Four blokes walk into a bar…
One Friday evening in December I met three mates at The Como Hotel for a drink to celebrate the spirit of the festive season. Around us there were many other jovial groups obviously enjoying the season, which is often characterised by eating (and drinking) to excess.
Pretty soon we too were discussing ordering some bar snacks when one of the mates confessed that only a few days earlier his wife had put him on the Sacred Heart Diet. You may have heard of the diet under a different name, but in essence it is one of the strict meal plans that prescribes what food you eat and slowly introduces a new food or two each day.
In confessing, my mate – let’s call him No-More-Fun-Man – was actually looking for a reprieve. You see, one of the other mates happens to be a very experienced and respected dietitian – let’s call him The Health Saviour.
Fortunately, No-More-Fun-Man got his reprieve when The Saviour declared that all of these fashionable, prescriptive weight loss diets are rubbish. Sustainably losing and then maintaining weight is as simple as eat less & exercise more. Control your calories so that energy out equals energy into your body. The rest is just finesse around the edges.
This simple truth equally applies to creating wealth
Just like diets, there are an abundance of wealth creation books, seminars and websites professing to teach you the secrets of creating great wealth fast. But most, if not all of it is just finesse around the edges.
The core of wealth creation is to ensure money out is less than money in – spend less than you earn.
Before worrying about all the fancy finesse of advanced wealth creation strategies, focus on consistently and sustainably controlling your cash flow.
Tracking your cash flow
Interestingly, in the last two years I can recall only two clients who came to me with a clear idea of how much and where they spend their money. When I recommend to the other clients that they track their spending for at least one month their body language betrays their reluctance.
It seems that controlling our cash flow and controlling our calories are concepts that make us very uncomfortable.
Those four blokes are still at the bar…
And that brings me back to those four blokes sitting in The Como Hotel.
As it turns out my third mate present at the pub was also on a diet. He is participating in a CSIRO research project. As part of the research all he has to do is control his calories and include one specific food in his diet each day (the subject of the research). The recommended tool for helping participants track their calories is CalorieKing.com.au and he spoke highly of the tool.
The mention of CalorieKing caught my attention as another close friend has lost over 20kgs in the past 6 months by simply eating less and exercising more. The tool she has used to track her calorie control and inform her eating decisions has been CalorieKing.
So over the Christmas holidays I signed up on CalorieKing to see how it can help me get back to within my health weight range (as judged by the body mass index). And what a fascinating experience it has been.
The right first step
There are so many similarities between the quest to maintain a healthy weight and the quest to maintain healthy finances.
We seem to accept that a first step to losing weight is to start tracking what we eat. Every diet I have ever seen starts with identifying or specifying what and how much you eat. We may be reluctant to do so, but the act of tracking what we eat actually serves a second purpose of informing our future decisions
The same principle applies to creating wealth. Fortunately identifying what you spend is much simpler than tracking your calories. The key measure you need to track – dollars – is openly disclosed at each purchase.
The even better news is that with both calories and money you’re not required to minutely track them every day for the rest of your life. But it is a very useful place to start. Especially if you are not happy with your current situation and want to accelerate the transition to a more comfortable, sustainable lifestyle.
Stories to help you
Through my health journey I am noticing many similarities to wealth creation. These similarities may be very helpful to you on your wealth journey, so I will be sharing my observations with you right here on my blog. Subscribe to be advised when I share new insights and tips.
If you are already very good with health then you already have the capacity to also be very good with wealth. The insights from my journey may help you apply the skills to your wealth creation.
If you don’t feel that you are already good at either health or wealth, don’t despair. I bet you are good at lots of other things. So you too already have the capacity to be very good with wealth creation. As you read future blog posts my story will spark your mind at how what you are already good at can be applied to wealth. (When it does so please write to me and share your story – or leave a comment.)