15 minutes to financial fitness is simple – quick, practical tips to create meaningful improvement in your financial life.
Improving in most areas of your financial life is SIMPLE, but not EASY. Each of these tips should take you about 30 seconds to read – that’s 15 minutes total. To accomplish your goals and make long-lasting change financially, the time needed to implement these steps will vary. Some will take just a few minutes, others will take repeated practice over a few weeks, and some can be accomplished best with the help of an advisor. I hope you’ll spend some extra time with each one – doing a little work. At the end of the list, it’ll be well worth any time you’ve invested – and what better investment can any of us make than one designed to make tomorrow better than today.
Your Financial Fitness Success Planner
Print your Financial Fitness Success Planner to help you keep track of your progress as you make your way through these financial tips. You will find valuable information and a practical ‘to-do’ for each tip we give. Have your planner ready to mark these off as you go, and use it to leave yourself any reminders for documents you need to dig up or things you might need to research further.
[ DOWNLOAD YOUR FINANCIAL FITNESS SUCCESS PLANNER HERE]
*Keep a list of questions you have as you go, you can schedule a call with one of our advisors to get those questions answered when you finish up!
1. What are you doing here?
Seriously, when you decided to dive into this list of tips, what were you looking for? As you work your way through these tips, what’s one thing you would like to improve regarding your relationship with money? Just one! Write it down, tell a friend and review it every day. This isn’t the time for BHAG’s – big, hairy, audacious goals – it’s for small, meaningful goal that represents progress, not perfection.
2. Do a little prep.
Consider this your discovery step. As you move through each financial tip below you’ll be asked specific questions regarding your financial income and debts and savings and goals and accounts… My point is, you’re going to need to access a lot of information in order to complete these steps thoroughly and accomplish the goals you set for yourself in this process. Do yourself a favor now and get a few steps ahead. Open up your online bank accounts in a new browser window. Open up your credit card online accounts. Do you track your expenses in a spreadsheet or software? Pop that open, too. You’ll work your way through some of these steps more quickly with these accounts opened and ready.
3. Do you know where your money goes?
Make a simple budget – how much money do you bring home every month and what do you spend? You can’t make meaningful changes in your financial fitness without having a basic understanding of your cash flows. I know, budgets suck – just like diets – but when summer is coming, or you want to be able to retire someday, they can be both useful and necessary. If you have more coming in than going out, you can start building toward your ideal life. If not, the next step is crucial.
4. Improve your budget by evaluating your priorities.
Separate your expenses into two categories – wants & needs. Using your list of expenses from step 3, which items do you truly need – food and shelter are obvious, but for many business owners, so is their cell phone. I won’t tell you how to set YOUR priorities, but look at each one critically and ask yourself, am I only paying for what I NEED. Even a business owner who needs a cell phone to take calls might not need an unlimited data plan to stream Netflix. For a few minutes, dig deeper on a few items and see how much money you can save YOURSELF WITHOUT LOSING ANYTHING YOU NEED. If you have a partner, each of you take a copy of your budget, identify your needs and wants and then compare your lists. Are you on the same page? If not, this is a great time to talk together about forming shared priorities in your spending. This is a big step for many couples, so don’t be afraid to ask a professional.
5. What if you hit a financial bump?
What if you hit a financial bump in the road? A leaky roof, a flat tire, an illness? Often people expect to fund emergencies from cash flow, but what if you’re unable to work or laid off? Everyone needs an emergency or rainy day fund – three to six months of your bills (not your income, but your expenses). This fund will allow you to deal with the times when “life happens” and believe me, it does! You don’t have to get there all at once if you have extra cash flow, set half aside each month until you get there!
6. What to keep and what to shred.
If you’re like most people, you get inundated every month with financial paperwork! Every month keep a copy of each of your recurring bills and shred it when the next one comes. Keep all of your pay stubs and account statements (IRA, 401k, brokerage, bank, and insurance) for a year. Each year your last pay stub and your annual statements from accounts and your filed tax return should be kept – plan on keeping these for up to seven years. This information is used to prepare your taxes, and you’ll want to be prepared to keep these records in case you’re ever audited. Seven years is the longest period the IRS will look back during an audit. Whether you keep these files digitally or on paper is up to you. Either way, think secure storage. If it’s paper, a locked file cabinet that’s fire-rated is a good investment. If it’s digital, keep a password-protected copy on your computer as well as in an external storage device. Once you’re ready, use a high-quality cross-cut shredder or take it to a professional shredding company. Proper documentation is a lot like insurance – you’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
7. What to look for in a financial advisor.
In a previous step, I suggested that you should tell someone your one financial goal for the month. I have a question for you – did you tell a financial advisor? If you’re like many people that we meet for the first time, chances are you didn’t. It’s astonishing to me how few people under the age of 60 proactively use a financial advisor. So, here’s my tip for the most important thing to look for in a financial advisor – look for someone that you feel comfortable with, someone you could share your life story with if you need to and someone that’s going to put your interest first ahead of theirs. An advisor will likely add the most value for you when times are tough, or when you’re in a transition – the last thing you’ll want to be is uncomfortable telling them about your views on money, money history and hopes for the future. Like a personal trainer for your finances, an advisor can help you assess your current situation, make a plan for the future and help you implement it.
8. Your credit score could be your greatest asset.
A good credit score can not only make things easier to purchase; it can make buying them cheaper! Your credit score is a three-digit number that reflects your credit history – how well (or poorly) you’ve handled your financial obligations. Lenders like to review this history because your score gives them an idea of what they can expect from you. It’s reported by three sources – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion but, here’s the deal – if there are errors in the reporting, it’s up to YOU to catch it and have them corrected. You can check your score for free annually on annualcreditreport.com and, if you run into issues, here’s an article from Forbes on “how to scrub it.” Don’t feel like you need to pull the reports from all three credit bureaus at the same time. Consider spreading them out, one source every four months. That way if there’s something fishy going on you’ll catch it in four months versus a year after you pulled the initial report. Your credit score is a small number that carries big weight, so make sure your hiSTORY is a true STORY.
9. Pay your bills on time.
Part of your credit score involves whether or not you pay your bills on time. Many of the people I work with aren’t intentionally late – they’re distracted and busy! An easy way to make sure that you make your payment on time is to set each of them up on automatic draft. There are two ways to set up automatic payment: 1) Have your bills set up to draft directly from your checking or savings account or 2) if you consistently pay your credit card on time – you can have most of your bills charged to your credit card. A couple of things to remember: if you choose to draft your payments, you need to pay attention to your due dates and cash flow – when you get paid vs. when the bills are due. If you choose to charge your payments to your credit card, you will owe the money each month (so you can’t spend it on other things just because it’s still in your checking account!)
10. Where are you spending your money?
Keeping a handle on your finances requires paying attention to what you’re spending your money on. In step 4 we took a look at wants vs. needs and having a budget, but over time it’s easy to fall into old habits, so it’s important to track your spending. No one else needs to know how you spend your money, but YOU sure do. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps that can help and many of them are free – like Mint or Fudget or Personal Capital. Take advantage of this technology to make sure that your spending is lining up with your goals. It doesn’t matter which app you use, as much as it matters that you start NOW. Input your information and check in every few days to make sure that you’re spending your money on the things that are important to you for the long term and not just in the moment. If you’re not a tech-savvy person, don’t worry, a good composition notebook and pencil will serve you just a well.
11. Now you’re ready to save some money.
If you did a budget in step 3 and you took the time to find an app to help track your spending in the last step, now you’re ready to save some money. This is where – stuff – gets real because now you’ve done a few small things to arm you with the information to start changing your financial life. In this step I want you to scan your expenses – is there something that you can eliminate that isn’t a priority to you? For example, many people sign up for services that charge a monthly fee but then don’t cancel them after they’ve stopped using them. I’ll be honest here – during one of these assessments, I realized (or more likely, I accepted) that I was paying for a gym membership and wasn’t even going because I like to walk outside! Perhaps it’s easier to find one thing that you could scale back or reduce without missing it. Here are some examples: Do you actually need/use all of the data on your cell plan every month? Do you pay for insurance on your devices, but find it’s typically to get them repaired than it is to pay the insurance co-payment? Does your cable or satellite company charge you for each box that you have in your home and, if so, do you have a guest room that you never actually watch tv in? These seem like small things, but imagine if you could just find one or two that saved you $20/month. Over the course of a year, you’d save $240 on stuff YOU DON’T EVEN MISS!
12. Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.
Albert Einstein said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” Compound interest is the concept that over time, savers who put money away and earn interest can earn interest ON THEIR INTEREST the longer they save. The ability for even small amounts of money to compound over time can be significant. For example: If given the choice, would you rather have $1,000,000 or the amount of money you’d receive if you put a penny on the first square of a chess board and – as you moved it from one square to the next – you doubled your total from the previous square ($0.01, $0.02, $0.04, etc.?). A million bucks is a lot of money if you took that you wouldn’t be alone, but get this you’d be sorry you did! For the non-math majors, if you took the penny and doubled it each time you moved to the next square for 63 more squares (there are 64 total squares on the board,) you’d end with $ 92,233,720,368,547,800.00. Most of us couldn’t pronounce that number, much less spend it. Now, even though your savings won’t likely double over and over, you can see that small amounts compounded over and over can lead to meaningful savings over time.
13. Negotiate EVERYTHING you can.
Over the past few steps, we’ve touched on saving money and the importance of compound interest. Here’s another way to benefit from these ideas – negotiate EVERYTHING you can. Have you ever noticed that with many companies, new customers get a better rate than old, loyal customers? It always seems like there’s a new, exclusive deal. So much so that many people will switch from one company to another every year or two (particularly true with cable, satellite, internet, and phone/cell phone providers.) By now, you’ve looked at where you spend your money – now I want you to pick one thing that you’re paying for and call the provider to negotiate a lower price. There are a lot of strategies on how to do this, but for now, I just want you to pick one and call and ask what they can do to lower your bill. Maybe there’s a new plan (surprisingly, they never notify you when a cheaper plan comes out, right?!) or you could modify your service in a way you hadn’t considered that wouldn’t change your experience. The key is to tell them that you have to reevaluate your expenses and you need to have your bill lowered. Trust me; they’ll help you find some small savings. But when they do, no matter how small, that savings will occur every month for as long as you have the service!
14. Consider buying last year’s model!
We’ve touched on ways to save money on things that you’ve already bought, but what if you need or want to buy something new? Quick tip: consider buying last year’s model! In many instances, a newer version of a product (i.e., the 2017 vs. the 2016 model or version 3.0 vs. version 2.0) doesn’t offer a significant change and, even if it does, the change may not be one that is meaningful to YOU. There are other considerations such as lifetime cost of ownership and the time frame that you’ll likely own or use the product, and you certainly don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish. The point here is to understand what it is that you want to buy; what’s the important part of the product or service to you? When you do, if the older model or prior version will accomplish YOUR specific goals then why pay more for something just because it came out more recently? Pay for what is important to you and don’t pay for what isn’t (otherwise you’ll have to find and eliminate it or renegotiate it later using some of the other tricks you’ve learned.)
15. Make more money…
Ultimately there are only two ways to have more money to spend or invest – to spend less or to make more. We’ll spend plenty of time considering ways to be intentional in reducing spending, but for this step let’s look at the other side of the coin. Do you have something that you really enjoy doing in your spare time – painting, photography, woodwork – that other people are continually praising you for? Do you know how to do something that many others don’t understand or want to spend their time “messing with?” When people discover your talent, do they ask for your help? If so, why not use this talent as a side hustle to pick up some extra cash? There is a TON of opportunity out there for talented people – particularly in the virtual world – who want to use their talents to help other people solve problems. I know a photographer who opened a store on Etsy to sell her landscape photography (because people kept asking for copies of photos from her Instagram feed) and a barista who learned how to fix smartphones because his screen cracked and soon people were calling him every day to fix theirs. The point is, you have a special talent – is there a way to use that to bring in a few dollars in your spare time? The answer is yes – spend a few minutes brainstorming or researching how.
16. Consider consolidation or refinancing student loans.
If you (or someone close to you) have student loan debt, it may make sense to consider consolidating it. First, make a list of the types of loans that you have – take note of the total amount that you owe, the number of payments that you have remaining, the amount of each payment and the interest rate on the loan. Armed with this information, you can explore ways to improve your overall situation. Potential benefits of consolidation can include: lowering your payment, lowering your interest rate, moving a variable interest rate to a fixed interest rate (while no one can predict the direction of interest rates, they’re historically low and have been for some time). Some lenders may offer a flexible repayment schedule, and you may be able to have a cosigner released from the loan – and if you have one, trust me, they’ll thank you for it. Additionally, many students have more than one loan provider, and that alone can be hassle enough to consider consolidation (if it doesn’t cost you money!)
17. Reevaluate all your debt.
If you read the last step, maybe you thought the concepts didn’t apply to you, because you don’t have student loan debt. Here’s the thing: the principles are the same with all types of debt! Armed with the information we outlined – how much you owe, the number of payments you have left, the amount of each payment and the interest rate – you can review all of your debts to make sure that you are getting the best deal for you. It’s important to make sure that you review ALL of the terms because only focusing on one of them can improve your situation in the short term, but cost you more over the long run. The important thing here is to take the time to evaluate your current situation and compare it to other options, and this is something that’s worth doing at least once a year – on everything. In some cases, much like the savings that can be created on regular monthly “service” bills that we’ve already discussed – sometimes a simple call to your lender can generate small savings without having to make a drastic change – particularly if you’ve been a good, long-term customer.
18. Use your credit wisely!
It’s crucial – if you’re going to use credit – that you use it wisely! One of the worst things that you can do for your financial fitness is to only pay the minimum payment on your credit card. I’m not talking about the 0% for 12 months card (that’s how they get you to start doing business with them.) The idea of the minimum payment is designed to have you think that your purchases don’t have to cost you that much – right now. There are two problems for most people:
- If you only make the minimum payment it will take you forever to pay off your balance – this payment is not designed to help you pay off your balance quickly;
- If you get used to paying only the minimum OR that’s all you can afford to pay then – chances are – you will add to your debt total again in the months to come and will make your situation continuously worse.
This is called the minimum payment trap – something you DON’T want to get stuck in. Next to payday advances and title loans, credit cards are typically some of the highs interest rates available. If you don’t already have recurring credit card debt (a balance that you don’t pay off every month,) plan to not pay for things on credit that you can’t pay off monthly – it’s easier not to start this situation. If you’re already paying on a credit card, don’t worry, by now you should’ve identified at least 2-3 ways to save or make more money. Use this savings to apply directly to your balance to help you eliminate this debt quicker.
19. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
A fundamental principle when it comes to investing your money – whether it’s in your company or individual retirement plan, a 529 for college or just your after-tax savings – is diversification. Diversification is often described simply, use the adage “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” This doesn’t mean that you should keep your investments in different places (banks, investment firms, credit unions). Diversifying your investments means focusing on what asset classes your money is invested IN – for example, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate or cash. Each of these asset classes behaves differently based on market conditions and for most people, it’s appropriate to have a mix of them all – that’s diversification. The opposite of diversification would be concentration – having all (or most) of your investment in one asset class. Imagine this – you’re in an elevator on the 80th floor of the Empire State building when suddenly it stops. You remove one of the roof tiles. Would you be more comfortable if the elevator is being held up by one frayed cable – or – by several cables, one of which is frayed? When investment markets get turbulent – knowing that different types of assets behave differently – would you rather have your portfolio invested in one asset class or several?
20. Are you contributing to your retirement?
Do you have a 401(k) or some other type of employer-sponsored retirement plan? If so, are you contributing? For most people, employee pensions are a thing of the past. That means that we’re responsible for saving for our own retirement. It’s important to understand the specifics of your company’s retirement plan. Is there a match? If so, your savings is amplified by your company’s contribution and (up to their maximum match) every time you choose to contribute more, the company contributes more too. For example, if you’re contributing 3% and your company will match 100% of the first 3%, then you are getting a 6% total contribution – that’s DOUBLE the original contribution! If you’re not contributing up to the employer match already in your plan, consider increasing your contribution by 1% RIGHT NOW – literally – today. Take it one step further – set up an automatic 1% increase every year to correspond when you get a raise. This makes savings automatic, and you’ll likely only notice the difference in spending money for the first pay period or two – it’s typical to pay most attention to the amount that’s being deposited. Once you get used to the change, your future savings has been automated and – if as a result, you need a few more spendable dollars – you can revisit the idea of auditing your expenses to find a few or developing a side hustle.
21. Having the right health insurance is important.
Regardless of your age, health insurance is a big deal! When it comes to your financial fitness, it’s essential to have the right health insurance. Having the wrong health insurance can cost you big when something goes wrong. Several important things to consider: Who is your doctor and how often do you go? You’ll want to make sure your physician is in a covered network and, if you’re young and typically don’t go to the doctor often, you may want to consider a high-deductible plan because the monthly premiums are dramatically lower. Another benefit of a high-deductible plan is that you can use a Health Savings Account to save the money you aren’t paying in monthly premiums for future health costs. If you take any medications on an ongoing basis, it’s also important to check to make sure that they’re covered. Don’t just pick the lowest premium. Instead focus on:
- be aware of the TOTAL cost of your routine care – premiums plus copays plus routine prescriptions;
- pay for the things you’re likely to need and avoid paying for things that you probably won’t.
22. Insurance needs vs coverage you’ll use.
How many things do you have insured: homes, automobiles, boats, ATVs, etc.? Each of these policies has a deductible and the lower the deductible, the higher the monthly premium. Many people want to have the lowest deductible possible to avoid a large out of pocket expense, and they’re willing to pay a little higher premium each month for that feature. The problem is, it’s pretty typical when a small accident occurs to wonder what will happen to your premiums if you make a claim, so people decide it’s not worth the trouble or worry and pay it out of pocket to repair any damages. When it comes to these policies, it’s important to answer this question: if there were an accident, how much would the damage have to be for you to actually file a claim? If you wouldn’t file a claim on your house for an issue that was less than $2500 to repair, why would you pay more EVERY MONTH to have a $500 or $1000 deductible when you’re not going to use it? You want to have the insurance you need, no doubt, be mindful that you only want to pay for the type of coverage you’ll actually use. Small savings plus compound interest can lead to significant results.
23. Protect your identity.
Given the level of business activity on the internet, protecting your identity has never been more critical. I can say with experience that businesses go to great lengths to guard against fraud – but you need look no further than the nightly news to see how often consumer fraud can happen. I’m not suggesting you be afraid – I’m not – but I am suggesting that you take precautions to protect yourself. Here are a few simple steps things that you can do:
- Change your passwords regularly and don’t use the same password for all accounts;
- Lock your electronic devices;
- Shred important documents, particularly those with social security or account numbers;
- Don’t log onto financial accounts or use your credit/debit cards while using public wifi;
- Never open an attachment from someone you don’t know or that you weren’t expecting.
It’s vital that you do what you can, just small precautionary steps, to protect your identity. If you want to take it a step farther, there are several affordable identity protection services, like Lifelock, that you can subscribe to for extra protection.
24. Do what you love, and you’ll likely make more.
There are few places that you spend more of your waking hours than work. Are you happy? Right after my college graduation, I spent a year teaching 6th grade. I hated it – the classroom disciple, not the kids. About halfway through the year, I was miserable, and it was hard to go to work every day. I decided that I had to make a change and at Spring Break, I let my principal know that I wouldn’t be returning the next year. I didn’t have any idea what I would do for a living, but I knew what I wouldn’t do – settle. I’ve been blessed to have found a career that I love and as a result – I put everything I have into it every day. In many occupations, the more you do and the better you get, the more you can make – whether that’s sales commissions, extra hours, raises or promotions. I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you that I am much more likely to do well at something I enjoy. How about you, are you in a field that you can give your all? Are you with the right company? If not, take some time to consider your options. For your own sake, think outside the box – do some research. Could your side hustle or passion project lead you to a new career? You’ve taken small steps to improve your financial fitness, what’s a small career step that you could take?
25. Are you being paid what you’re worth?
If you’re like me, you love what you do! Congratulations! Chances are that also means you’re good at it. If you work for someone else, do they recognize it? If you’re an entrepreneur or solopreneur, do your clients recognize it? As an employer, I can tell you; it can be hard to find great employees and – when you do – you don’t ever want them to leave. As a customer, I want a premium experience, and in many areas, I don’t mind paying for it (within reason). Are you being paid what you’re worth? It’s definitely worth doing some research. If you own your own company or work for yourself, how do your rates compare to those of other comparable services? Whether it’s with a trade organization or simply researching competitor’s websites, make sure that your prices are in line with your value. If you focus on increasing your value, then eventually prices will follow. If you’re an employee, things are a little easier. Check out sites like glassdoor.com, payscale.com, and even monster.com to check out what others are being paid to do similar positions and with similar skills as yours. IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure you’ve been working with your client or company and doing an excellent job for a while before asking for more compensation. Very few things can damage these relationships faster than asking for something you haven’t earned yet!
26. Find yourself a mentor.
Have you ever joined a new organization and been assigned an older member to help you while you’re getting started? Whether they’re called a big brother or sister, sponsor or something else, their function is the same – they’re a mentor. Few things can have a more significant impact on your career – and thus, your income – than a mentor. It’s invaluable to have a person that you can trust to talk through career issues, particularly one who has “been there, done that.” A mentor can help you avoid pitfalls, talk through challenging situations and will often be the first one to offer you a pat on the back when you’re making progress. If you’ve never established a mentoring relationship, here are three important things to look for:
- Find someone who has been where you want to go.
- Ask them directly – most successful people have had the benefit from a mentor and will be honored.
- Make it easy for them to say yes by being willing to work on their schedule.
As you continue to grow in your career, there will come a time that someone will give you an opportunity to “pay it forward” and be a mentor to them – do it! These relationships benefit the mentor as much as they do the mentee, so when someone asks you to mentor them, pass it on. Not only will it give you the satisfaction of helping someone better themselves, but one of the best ways to improve your skills is to teach someone else.
27. Be properly prepared for tax time.
Do you understand all of the rules and regulations of the tax code that are required to effectively file your state and federal taxes? For many people, preparing to file their tax return begins in February. The trouble with this strategy is that it’s easy, especially at the last minute, to forget important information or lose track of some of the necessary documents. Instead, keep a file of tax-related information on a year-round basis. This file should include documents for the major areas that may create deductions including expenditures related to: home repairs, child care, work (unreimbursed by your company,) medical treatments, or charitable contributions. It’s been my experience that having a checklist helps in the preparation process, so I created one. If you’d like, just click here and download it to help you prepare in advance for your tax season.
28. Find a good, proactive accountant.
When it comes to your relationship with your accountant, you can either be proactive or reactive. Many services, like the ones you that pop up all over the country every January – even in some grocery stores – are reactive. A reactive relationship is one where you drop off your tax information, they punch some numbers in the computer and – much like the news media – they report to you what happened (good or bad.) Frankly, I don’t see much value in that. In my experience, a good, proactive accountant is worth many times what they charge. They can work with you in advance (now that’s a concept) to review your document checklist and make sure you’ve compiled as much of your information as possible BEFORE the end of the year. Being proactive can allow them to make suggestions on changes that you can make to improve your situation while you can still do something about it! Take some time today to do a little homework on local accountants – it’ll be time well spent. Curious what to ask when interviewing a new accountant? Here’s an article with some suggestions: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232841
29. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I can’t speak for Jack, but I know that all work and no play makes Chip exhausted and ineffective. Today, I want you to reevaluate your budget. Is one of your line items a vacation? If not, I strongly encourage you to include at least one. It doesn’t have to be long, expensive or extravagant, but one key to your financial fitness is to maintain a high level of productivity – and that can’t happen without proper rest and the opportunity to recharge. I know it’s unusual for a “financial guy” to recommend that you spend money and take time off, but you’re running a marathon, not a sprint, and even elite athletes need rest! I’ve found it much easier to put in the work required – to succeed in business and to plan my finances – when I know that there will also be time to relax and have some fun. The purpose of putting in the prep work isn’t just to have a big number on your bank statement. It’s to build a life you can enjoy. Now, look at your calendar, your budget and a map – plan a vacation – and get back to work!
30. You can’t set it and forget it.
If you’ve followed our tips, I have no doubt that you’ve experienced significant improvement in your finances and your life. I’m excited for you! Here’s the catch – it’s not permanent – you have to keep doing it! Have you ever known someone who went on a diet and exercise program for 30 days and saw great results – then quit following the plan that made them successful? They put all of the weight back on, and before you know it, they’re in worse shape than they were before! If you don’t keep doing the small things that you’ve been doing so far, your financial fitness can backslide too! This is not the time to be complacent. Instead, I want you to take some advice from the back of your favorite shampoo bottle – Rinse and Repeat! The tips that you’ve followed to this point will help you stay on the right track, and you can do them as many times as you want. Imagine the kind of progress you can have in a year. Just. Keep. Going. Tomorrow you’ll get a summary of the things you’ve learned, then all you have to do is rinse and repeat.
You’ve made it!
You’ve worked your way through this extensive list to improve your financial fitness and, by now, I’m sure you’ve seen meaningful progress (plus you’ve scheduled a vacation!)
If you didn’t download our Financial Fitness Success Planner when you started reading this article, download it now. Take advantage of this momentum and start checking some of these financial to-dos off your list now. This planner is more than a quick guide, it’s a place to brainstorm, document, revisit your progress as you become financially fit and start creating real wealth for yourself and your family.
Opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.