#FinHealthMatters: brokeGIRLrich

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

By Mel Bondar, brokeGIRLrich

I am the world’s laziest runner. I kind of hate it. Sometimes it’s my legs that hate it. Sometimes it’s my lungs.

Most of the time though, it’s my mind.

My mind really hates running. My mind wants to be at home binge watching Pretty Little Liars and eating chocolate chip cookies.

But running has taught me that my legs, lungs and mind are weak. They all want to give up before they need to. They don’t care how much they’re actually capable of achieving, they just want to be comfortable.

I want to be strong and healthy. I don’t always like the path to get there, but I do love the results. Working all day and still having some energy left over when I get home. Sleeping well at night. Clothes that fit right. These things are worth the running battle that I fight every time I head to the gym.

I am also the world’s laziest budgeter. I kind of hate it. Sometimes it’s my urge to take awesome vacations that hates it. Sometimes it’s my urge to buy everything at ModCloth.

Most of the time though, it’s my mind.

My mind really hates budgeting. My mind wants to buy. all. the. stuff. My mind wants to never pack another lunch and stop doing laundry altogether. Why can’t I just swing by Target everyday and buy a new outfit? This should be possible.

But budgeting has taught me my mind is weak and makes all the bad choices when left on its own. My mind wants to be lazy and do as little work as possible, even though all that work is building character — which used to just be some stupid phrase my grandma would tell me, but in reality is actually pretty important.

My budget-hating mind doesn’t want me to learn how to cook. It doesn’t want me to pay attention to where all the singles, fives and tens are disappearing each month when in reality they could be setting me up for a terrific retirement.

57% of Americans are struggling financially and I don’t really want to be one of them! I want to be financially healthy. A well stocked emergency fund feels as good as running up three flights of stairs without getting winded — even if the build up to being able to do both sucks sometimes. Maxing out my IRA each year means so much less stress overall, even if it means that I have to skip the Target $1 Spot. Let’s be real, how much stuff from the Target $1 Spot can you even find in your house six months later? I know I usually can’t.

Financial health means struggling through all the key personal finance exercises:

  • Spending less than I make.
  • Building an emergency fund.
  • Saving at least 15% of my income.
  • Saving for retirement.
  • Avoiding debt.

None of them are particularly fun, but overall they add up to a pretty health financial lifestyle — and just like with my physical health, once I’m on a generally healthy roll, a cupcake or a few slices of pizza aren’t going to derail me any more than a carefully planned trip or a budget line for the newest ModCloth dress.

And that sounds like a pretty awesomely balanced financial life to me!

This blog post originally appeared June 29, 2016 on brokeGIRLrich. It was one of 10 winners of a national #FinHealthMatters Day essay contest created by Financial Health Network. MetLife Foundation is a major sponsor of Financial Health Network’s ongoing consumer financial health work. To learn more about FinHealthMatters from Financial Health Network, sign up here.

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