It’s Time to Get Fiscally Fit

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The top New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, get organized, spend less, save more and get fit and stay healthy.
It’s the end of January. How’s that going for you?

At the start of every year, more than 40 percent of Americans make resolutions. Yet fewer than 10 percent of those who make them achieve them.

That is most likely because a goal without a plan is just a thought. And sometimes the conditions under which we set goals make following through seem impossible (like trying to lose weight over the holidays).

The same goes for getting fiscally fit.

A retired colleague of mine, Michael Campbell, devised a set of principles he calls “Conditionomics.” Over the years, I have found these principles to be the secret sauce of success in financial planning.

*The key premises of Conditionomics are:*
• Happiness is achieved by integrating, not separating, your personal, professional and financial lives.
• Life is about achieving more of the things you value sooner, not later.
• You will only do more if your confidence in your future increases.

For clients, I’ve always found the best time to start is January. Named for Janus, the two-headed Roman god of gateways, Janus could look simultaneously in both directions — back at the old year and forward to the new.

Getting “fiscally fit” means you need to know where you’ve been as well as where you’re going before you take action. It means creating a plan, complete with desired outcomes.

A goal requires an equally compelling motivation. Instead of setting a number, isn’t it more motivational to say you want enough money to travel the world at age 65 and retire to a life of luxury and leisure, however you define it?

As Steve Jobs once said, “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

Wealth is not about the amount of money; it is about the purpose for which it is acquired. Financial independence is first and foremost about articulating the purpose of money in your life.

My role as a financial planner is to be my clients’ Conditionomics Coach: to guide them through the process of aligning personal and professional goals with financial ones, then empower them to create wealth as a foundation for unlimited opportunities.

Instead of saying you want to “retire comfortably,” decide what that means, specifically. Where do you want to live? In what kind of house? What do you want to do with your free time?

It is never too early or too late to get fiscally fit. So take the first step and write down your personal and professional goals. Otherwise, how can you tie a financial goal to them?

In honor of the Presidential Inauguration, I will leave you with this: the alternative is to play it by ear and hope you pull a Trump card from life’s deck.

Seems like an easy choice to me.

John E. Girouard, CFP, ChFC, CLU, CFS, author of “Take Back Your Money” and “The Ten Truths of Wealth Creation,” is a registered principal of Cambridge Investment Research and an investment advisor representative of Capital Investment Advisors in Georgetown.

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