In my research for writing this piece, the articles I’ve read come largely from the financial media and associated economists. The general narrative talks of statistics relating to longevity, GDP, the age of the population, NHS funding, socio economic status and taxes. Mostly matters in which I have no expertise. The advice then follows to have your health and wealth assessed annually by suitable professionals and after that to take action on the advice you receive. The final point there being extremely important – taking action!
Where I will come from is to talk about what I see going on with people who are similar to me. How shall I describe this bunch? British, middle class, middle aged, suburban, German car driving types! Will that do? Not offended anyone yet have I? If you’re reading this then you probably fall into that bracket, at least with two of the entry requirements anyway.
So what is the state of your health and fitness and how much money have you got? It’s worth knowing because it’s likely that these two will most influence what you are able to do and how long you are able to do it. Or, how long you can keep doing everything you love for as long as possible before you snuff it. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me. A lot better than “Get a beach body for the summer” or “Triple your wage in just 3 hours a week from home” that’s for sure!
Not 5 years ago I would have ran a mile from talking about health and wealth and the reason was because I had tons of one but not the other – you can probably guess where the scales tipped. I’m still a lot healthier than I am financially secure but the reason I feel confident to talk about this now is because yes I know lots about health and fitness and I action it to help me daily but I now understand money more and I have a plan to get more of it. For 45 years I winged it. “I’ll be alright. I’ll have money for my future, it’ll happen sooner or later.” I spoke like this (if I was forced to think about it) but honestly? I had no clue how to get money or what to do with it if I got any! I never had any advice and felt too embarrassed to seek it.
My biggest fear was picturing the future me, strong as an ox, indestructible but at the same time 100 years old sat in a council flat in front of an electric fire with only enough money to set the heat to one bar. The fear increased and became the third force that kicked me into action to DO something about it. So I did.
As I mentioned, I still haven’t got sufficient money, not enough to support the lifestyle I want in my old age, but I now know how much I need, I have a plan on how to get it and how to make what I’ve got grow.
What was it that I DID to kick my plan into action?
- I stopped getting drunk almost every other weekend because 1 it was squandering money and 2 it prevented me from thinking clearly.
- I swapped watching crap on tv for reading beneficial material.
- I removed everyone from my life that was holding me back.
- I began to associate with people on the same mission as me.
- Before I bought anything I studied “cost per use” and “resale value”.
Those are just some of the things I did in order to bring about change for the better. While I was doing this I also continued to do something else that was very important for me. I trained my body physically most days and 80% of the time, ate great quality food.
I didn’t swap an obsession with exercise for an obsession with money but I down geared one and upped another so that both became very important to me and I feel better because of it. I have far less anxiety as a result and I am happier.
In my work as a health and fitness coach (not as a financial advisor) I see all types of people and I get to learn what types they are. I see extremely fit people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who love hitting PB’s with rowing, lifting, running or have a desire to continually look the best they’ve ever been and I also see people who have got a lot of money who keep growing their funds way beyond what they are likely to ever spend or need. You may be in one of these camps or know people who are.
Do you obsess over your sport continually trying to improve your numbers when what you should be focussing on is getting out of the job you hate or the area in which you live?
Or conversely, are you watching your waistline expand every year believing that if you can just get to a million in the bank then you’ll be able to look after yourself more?
Both sets of people are doing great: one is improving health, the other their wealth, but who’s got it right?
Who is the person that really grabs my attention?
Who am I looking at that I see as formidable?
Those who are fit as can be and have a bank balance that allows them the freedom to do all the stuff they want. That’s who! This is the person I’m looking up to. This is who inspires me and a few people spring to mind but it isn’t many.
I have an idea where I lie on the spectrum. Do you? Does reading this make you feel uncomfortable? It would me at one time until I had my plan.
What I’ve come to learn in my time on this earth is that sooner or later, both physical health and financial wealth are going to matter, but…one of these may have more severe consequences than the other if you don’t start sorting it out pronto!
Lung cancer through smoking, obesity related cancers through eating and drinking so much, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic illnesses may get a hold of you to a point where you can no longer do anything about it and the idea that you’ll sort yourself out one day might sadly be too late.
You’ll have a big heavy expensive coffin to show off and lobster and champagne at your wake but you might die before your time and that’s like, well, pretty sad really, especially if you’ve got kids that haven’t reached their mid 20’s yet.
As I’ve stated, I’m no finance expert but I’m not bad at helping with health advice and I’d say especially health advice for the middle aged amongst us where my guidance leans towards lifestyle changes and who you spend most of your time with as it is those people who will have most influence on you.
Are you worried? Does the nagging weight gain, breathlessness, back pain, difficulty with moving and inability to leap out of bed in the morning raring to go bother you? Or does it not bother you yet but you can feel it coming?
Yes it can get to a point where we’ve left it too late to make money, the point at where we are carted off to a home with the ability to do very little but wouldn’t it be better to not even live in such a place? To be able to take care for yourself until your dying days in the fine home you’ve worked so hard to own? I think that would make me happy.
I’m changing myself by keeping the company of those who are on the same path as me in life. Maybe you could look at who are the most useful people for you to spend your time with and above all take regular action to achieve your end goal.