While speaking with a client recently about some changes to her financial situation, I started talking about my philosophy on exercise. You see, 5 years ago I was allergic to exercise. I had tried everything from gym memberships to yoga classes and nothing stuck. I would get in to it for 3-6 months and then something would break the cycle and I would quit on it. I didn’t enjoy it very much, so I would self-sabotage my efforts and just stop. I would make excuses or have valid reasons, I believed, to stop exercising.
This wouldn’t be such a big problem if I didn’t also love food or didn’t mind putting on weight. However heart problems are hereditary in my family and the last thing I needed was excess weight.
I have modified my food intake as much as I am willing to but if I wanted to continue to eat the way I enjoyed then I needed to find something that would work for me.
4 years ago, while watching The Biggest Loser, I wondered if a personal trainer would work for me. I understood that it would cost a little bit more, but perhaps I needed someone that would build programmes specifically for me and someone that would keep me accountable. After some searching, I found someone that was (and still is) perfect for me.
My trainer struggled with her weight when she was young so she is understands that I am not going to eat perfectly every day. She pushes me harder than I would push myself but she has taken the time to map out my boundaries and know when not to push too hard. If I tell her I ate cake, she doesn’t yell at me or berate me, she just makes me do extra burpees. I am now able to eat almost whatever I want and maintain my weight with minimal but fairly intense exercise, which I enjoy and which has become a way of life for me.
During one of our group training sessions, one of the girls scoffed when we were talking about cake and said “I don’t eat cake, that is why I look like this and train like this”, to which I responded “I think you’ve missed the point, I work as hard as I do so I can eat cake”. I told this story to my client and she laughed and said “Andrea, do you realise that you incorporate that same philosophy to financial planning”. And she is right. You see I believe that it is important to put something aside today for the future, but I am also a big believer in living today and not giving up everything for a future that is uncertain.
When I get my clients to prepare a budget, we do not strip out everything that is important to them, but if there is nothing left over to put aside for tomorrow then we prioritise the things they are spending their money on and agree on what they are willing to strip back. For example, you want to buy a bigger home, but in order to afford that, you either need to cut back on date nights with a restaurant and a movie or start bringing your lunch to work and cutting back on café coffee. You may be happy to do both or you may opt to cut back on one and keep the other.
So next time you are thinking about how to manage your finances, think about what you need to do or what you are prepared to sacrifice so you can eat cake/have a comfortable retirement/buy a bigger home.