In the past year, many people I know have taken up a new exercise program called CrossFit. When I see someone looking particularly sinuous and sleek I don’t even have to ask anymore – I know their regularly visiting the CrossFit gym. My super-fit friend Molly Fuller, co-founder of Hands On Gourmet, describes the workout like this: “garage gym, no frills, down and dirty, super intense work outs, barbells, dumb bells, pull up bars, barely any equipment, no mirrors…”. When I asked Molly what motivates her to stay with it even if it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable she said, “my passion for getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”
Being a financial advisor, I couldn’t help but think how much this sounded like investing, particularly when Molly told me about one of her primary reasons for starting CrossFit: “I don’t ever want to be that old lady that has trouble getting up from a seated position, hopefully air squats will ensure that I’m not.” This statement reminded me of my women clients who admit to fears about becoming a “bag lady” because they aren’t sure if they are investing appropriately or saving enough for retirement.
Some things in life that seem the most uncomfortable are really very simple.
If you want a fit body and good muscle tone, you need to work out regularly. If you want your money to work for you and grow for your future, you need to save and then invest it appropriately. Both take patience, discipline and a good strategy. In the case of working out, if you push yourself too hard, you’re risking injury or if you take it too easy the waistline won’t budge. With investing, if you’re too conservative inflation will eat up your savings, if you take on too much risk, volatility can cause you to lose sleep at night.
How can you get comfortable with the uncomfortable when it comes to investing? Follow these simple steps:
- Live within your means and save at least 15% of your income.
- Build an emergency fund of 6 months to one year of living expenses depending on the stability of your income sources.
- Invest using an asset allocation strategy in a highly diversified portfolio appropriate to your age, time frames, risk tolerance, and financial goals.
- Rebalance your portfolio periodically to maintain your chosen asset allocation.
- Be disciplined, patient and start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable!