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Running marathons and planning finances are alike! Plan Your Financial Marathon

Dwight Eisenhower said, "Planning is everything, the Plan is nothing”. Whether it is running a marathon, deciding a career, constructing a building or just studying for your exams, Planning is very important.

So, what does planning involve? As Simon Sinek says," Start with the WHY, followed by the HOW and then the WHAT". The first and most important step is to understand WHY you are doing something and what your goal is. Drawing a proper strategy as to HOW you will go about it follows this. Then, the next crucial step is the implementation of the strategy by figuring out WHAT you need to do to achieve your goal.

When I decided to run my 1st Half Marathon in 2011, my idea was to get fit, participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) run and just complete the 21 kms. I was eager to start and hence teamed up with a few of my colleagues, got some ad hoc tips from friends, did some research on the internet, picked up a decent pair of shoes and started our practice at Juhu beach 6 months prior to the Marathon day.

That year I achieved my goal of completing the race of 21 km. I sprinted through the first 10 km and was exhausted by the time I had completed 15 km. I got cramps in my leg by the time I neared 18 km. My focus had been on reaching the finishing line, but not on the process. If I was competing in a sprint my focus could have been speed. But in marathons, the focus should be on endurance and maintaining the pace. While I completed the race, had I focused on the process and taken the help of a professional Fitness Coach with proper training to increase my endurance & stamina, I would have had a much better run.

The next year I decided to participate in the marathon again, but this time with professional coaching. I joined a professional group of runners under a Fitness Coach who followed a holistic approach to training, which was committed to transforming me into my optimum fitness level. This customization and regular review of my performance helped me to push myself to my limit. The focus was not just on running but also on core-strengthening, stretches before and after the run, maintaining a good diet, etc. That year my run of SCMM was the most enjoyable one. Not only did I enjoy the run but felt energetic and maintained a good pace.

Being in the Financial Planning profession for more than a decade now, I started drawing parallels between running a marathon and financial planning. In my constant interaction with clients, I find that most people focus only on returns while investing. They tend to forget that they have to provide for all their financial goals all through their life. Just like a Fitness Coach, my role as a Financial Coach is to help my clients understand their short term and long-term goals, set their expectations right and partner with them in their journey.

So, the 3 Simple Secrets to achieving your goals are -

Start off well -

Identify the goals you wish to achieve and motivate and educate yourself to make informed decisions at every step. All this begins with drawing a reliable written plan /strategy.

Focus on the process and take calculated risks -

It is very important to ensure that the expectations are set right at the start. Break down your goals into short term and long-term targets. Be flexible for any course correction.

Enjoy the journey -

Most of us focus on quick results rather than focusing on making the journey towards our goal enjoyable, affecting not just our wealth but also our health in the bargain. Make the journey to achieving your goals, not just fruitful but a memorable one.

“Financial Winners don’t run sprints, they run marathons. They do it step by step over time.”
-Dave Ramsey

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