Personal finance is like massage therapy

October 23, 2013
Eric Roberge

If that title doesn’t blow your mind, nothing will. But it’s true…

After 4 days of golfing in Myrtle Beach, my body desperately needed to be straightened out… and Stacey Lubas, owner of Well Kneaded Therapeutic Massage was just the person to do that. As I lay on the massage table I started to realize how much massages had in common with personal finance. Yes, that may sound ridiculous, but that’s how my mind works.

Think about it. When you get a massage, the massage therapist works on different areas of your body to help align the muscle fibers. This allows them to function more efficiently for you. The process feels great at times, yet sometimes it hurts (i.e. deep tissue massage).  Once complete though, you walk out of the building feeling more relaxed and in tuned with your body… until next week when life has managed to convert your body back to its pre-massage state. With consistent visits to the massage therapist, though, your muscles will be trained to function more effectively and, over time, you will feel Massage

Just as your muscles need attention, so do your personal finances. There is no magic solution that will align your personal finances with your life. You must commit to a process, and over time, you will groom your finances just like the massage therapist grooms your muscles.

Take a look at your personal finances. You may notice that things are out of alignment. Just like a sore muscle, these areas of your finances may be causing you pain or discomfort. What is the best way to alleviate this pain? You guessed it… get to work on that area! Let’s take a look at a specific example… your savings.

You may often find yourself thinking about your savings, or lack thereof. You know you should be saving more, and you know how to do it, yet it’s not getting done. This is like a muscle that has gone into spasm. You may try to stretch it (i.e. put a one-time deposit of few hundred dollars into your savings account in a particular month), yet there is no lasting effect.  You quickly realize that it felt good momentarily, yet over time the pain is still there.

What if you took your savings issue to get a massage? In this case, you would sit down with your monthly spending and rearrange a few things to provide you with the ability to save that $200 consistently every month.  Now, just like deep tissue massage, this may be painful at first. But think about how great it would be to have $2,400 in your savings account after 12 months. That might be worth some initial discomfort. You may also have to revisit your spending once a month for the first few months until you can begin to align your personal finances with your life (a.k.a. align your spending with your savings goals).

A one-time visit to the massage therapist may feel good, yet that feeling won’t last. It just doesn’t work. Taking a look at your spending to figure out where you can make adjustments to allow for additional savings may work initially, but without revisiting the issue on a consistent basis, you won’t see the results you want. On the other hand, if you show your personal finances a little TLC, you may be surprised at the results.

I’d love to hear your ideas about how to effectively “massage” your personal finances. What has worked for you? Where are you stopped? Leave a comment or send me a private note. I’d love to hear from you.

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