I’ve learned a lot in my life and I love that I keep learning. Over the past few years, I’ve realized my learning has often shifted from tactical/functional learning to more often being thought-provoking and even possibly philosophical (scary!) learning.
One thing that has always been clear to me is that setting a goal and working towards it always, always requires detailed determination. There are so many other things you could do, so many other choices you could make—but to meet a goal, you must have enough fortitude to stick to your progress.
I read—and get to talk with people—about savings and setting themselves up for a better life. Often this topics’ foundation is growing net worth. That’s excellent. Other than health, there’s no better way to ease life’s stress than having a financial cushion of some sort. So I love the net worth topic.
However, speaking of health, many people have weight (loss) management goals. Losing weight—and keeping it off—is a major process. I’ve read that only a small fraction of people can achieve their weight loss and maintain the new lower weight for a few years. In the super technical book: The Proof Is In The Plants, Simon Hill found data showing 50% regain their lost weight in 2 years, and 80% regain it in 5 years.
In my experience, losing weight is much harder than growing net worth in at least two ways.
1) you constantly have to eat and make good decisions every time you put something into your mouth, even on “treat” days. This is decision-based actions vs. stopping or going cold turkey on a life change. Therefore, it’s very hard to consistently make good decisions.
2) weight loss is not cumulative. You cannot let weight loss compound all by itself. Those who lost weight and it came back in 2 or 5 years had great success for a significant period of time, but not for the long term. Weight loss does not compound over time as one’s early savings may.
Saving small increments of money over time by adding good behaviors that become good habits (Atomic Habits if you want) will add up. That will give you money, but it also gives you some control for the future.
Retirement (or an emergency fund) is the result of delayed gratification. The entire point of this post (I could have been more concise) is that having money set aside in retirement is the same deferred gratification (of spending) as eating better and having better health/fitness/etc.
There’s a reason The Retirement & IRA show planners tell their clients, “your retirement savings are actually ‘deferred spending.’” They encourage the hard-core savers to SPEND some of that money to live a great life. Jim said that (in general) over 90% of their clients spend below their ability in retirement and have more money leftover than they need/want or planned for. He may have even said “way underspend” in many cases. However, that saving mindset becomes ingrained in our habits over decades. Maybe there’s some “set it and forget it.”
Even Ramit Sethi has correlated weight management is like money management a few times. One of the examples at 39 minutes.
Learning to delay a “reward” of some type for yourself can in many ways make the future better for you. Unless, it’s a pie-cake… [joke about weight management]
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.