How exercising is like investing
I am really into investing and I am equally interested in exercise. I have spent a significant amount of my life experiencing both. Early this morning around 4:30 a.m. (spring forward is brutal adjustment in the Clark household) I had an epiphany how similar investing/money and exercise/staying active actually are.
Hold on as I take you inside of one of my thought tsunamis!
I hope you can feel the power that both investing and exercise can have once you are done.
Time over money
Let me preface this entire thought with the fact that you have the ability to make an infinite amount of money in your lifetime through hard work, intelligence, and luck. On the flip side, you are given a finite amount of time and life on this planet. Investing/Money and Exercise are similar because you need to move in life to survive and grow. We also know that exercise has the potential to lengthen your life (giving you bonus time). We all realize that we need money to survive, and it costs money to do the things that make you happy (not always). The quality of life and your life’s experiences can be enhanced with exercise/being active and can be sustained with the freedom that money provides. Always place more value your time! "The rich invest in time, the poor invest in money." -Warren Buffet
Why is the answer
Why do they both matter? Both require a strong introspective approach into the importance of each to you. Basically, what is your why? Why do you want to exercise? Why do you want to be financially free? Then the how comes into play. How can I stay active and healthy? How can I reach my financial goal? What do I need to do to reach this healthy lifestyle? What investments can make my money work for me? Then, naturally you will make the when and the where work through trial and error, determination, and consistency. Once you figure out your why and learn about the how’s and the what’s then you slowly begin lead them into your where and when! Remember that every journey starts with a destination of where you want to go. Where do you want to go with your fitness and finance?
They have to be done!
You can’t afford not to do them. It’s that simple! Your health and vitality depend on being active and your money is always being attacked by inflation. No one can live forever, and riches are often lost from generation from generation. The stories of your physical/mental greatness that you will earn from exercising and sacrifice will live on inside your grandchildren. The wealth you establish for your family will allow them a life of choice instead of restriction. What stories will they tell about you?
Where do I start?
Sometimes too many options freeze you in the headlights of life. There are so many ways to invest (stocks, bonds, ETF’s, real estate, commodities). There are also so many ways to exercise (walking, weight training, playing sports, yoga) that it can be overwhelming at times to know where to start. The key is to start yesterday for both! Start slow, stay positive, and keep learning. Remember you can never win a race that you aren't in. So put your foot to the line, take a deep breath and believe!
The first steps
Anytime you take on a new journey there will be bumps, hills, and feelings of natural and healthy fear. When you begin either you are nervous, apprehensive, and fearful that you might get injured/lose money. Both are directly connected with emotion and that is the amazing thing about both. Exercising is an amazingly natural way to feel good and when done correctly the satisfaction/comfort of your investments and financial freedom can give you a high like no other. Find ways to associate them both with enjoyment and positive feelings and you will find yourself doing them with ease. Also, remember fear is just “False Evidence Appearing Real!”
Are you the car or thimble?
There is no one-size fit all approach with either Exercise/Investing. We all have different bodies/minds, genetics, and experiences when it comes to health and fitness. In investing, we all start off on different places on the board game of life. Some of us start with less/more money, vastly different understandings and experiences, and most importantly experiences/connections/perceptions of how money is used, spent, and saved. I am a strong believer that with hard work, sacrifice, and luck we can set ourselves up to pass go and thrive in financial game of life. Remember that where you start in life doesn't have to be where you finish. "If you are born poor, it's not your mistake. But if you die poor, it's your mistake." -Bill Gates
Automation is key
It is so vital to make time for each and it is quintessential to make them both automatic and part of your routine. Life is hard enough. Why make it harder with things that can be made simpler? Successful (saving money) and investing should be built into your personal finance routine and exercise (being active) needs to be a natural part of everyday. Habits take time to create so take a little help set yourself up for success with very useful technology of automation. You will need all the help you can get when it comes to this sustained effort. Use a system that works for you because ultimately you know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to organization, overcoming tasks and commitment.
Cost vs. Price
You don’t always have to pay for what you deserve. High and hidden fees and broker commissions will eat away at your gains and high gym memberships and unnecessary fitness equipment will do the same. Both aren’t always necessary to achieving optimal physical fitness and solid returns. Be smart with who you invest in and with and be smart about where you stay active. A lot of the best things in life are the simpler things and I am beginning to find this to be the case with investing (ETF’s) and exercising (body weight and outdoors).
Truth in numbers
My favorite concept is the fact that the truths of both are simple, clear, and honest. The results don’t lie! Your losses/gains of an investment tell the truth. Your weight, race times, weights lifted also tell the same story. With that being said, every day is a new day and each morning bell is a new page in each book. The key is to keep writing pages and not to close the book and quit. Let the truth motivate and not deter you. They should keep you accountable, but more importantly hungry. I would also highly recommend keeping track of both in order to show you progress, growth, and to reflect back on both adventures. I am a huge fan of note cards when it comes to tracking workouts and my go to is Personal Capital for tracking all my investments.
Adapt to survive
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies to the simple point of not putting all of your money into one single investment. It’s kind of ironic we do this when it comes to love. Make sure this is the best investment you make in your life! It also applies to exercising and not performing the same exercise/routine all the time. This can be easily corrected by diversifying your money into various investment vehicles (stocks, mutual funds, ETF’s, real estate, commodities, bonds, etc.). With exercise, in order to grow and get healthier and stronger it is paramount to cross-train, add variety and different work-outs/exercises into your routines, and also challenge yourself to try new things. My only advice is to be a little more adventurous with your workouts and not your investing accounts!
Rest is when you grow
Your body and mind need breaks. So does your wallet and money. Factor in built-in breaks/time off to give your body/mind/emotions a rest. When you over train you run the risk of injury, burnout and stress. The same goes for constantly check on your investments and ticker symbols. This will lead to panic selling and fearful buying in investing. Trust the process and remember rests are necessary. When we rest, we grow.
Own your journey
No one will care more about your health/money than you will! There comes a point where you have to take ownership of your own fitness, your own investing, and your own life! Always remember that! You are the one doing the exercises and putting in the hard work. You are the one deciding where to put your money so it will work while you sleep. Always be accountable, responsible, and continue to find ways to learn from your mistakes and your successes. Think, learn, and grow.
What will define you?
Name me one specific memory that can sum who you are. You can’t because you are a culmination of your beliefs, experiences, and values. You will get knocked down with both. You will see a lot of days of your money in the red (hopefully not more than you see green)! You will have great workouts that make you feel immortal. You will feel unstoppable when you take profits! However, remember not to let one single workout experience/investment define you. It is just a small step in the race of becoming your healthiest and wealthiest self! Don’t be myopic! Be perspicacious!
Content vs. Contentment
As you get more seasoned and father time makes his rounds, you will slowly begin to listen to your body and to your mind. You will learn how to train smarter, not harder/protect your money from unnecessary risks/loss. With that life experience you will learn to be more thankful and appreciative you can do the simpler things in life that some people can’t. Like walk, live on your own, and still have the ability to positively impact others in amazing ways while you still have a working body. You will also learn to appreciate the potential and value in money and more importantly be able to have the guaranteed savings/income you have worked your whole life to earn. Which battle will win? Content vs. contentment. My wife and I have major discussions about this area of life! I think we are actually arguing the same thing, but at this point who knows!
Exercise and Investing should be taught to your children (for those of you that have them) at an early age so you can engrain positive habits that they will thank you for it later in life. Tell them the stories of your knowledge, failures and successes. Show them the power that exercise can have on their bodies and minds. Watch them in awe as you explain the power of compounding interest to them for the first time. These are the stories that will bring it all to life and that you can share with them just like you would bedtime stories. It might actually put them to bed a little quicker!
Never give up
There will be days you want to quit both because they are too time consuming, too stressful, and too hard. But, if you stay the course you will see amazing things happen with both. The greatest rewards wait for those who can stay the course. Those who can remain patient and calm. Those who can fight through the hard workouts/losses will ultimately be victorious. What will happen if you stay the course?
Keep your emotions at the door
Investing and exercising involve a plethora of emotions. Use common sense, protect your emotions and think logically. When you are in the middle of a great workout or in the process of making an investment you get a rush, a feeling of excitement and accomplishment. However, if you are having a bad workout or you make a bad investment you get a feeling of failure, anger, and disgust. Funny how quickly they can change in either direction. Stop, and learn to act and not react to either. Keep your emotions in check and keep looking at the big picture with both.
No easy way out
Be fearful of quick fixes, gains, and profits when it comes to either. Supplements, gurus and fitness crazes (shake weights- enjoy the workout) aren’t going to last long and improve the overall longevity and the quality of your life. Neither will always listening and trusting every financial expert, making speculative risky investments, and what I sometimes find myself doing…experiencing FFOMO (Financial Fear of Missing Out). Remember in both- “There is no elevator for success, you have to take the stars!
Slow and steady
“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” Doing the physical work with exercise and putting your money in safe investments aren’t always glamorous, fun or sexy, however they will give you a higher quality of life, put you at peace, and also give you a feeling of accomplishment. I believe that true happiness is something that sustains itself long after the event has taken place (vacation, memory, quality time with friends/family doing fun adventures) and not that instant gratification we get from buying stuff that we don’t always need. Close your eyes and think about what makes you happy and I bet you it has something to do with an experience, memory, or adventure.
When both worlds align
Over time, with patience, perseverance, and consistency you will be amazed at the results. You will also increase your chances of a longer life, since studies have shown a strong correlation between exercise and longevity. There will also be wealth in your future since the power of compounding interest will take you on the path to financial freedom. You will have your health, your wealth! The universe will be yours for the taking and you can live the life you want instead of one that is already chosen for you. Now you just need to find and keep happiness! I will need another sleepless night to help solve that one!
Founder of Mr. Clark's PE and creator of Mr. Clark's Elementary Physical Education Yearly Plans! He's passionate about teaching others how to build health and wealth.
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