I have started on my physical fitness journey three years ago. Prior to that, I was living an unhealthy lifestyle—I was 176 lbs. for a 5’8 guy, smoking and drinking. Couple that with coming from a family predisposed to cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer. It is the perfect recipe for a health disaster.
What pushed me to decide to get fit altogether is seeing a neighbor still at the prime of his age but confined in a wheelchair, paralyzed, because of a stroke. From then on, I decided that I want to live my life fully, with no physical incapacity.
So I decided to enroll at a gym and did a turn around on my lifestyle. In my quest for physical fitness, I came across a marathon that poses new challenges unlike any other: the Spartan Race. It is a tough and grueling race that not only tests one’s stamina and endurance but physical and mental strength as well.
I joined the recent one: the Spartan Super, a 13-kilometer marathon through the slippery, muddy forest trail and wet roads in Subic that includes the 25 plus physical obstacles one has to go through. It’s the perfect marathon really fit for a Spartan. Doing that and looking back, I gathered some thoughts useful for personal finance.
Have a coach and train. Preparing for the race is no mean feat. You would have to train your whole body’s endurance, strength and stamina. No muscle should be left behind—from the wrists to tighten grip, arms to pull up, to the legs to keep you moving through it all. Training involves physical and mental discipline to build your body for race day. Having a coach is a must for an expert’s guide on which exercises to do and customize a program that would work given your genetics, strength and weakness. Much like in personal finance, having a coach means someone who knows the market and guide you in choosing a particular investment, product or solution best for you, given your unique financial conditions. As each physical training program is customized for each particular body and fitness level, so is financial advice. It is customized for each person’s financial goals, dreams and aspirations.
2. Go with a team. No obstacle is too hard, especially when it’s done with others. There is this one obstacle called the Atlas Carry, where you have to lift 100 lbs. of pure concrete ball. Given the weight plus the muddy and slippery terrain, it’s almost impossible to carry it unless you are super strong or if you carry it with others. Some of the racers I’ve been with teamed up with two others to carry the ball successfully. Along the way, I saw teams who have done the race. They cheered, encouraged and helped eache other even when some cannot beat an obstacle. I, for one, had a team that gave me moral support and push when I needed them.
In our finances, we also need a team. Have a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial planner who will put their heads together with yours to help you navigate your finances. Each has his own expertise. Together, they pitch in to create a legally and financially sound financial estate or investment plan.
In our financial planning firm for example, we work with lawyers in creating trusts for persons with special needs. We also have professionals who have been in the stock, forex, real estate markets, insurance and banking industry to supply expertise for our clients.
3. Help others along the way. I do wanted to finish the race the earliest to rank high and even beat my own personal record. But along the way, there are people who needed help. Someone who needs a push going up an obstacle, a lending hand to go over one, or a final pull up a terrain. The others I saw even carried some racers on their shoulders, and some even stopped on their way to help people dealing with cramps. I am sure we have lost some precious time. But along the way, we gained new friends.
In our personal finance journey, we would meet people who might also be on the same path or those just starting out as well. It would be good to share our knowledge, our successes, and even our mistakes that can help them manage their money. We could share new book, an investment principle, a sound financial product and even a good financial advisor. In doing so, we make the lives of the people around us better. I for one, share my personal experiences—tips, successes, mistakes and all—during my talks and seminars as I want people to learn from them. And, yes, I gained a lot of friends, too.
4. Have the goal in mind. The race is all about finishing it. So we pushed forward whatever the terrain through sun and rain. Going to the finish line, however, there are obstacles we had to face and conquer. There was no backing out. It was just moving forward. We just had to do it over walls, inclined planes, under muddy water, carrying heavy buckets, swinging between bars. All moving towards the goal—the finish line and the glorious achievement.
Yes, we have our own financial goals and we would be having obstacles as well—budgets, setbacks, and even markets. But through it all, what is important is that we have the mind and the fortitude to overcome all of them—over financial hurdles, under economic headwinds, swinging between market volatilities. The financial goal—the finish line- is what’s important.
Reach that glorious day when you have achieved them all.
Rienzie P. Biolena is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines. He’s president and chief financial planner of WealthArki and Consultancy, a financial planning firm. Learn more about personal financial planning at the 72nd RFP program in October 2018. To inquire, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or text <name><e-mail><RFP> to 0917-9689774.
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