I know that getting in physical shape and financial shape have some similarities. You need to practice self-control, avoid giving into impulses. And a big part of getting in shape (physically or financially) is balancing money (or calories) in vs. out.
Back in January, I asked a question of my twitter followers:
If you could wave a magic wand and either be at your ideal weight/fitness level or be debt free, which would you pick?
Well, what did my twitter friends have to say to this magic wish? Well, Brad (@bradkindercoach), Jenn (@payingmyself), Kristen(@thriftyandfit), Life Money Center (@lifemoneycenter) and Joe Taxpayer (@joetaxpayerblog) all said they’d want to be debt free (either because they had a mortgage, or because without debt they could pay for someone to whip them into shape!). Jesse (@pffirewall) wanted to know how long the fitness would last, and only two respondents (@Metz77 and @FinancialSamura) opted to be magically made the perfect human specimen (Financial Samurai said “I’d rather be fit with debt”).
My “wish” was to magically be the perfect weight, in great shape, with toned muscles, and a decent running pace. Wouldn’t that be great?
Why did I pick the physical over financial fitness? Mostly because I already have a plan for how to eliminate my debt (eventually), and it’s definitely easier for me to prevent overspending than it is to prevent overeating.
We know how to be debt free: pay off the debt, don’t incur more debt. But at least for me, the answers for getting in shape seem a bit more elusive. I know the basics: eat healthy, don’t eat too much, exercise. I understand that. But it’s a lot easier (and less dangerous) to have a no-spend day than a no-eat day! It just seems easier to “set it and forget it” with auto pay and making good money decisions. So, even though the healthy body would be more difficult to maintain than a healthy net worth, I would love to have a good starting point (already at ideal fitness) and work from there.
I still owe over $33k on my student loans. Would that mean I’d pay $33k to get into peak physical shape? No. I also know that wishing wont eliminate my debt or my flab overnight. But I’m trying to get in shape, eat right, and exercise. I’m actually starting to get in the habit of adding exercise to my day. So that’s a start!
What about you? Would you wish to rid yourself of debt or of fat? Which do you think is easier to achieve and maintain?