If you know me, you know I am very passionate about fitness and nutrition. I typically workout six days a week, and I am extremely diligent about my nutrition. This is not a new hobby of mine. I have spent the past twenty years studying and experimenting with various fitness programs and diets learning what works best for me and my fitness goals. In 2012, the gym that I belong to, Afterburn Fitness, decided to start an annual fitness challenge. The first year of the competition, I took everything I had learned from all my years of studying, researching, and experimenting, and I applied it to a 90 day fitness competition. And I won. Since then, many of my friends, family, and peers at the gym have asked me how I did it. What was the magic formula? The first thing I tell them is that there is no magic pill. What you need is a plan.
While I love fitness, it is not what I do for a living. As a financial advisor for the past 17 years, my day job is helping people plan for their financial future. What I have noticed over the years is that the steps necessary to achieve your fitness goals are very similar to the steps you must take to achieve your financial goals. Since getting in shape physically and financially are two of the most common New Year’s resolutions, why not kick off 2015 learning how to accomplish both.
The first thing you need to do, whether your goals are fitness or financial related, is take a thorough assessment of your current situation. In regards to fitness, this would be things like weight, body measurements, body fat measurements, current tests of strength, endurance, etc. In finance, we need to know your current income, monthly expenses, current investments, savings or liquid assets, debt, etc.
Next, we need to dream about the future and set some goals. Everyone is so very different. Some people want to lose weight. Some want to gain muscle. One individual might want to finish his or her first marathon, while another may want to finish in the top ten in his or her next triathlon. Likewise, some may want to retire in the next 10 years, while another may have over 30 years until retirement. One family may be planning to send four children to college, while another may only have one child. A business owner may be interested in passing on the business to his or her children, while another may want to sell his or her business prior to retirement. The possibilities are endless. No two financial plans are alike. Whatever your goals are, they are unique to you. Try to be as specific as possible. This will make it much easier when you are trying to come up with the steps necessary to accomplish your goals.
The third step in the process is designing your plan. This is where we take all of the information we have collected and create a plan that is specific to you. For a fitness plan, each individual’s diet will be unique, not only with the amount of calories he or she should consume, but the types of food he or she should be eating as well. In addition, the types of workouts and the amount of time and frequency individuals should be doing them, will be unique. In regards to a financial plan, there are several questions we will attempt to answer while designing the plan, such as: what is the appropriate amount of money clients can and should be saving on a regular basis in order to accomplish their goals, what types of accounts and investments are right for them and their unique circumstances, what is the impact of retiring at age 60 versus 65, when should they start to receive their social security benefits?—and so much more. Once we have a plan in place that we feel best accomplishes our client’s objectives, it is time to implement the plan. However, it does not stop there.
The last step in the process, and one of the most important, is the ongoing monitoring and updating of the plan. If there is one thing I am absolutely certain of, it is that things will change. Whether it is a fitness or financial plan, it is absolutely necessary to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your plan over time.
When it comes to your physical fitness, good luck. I can’t necessarily help you there. I am not a nutritionist or a certified personal trainer. If you need help in that department, please seek out a professional in your area, or if you live in the Valencia, CA area, please feel free to visit my friends at Afterburn Fitness. But, when it comes to your financial future, I can be of service. I can help you assess your current situation, set realistic goals for your financial future, create a plan with distinct and measureable goals, assist you with the management of your investment assets, and help you monitor and update your plan going forward so that one day we can celebrate together when you are living your financial dreams.
Christopher M. Ingram
25060 Avenue Stanford, Suite 100
Valencia, CA 91355 USA