Going through a weight loss journey, gives you a certain perspective in life. This is more so when you have been obese for most of your life. Perhaps, this is why the most surprising thing for me to learn on reaching this milestone was that the journey doesn’t end.
What does my journey, however, have to do with investing? Believe me, even I was surprised when I noticed uncanny similarities between becoming fit and becoming financially fit.
This stuff is not easy!
Becoming fit enough to deadlift a hundred kilos or more is far from easy. Having savings that you can count upon in an emergency, or in retirement, is similarly not as simple.
Most of us don’t earn enviable pay cheques that put us instantly in the coveted one per cent. When you are saving away a small sum every month in a liquid fund, the journey to saving an amount equal to six months of your expenses might seem much more difficult than we would want to accept.
I could barely lift even 20 kilos when I started. At my peak I crossed more than 110 Kgs, in about 6 months. By professional or even enthusiast standards it might not be much but from where I began, I could scarcely believe the progress.
Similarly, my emergency fund started with me investing Rs 5000 each month. Reaching my target of Rs 3 Lakhs (six months expenses at that time), took a similarly painful and slow path punctuated by occasional bursts (thanks to salary hikes). In two years I had achieved my target.
The lesson was hard learnt. It’s difficult and a lot of times you will wish you never started, but it can be done.
You can always go a step further
When you see yourself improving with each workout, you tend to aim higher. Pretty soon you are doing things you thought were impossible. When it came to savings, each month’s saving became a new and bigger goal.
Being more of a hands-on investor I tried to invest more each month. It became a fun competition with myself.
Don’t forget the invisible but important things
In fat loss journeys, individuals tend to focus far too much on the workouts rather than nutrition. My previous unsuccessful attempts had taught me that if your nutrition is bad, you aren’t going to get results.
Frugality is an aspect of being rich which seems counterintuitive. No matter what your investing approach is, if you spend more than is advisable considering your income, being financially fit will always be impossible. Investing is not magic. It won’t grow your money if the rate at which you spend your money exceeds your income growth and savings rate.
The nice pay cheque won’t always be so nice, and uncertainty is part and parcel of life. It’s a lesson I learnt the hard way and only by being frugal, could I have the luxury of a choice.
Take it a step at a time
Consistency and keeping at it helped me achieve what I thought was impossible, financially and physically. If you are facing a tough time and wondering how you are ever going to reach your financial goals given the necessary expenses that you face, remember, just do a little bit regularly and in no time you will have your own journey to smile about.