The Link Between Fiscal and Physical Fitness

I noticed an intriguing factoid from a recent MetLife study on trends in employee benefits: 48 percent of workers who participate in a wellness program say they feel in control of their finances. That compares to 26 percent who do not participate in a wellness program. (Fitness stuff keeps showing up on my radar because I'm trying to lose the ten pounds I put on over the winter…4-1/2 down, 5-1/2 to go…)

One might conclude that exercise clears your head and therefore makes it easier to think about things such as where to invest your 401(k) savings. A more likely scenario is that both activities — finances and health — are determined by the person's locus of control. In other words, if you're disciplined enough to take care of your health, you're likely to have the same approach to money. For instance, Suze Orman correctly predicted Danny Cahill would be the winner of "The Biggest Loser" last season by examining the contestants’ financials; Cahill had the highest FICO score. (Cahill conquered his 526-pound bulk and $45,000 in debt.)


Many of the same rules apply to fiscal and physical fitness: Every penny, like every calorie, counts. Tracking your behavior keeps you actively engaged and is a key to success. What comes in (paycheck, food) has to balance out with what goes out (spending, exercise). It’s okay to splurge sometimes if you’re willing to cut back at others. Both domains demand that we control our thoughts, emotions and impulses; you can find a few tips on that here.

Success is often a factor of making part of the process habitual and automated – i.e., a regular work-out regime, a monthly electronic transfer of funds into a savings account or 401(k) plan. And having a good handle on your fitness and your money feels really good – in both cases, you sleep better at night.

Which reminds me – time to walk the dog and burn off a few calories.