Financial Fitness Vs. Physical Fitness

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Do financial fitness and physical fitness have a natural conflict for time in our busy lives? Or is there room for both? The time it takes most of us to earn a living seems to often preclude being able to carve out enough time to exercise regularly. The most popular excuse for lack of fitness is not having enough time. Is the problem that the amount of time we need to maintain financial fitness the real culprit of our decline of physical health and fitness?

A look at the transition of the way we spend our time in the last 50 years might help answer that question. The Center for American Progress on the topic of ‘work and family life balance’ points out, “in 1960 only 20 percent of mothers worked but today 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed”. This is a huge factor when it comes to time for fitness and eating healthy for the America family today. In addition, compared to other countries we are more heavily invested time wise in our work, leaving less and less room for leisure time. Take a look at these statistics:
At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the workweek, but not in the US.
In the US 86 percent of males and 66 percent of females work more than a 40-hour week.
Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours than British workers and 499 more hours than French workers per year.

More work has left most Americans without time to unwind, exercise, spend time with loved ones and generally live a balanced life. We seem to value financial means above everything else but ironically poor physical fitness is one of the fastest ways to erode your financial status. If you are into taking stock of your portfolio, you know your investments should be diversified. In this context that means for the best returns in life you should focus on spreading some of your investments of time outside your financial sector and into the high yielding stocks and bonds of fitness, family, friends, and fun.

If you are not yet investing in these areas, hopefully you recognize these as valuable choices. However, if you have not yet been able to set that time aside but have always wanted to, recognize that there will be some very real challenges that must be overcome in order to be successful.

The first step is to decide what your values are and then analyze how you currently spend your time. Does the amount of time you spend in your average week align with your values? If you value health and fitness, are you spending quality time every day or most days doing something that contributes to the maintenance or improvement of this asset? No doubt that the time spent to accomplish financial fitness competes with all other areas of our life but time set aside for health and well-being will not only pay long-term dividends physically but also increase returns in other areas of your life. Take it from me, investing in fitness over a lifetime means even though I have a gray beard I’m not in the rocking chair yet!

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