This blog has been updated; Jeff Allen’s title was incorrect in the previous version.
As people live longer, there is an increased focus on wealth and health. Will I outlive my money? Will I enjoy good health later in life? While the future is uncertain, using some tried and true financial concepts to manage your health can really pay big dividends for your overall wellness.
We talked with Jeff Allen, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) with UBS Financial Services, Inc. here in Greenville, SC, to learn how to translate concepts for wealth management into tools for health management. Jeff shared, “In financial matters, as with your health, success really comes down to the right mindset – the many daily, weekly, monthly habits and small decisions that you make. Getting a clear idea of where you are, where you are going and who is going to help you get there is the foundation for building wealth and wellness. I believe our process for financial planning is very similar to how you might approach planning for good health in the future. The goal is progress not perfection.”
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
Whether building a financial plan or a wellness plan, it is critical to start by identifying your personal goals. What do you want to achieve? For wealth, your goals may look like saving for retirement or future college expenses. Perhaps it is reducing debt, taking that dream vacation or leaving a legacy for your family. For health, it may look like achieving a healthy weight, increasing your physical strength or improving your mood day to day. True wellness incorporates body, mind and spirit so consider each of these areas in your goal setting. And whenever possible, make sure your goals are specific and measurable.
Step 2: Gather Your Data
Got goals? Great! But wait, before you start to tackle them, you must have a true and accurate picture of where you are NOW. Be honest with yourself. For wealth, gather bank and investment statements and analyze your results for the past year. Take an audit of insurance policies, loan statements, as well as your current rate of savings. For your health, access your medical portal online or gather paper copies of medical results you have collected over the past few years. The more data you have, the more accurate your snapshot will be.
Step 3: Mobilize Your Team
Don’t travel alone when it comes to your finances or your health. Surround yourself with a team. For wealth, this may include your Financial Advisor, CPA, insurance professional or estate planning attorney. For health, include your doctors, your wellness coach, massage therapist, herbalist, chiropractor or acupuncturist. Create a document with names and contact information so you have all of your advisors’ information in one place. Ask your team for help in reviewing your data, seeking ideas and specifying recommendations to achieve your goals.
Step 4: Develop Your Plan
Once your team is familiar with your goals, they can help you develop a comprehensive plan of action. For your wealth, the output may be a formalized financial plan with specific recommendations for spending, saving and investing. For health, it may be an exercise routine prepared by a trainer or a meal plan prepared by a nutritionist. A written plan that you can read and review often will help you stay on track.
Step 5: Implement Your Plan
Now it’s time to take action! Look for ways to progress towards your goals in small steps. Remember it’s the daily, weekly and monthly habits that make the difference over time. For your wealth, it may mean to prioritize saving, or build an emergency cash fund of 3-6 months of spending needs. Want to reduce debt? Start by creating a budget of your income and expenses.
For health, it may mean making a weekly grocery list that aligns with your meal plan. Want to boost your immune system? Include foods that are high in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamins A, C, E as well as minerals like zinc and selenium. Interested in reducing joint pain and inflammation? Plan to get moving three to five times a week and include anti-inflammatory foods like berries and broccoli as well as inflammation reducing spices like ginger and turmeric.
Step 6: Monitor Your Progress
Change is challenging! Adjusting your mindset and creating new habits takes consistent effort and focus, whether it’s related to your health, your wealth, or anything else in life. To help monitor your health progress, find an accountability partner. Schedule your wellness follow-up appointments. Motivate yourself with little rewards along the way. For your wealth plan, ask advisors to schedule periodic review meetings to discuss and measure your results. Find a rhythm that works for you!
Remember, your health and wealth wellness journey is ongoing, and success looks different for everyone. In addition to the 6 steps suggested above, you might consider:
- Stay inspired: Read books, watch videos and seek out new information – whether you’re looking for financial insight or healthy recipes. If you keep yourself inspired you will enjoy the process and not worry so much about the end result. UBS interviews investors quarterly to better understand what is on the minds of folks when it comes to achieving a successful financial future. To read UBS’s Investor Watch reports, click here. For the latest information on health and wellness, continue checking out our blog.
- Celebrate success: Even the smallest victories deserve celebration! Whether it’s cutting up a credit card or cutting out sugar, every step you take is one step closer to overall wellness!
To learn more about Jeff and his team and how they serve clients, visit their website. If you found this content helpful, check out our latest offering, the Best Years Group (BYG), an online wellness program designed for active older adults who want to live better, not just longer.