Keep it Simple

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I read a funny “tweet” (funny to me, my wife tells me I’m a dork) from @BradPilon a couple of weeks ago “How boring would the Biggest Loser be if I was one of the coaches? Today we’re gonna do something super fun…not eat and go for a walk…”  For those of you who have never seen an episode of the Biggest Loser, essentially what happens is a group of morbidly obese people are put together in a house and are tortured for a few weeks until they get kicked off the show because they aren’t losing weight fast enough (which seems cruel to me) or win a bunch of cash for losing the most weight.

Realistically, rather than killing themselves the people on the show would probably lose about the same amount of weight by watching what they eat.  I realize that it just isn’t compelling television when people aren’t crying or puking or screaming at a personal trainer, but as this video shows you can’t outwork a bad diet.  In addition, I’m thinking that the workouts being done are just not sustainable in the “real world” or the contestants would not be having the weight issues they were having.

When I graduated University 7 years ago, I was about 65 pounds heavier than I am now.  I was super enthusiastic and planned on going to the gym for about 2 hours a day until I got down to the weight I was comfortable at.  About 4 months later, when I hadn’t lifted a weight in 6 weeks, I realized I had to change my plan of attack.  Since then, I have cut down my time exercising to about 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 days a week and make sure I go for a walk once in a while.  I’m 5’11 and weight about 170 lbs, where I have maintained since I initially lost.

I know that if I made my workouts any longer or complex I wouldn’t do them.  In the same way, my finances are super-simple.  If my plans were too elaborate or difficult to stick to, I probably wouldn’t follow the financial plan at all.  I have an end-goal in place (to be financially independent by age 45) and have essentially automated my finances otherwise in order to achieve this goal.

I think, to a certain extent that most people in poor financial shape are just overwhelmed initially by the seemingly daunting task of getting out of debt and into the “black”.  Instead of creating an elaborate budget plan, it may be better to simplify as much as possible – keep 1 goal in mind and work towards that.  In the end, the best plan might be to not “eat” (spend) and go for a walk.

Have you been overwhelmed by your personal finances?  How did you resolve the problem?

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