Be healthy & wealthy in 2008

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.)

Author: Matt Hern

Certified Financial Planner professional, Matt Hern has three times been awarded as one of Australia's Top 50 Financial Planners by The Australian Financial Review Smart Investor. He is passionate about guiding you on the right financial choices to achieve what you really want. Matt Hern is an Authorised Representative of Charter Financial Planning Limited AFSL 234665. All information is general advice only.

5 thoughts on “Be healthy & wealthy in 2008”

  1. Excellent Article Matt!
    There really is only one way to lose weight and keep your body healthy. I’m one of those people who managed to get my fitness up and my body into great shape. It makes sense that the only way to do the same with your finances is to balance money in and out, protect against injury(insurance) and prepare for a long and healthy future (invest)!! So easy when you put it like that!!
    Thanks

  2. Great point, Julia – a wonderful extension of the metaphor. With your permission I’d love to use that and expand on your points in future posts.

    And a big congratulations for getting your body into great shape. I am sure there is much I could learn from you on my journey. Please continue to share your tips with me as I blog my observations for getting healthy & wealthy in 2008!

  3. Nice newsletter Matt – interesting parallel and insightful thoughts. I really enjoy getting these articles from you.

  4. Great newsletter Matt, really thoughtful. I like the parallel between my financial fitness and my physical fitness. Good luck with Calorie King!

  5. I love the way you’ve drawn the comparision between the creation of health and wealth, great job.

    I turned my life around about 5 years ago overcoming a life of addiction to many things food being just one of them. Taking time to learn why I was eating more than I needed for fuel and energy was the key to long term weight loss for me. By committing to develop my emotional fitness I learned new strategies to deal with uncomfortable emotions such as stress, frustration, overwhelm therefore alleviating my need to seek comfort from food.

    I look forward to receiving your articles over the coming months.

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