey to (Physical) Fitness
I started to take my health and fitness seriously about six years ago. The trigger for me was finding out I was going to be a Dad. I was about 20kg overweight so with the birth of my daughter Alice coming up, I felt that the time was right to get in shape. I'd experimented with dieting without exercising but I'd tended to fall into the yo-yo dieting trap and hadn’t seen much success. At this point, I realised the only way to do it properly was to completely integrate it into my life, 100%. My first stop was Barry's Bootcamp. Barry's are famed for Celebrity clients (like David Beckham, who I'm proud to say I have met there!) but the key thing about them is their approach, which is not only motivational but inspirational too. Barry's welcome you in, take time to build a relationship with you and help you define what you want to achieve before setting off on the journey with you. We pay for all First Wealth staff to attend Barry's once a week as we're firm believers in the maxim of 'healthy body, healthy mind' and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘the first wealth is health’.
I combined my Barry's training programme with fitness and strength conditioning with a number of excellent personal trainers – Alex Castro, Louisa Schiattarella and most recently the team at Equilibrium (trainers to Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger and a number of pro boxers). I train with Jay there and their ethos is all about being fit for life and for every eventuality. The way they see it - exercise is not just about looking good it’s about combining the nine elements of fitness to make you the best human being possible. They also believe that while it's important to train hard and be disciplined, ultimately it should also be enjoyable.
Financial Health and Wellbeing
Nowadays, I work out five times a week and I can't imagine a life without eating well and training regularly. I now wish I'd done it sooner as it would have been so much easier if I had started younger. In this way, and in many others, keeping in shape is like keeping your finances in check. The sooner you start, the better.
Working out your goals, having a plan, integrating it into your life, and preparing for every eventuality are the principles at the core of both a good fitness regime and our approach to helping you with your investments. We use cashflow modelling to understand your financial needs and to set a route map to get you to where you want to be. Cashflow modelling allows us to really understand what you want to do with your money – how you want to use it; when you want to use it; what your contingency plans are if things don’t work out; what other financial resources you have; how your plans might change over time. We take the answers to these questions and build a model which maps out your financial needs over your lifetime.
One of the reasons we like this approach is because it brings you, the client, into the heart of the process. We talk through the different scenarios that could arise and make sure you’ve planned adequately to meet whatever challenges or opportunities may come your way.
Integrate a Plan Into Your Lifestyle
My health and wellbeing dramatically improved when I fully integrated a fitness plan into my life. This is vital in your financial planning too. Being realistic is important – there's little point in having a plan that involves having to save excessively at the end of your working life or one that is reliant on unachievable investment returns. It’s unlikely to be a plan that you're going to be able to achieve or stick to. It’s like trying to run a marathon without training, or expecting to keep off that stone you lost through extreme dieting. Taking a long term view and remaining consistent is key. Once we’ve helped you build your plan, we’ll work with you, every step of the way, to help you achieve it. It’s important to keep revisiting it to see if any further action is needed, and tweaking it accordingly if so.
My fitness trainer encourages working hard and putting in the hours at the gym, but he also understands it’s important to enjoy life. I couldn’t agree more. For us, financial planning is not just for retirement or later life, it’s about enjoying your life at every stage. We don’t want to see people hoarding money for no reason and reaching the end of their life with too much left over when they could have enjoyed it. Exercising is about more than simply looking good, it’s about the broader benefits to your health and wellbeing that fitness brings. Financial planning is not just saving up a pile of money to sit back and admire, it’s about enjoying everything that that money can do for you. So, make that bucket list. Just like exercising, it’s always easier when you’ve got a goal to aim for and, ultimately, more rewarding.
If you’d like to improve your financial fitness, or for help with any other element of your financial lifestyle planning, please give us a call on 020 7467 2700 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.