Be A Financial Athlete – 5 Ways To Train

Life in general requires skills and strength to navigate. There are work skills, home skills, family skills etc. that we can develop to move through life and add value. I think this is why we make sports analogies to life. You know, “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” “Only one person carries the football at a time”, etc. Life and finances are always compared to games and it captures our imaginations. How does one “win the gold” of personal finance? Like any sports or physical endeavor, there are rules, training and discipline that can be applied to our finances to achieve optimal results! I truly believe personal finance and money management is like a game. There are rules, strategies and effort required. A big difference between the “Money game” and Monopoly is that we cannot  afford to lose the former. It is not about winning or losing compared to others, it is about winning for yourself. It is also not about one specific number for all people, there are several ways you can achieve your own unique financial independence (FI)! In many ways you establish the parameters and goal posts. I was never a great athlete, but I enjoyed playing, striving and being part of teams. Cross country pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits. Baseball taught me team work and rules. The point is to think of yourself as a financial athlete, striving to be better, more skilled and stronger at your game. Let’s think about our personal finances in terms of sports and athletics. We could learn a lot from an Anna Kournakova or Roger Federer in terms of habits and mental discipline. It takes the same kind of abilities and habits: training, courage, skill, persistence and strength. The good news is that we can all improve in these areas with practice and effort. Elite athletes are genetically blessed in some ways, but they also invest thousands of hours into physical and mental training. Here are several ways to apply these principles to our personal finances:

1. Training

You do not just walk out into the Tennis Court at Wimbledon after years of sitting on a couch. You don’t enter a Karate competition without training. You can’t ride the Tour de France without doping on performance supplements (just kidding, wanted to see if you were paying attention). You get the point, then why do we expect any different from our finances. We expect to be champions someday without any effort or training. The chances of that are almost zero. And even if someone gets “lucky” and inherits or wins a bunch of money, they probably would not know what to do. They never trained, Studied or acquired new skills.

Train yourself to be good at managing money. This is done by acquiring knowledge about best practices and then putting them into place.

2. Courage

It takes courage to work on building wealth. You will have to build resilience to constant media and peer pressure to spend on things you do not need. Be careful who you associate with. Are they helping to support your best interests? It will take courage to make a case for you and your family’s future. To negotiate for that pay raise or other quality of life benefit. Only you will be able to adaquately negotiate for your self.

It takes courage to get rich. You will have to learn to control your impulses and make decisions that are sometimes not in line with the “herd”.

 

3. Skill

To play any sport takes a kind of mental and physical conditioning to develop the skill sets required. Same for personal finances. No one will educate you unless you are really lucky. You will have to seek out your own education. This can be tricky too because there are lots of “con men” in the world who may create some kind of “educational” opportunity or fake university only to take tons of your money. Stick with the classics and use the free library.

4. Persistence

In order to build wealth you must be persistent. Just like an athlete must consistently train, you must consistently take action to build wealth. An athlete cannot simply train once a year, they must train week  after week with appropriate amounts of rest in between.

Wealth is built with persistence over time just like athletes are built over years of training and effort. You will have to take thousands of wealth building steps over many years to succeed.

 

5. Strength

You want money because you want options in life. That is why we are building portfolios of assets, so in the future we are living our life from a position of strength. So as you save, invest and destroy debt think of your strength growing. And you can get this going quickly. Destroy or eliminate debt and get a monthly amount going into assets. In a few years time you will be buff financially speaking and living life from a position of strength. I will also add that saving and investing is like building muscle. Over time you will become stronger and stronger with repetition and pushing yourself farther than you thought possible.

Being a Money Viking is a lot like being an athlete. The good news is that you just need to focus on winning your own Olympics that you define on your own terms. We can all take some cues from great athletes and study their habits and behavior to win our own gold medals.

 

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