Updated: Nov 8, 2018
If you've read my "About Me" section, you've seen that I have a Masters in Applied Linguistics. What is Linguistics you say? Good question. Unfortunately, this isn't a blog about Linguistics. Suffice it to say it is the study of language and everything you can imagine that means. Given my background, it's hardly surprising that I want to get some language down before I move forward in posting about my financial journey.
What does it mean to be financially fit? Well, if you google it, the company Financially Fit LLC comes up, as well as a bunch of articles with tips to being financially fit. Now that I think about it, I should probably check those articles out...but I digress.
I define financial fitness as a continually evolving state of mind rather than an end point in a process. Just like in physical fitness, it is a muscle you need to work out so that it stays in shape. The state of mind of being financially fit is knowing that you are in control of your money rather than your money being in control of you. It's understanding how your money is coming in and how its going out. It is making decisions based on your financial status that help you in the long run or give you joy in the moment.
I don't define financial fitness as having a clear set of metrics or boxes to check off such as I have x amount of money in my checking account at all times. Or I have x amount of money invested in various stock. It's not something as easy as that. There are plenty of people who can claim they always have a certain amount in their accounts or have investments in stock, but I would argue that those folks aren't necessarily financially fit. Those people might not understand how, or even if, their money is working for them.
I am learning that all the worth while things in my life are things that I have to actively and regularly practice, rather than something I can achieve and say it’s completed. Living a healthy life is something I have to continually work on. My relationship with God is something I have to continually work on. Being nicer to myself and those around me are things I have to continually work on. And (surprise!) financial fitness is something I have to continually work on.
That being said, you should define your own financial fitness. What do your financial goals look like? What are some ways you know you've achieved it? One of my goals was paying off my student loans. I know I achieved it because I got an email from Navient and Great Lakes saying "Congratulations! You've paid off your loans." Another goal was to feel in control of my finances rather than feel like I was drowning. I didn't get an email telling me I achieved it, but I also no longer cringe every time I pay for something because now I know what's going on with my money.
So, take a few minutes after reading this post to decide what financial fitness looks like for you. Are you willing to change your state of mind and be on a continuous journey? Are you ready to work out your financial muscles? I know you've got them!
Like all journeys, there's going to be some detours, (see my next blog post for one of mine), but if you've made the decision to commit to being financially fit, even the detours are worth it.