What do anorexia nervosa and financial planning have in common?
The answer is found in one of the most dangerous household items known to mankind – otherwise known as the bathroom scales. How many people, and especially teenage girls, have the compulsion to weigh themselves and then, panicking at the numbers that appear, decide to go on a drastic diet?Sometimes, of course, a person may be suffering from a real weight or health problem and they need to go on a diet. However, many times, these diets are unnecessary. Yet people are so obsessed by the ideal of “thin is beautiful” that they will put themselves through the most awful tortures to achieve it, sometimes to a life-threatening extent.
A few months ago, Israel led the world in the war on anorexia and other eating disorders by enacting a law banning models with a BMI of 18.5 or less from the fashion world. The idea is to stop young women from aspiring to be too thin and even endangering their lives in the pursuit of an unhealthy ideal. This idea has been widely applauded throughout the globe and not only in the fashion industry. It is hoped that more countries will jump on the bandwagon, encouraging people to be healthy rather than painfully skinny.
The healthiest diet is the balanced diet
There’s no need to either starve yourself or overindulge. The same idea applies to your financial plan. Sometimes, you might look at the figures (think bathroom scales!) and feel so overwhelmed that you think you need to slim down your expenses drastically. But is that really what you need to do? Conversely, just as you may suddenly get an urge to eat an entire chocolate cake, you may sometimes find yourself spending excessively without any restraint.
In the world of finance, neither approach is ideal. You’re earning money and investing it so that you can live a good life, both now and later on when you retire. If you “starve” yourself, depriving yourself of essentials that you need and are still able to afford, your quality of life will suffer. And if you spend with abandon, you will soon find yourself “overweight” with debt.
What is the best financial diet?
In order to find the best financial “diet,” create an effective financial plan. As they say, “information is power,” and just as you learned about nutrition to fuel your body properly, learn about budgeting and investing to fuel your finances.
Start by reading some informative personal finance articles. Once you mastered the balance between “starving” and “overindulging” your finances, you can look forward to a healthier life and retirement.Doug Goldstein, CFP®