Swim, Bike and Run to Financial Health

Now that 2022 has kicked into gear, and New Year’s resolutions are still top of mind, it’s a great time to think about setting bold, long-term goals and accomplishing them – such as completing an Ironman triathlon* or creating Financial Health for your family.  Wait, what?  Those are big goals and what on earth do these goals have in common?  Also, consider which one is bolder.  The commonality is that each goal requires, goal setting, planning, discipline, accountability, confidence and celebration.

In the spirit of the triathlon, over a 3-part article, I will cover each aspect starting with this Introduction and Goal Setting (“Race Sign-Up”) in Part 1; Planning (“The Swim”) & Discipline (“The Bike Ride”) in Part 2; and Accountability & Confidence (“The Marathon”) and Celebration (“The Finish”) in Part 3.

*For those not familiar with an Ironman triathlon it is an event consisting of a 2.4-mile swim; followed by a 112-mile bike ride; and finishing with a 26.2-mile/marathon run (yes, all on the same day as the event needs to be completed within 17 hours to officially count)

Let’s get started!

“Race Sign-Up”: Goal Setting

We shouldn’t underestimate the step of setting the goal – it is easy to think of “goals” but much harder to set them with the true intention to accomplish them, especially the bolder/bigger they are.  Define what would constitute successfully achieving your goal – The What.  

An Ironman:  Is the goal to complete the event? An overall time-specific goal?  Placing within top 25% of your age group?  Swim, bike, run individual time goals? 

Financial Health:  A certain amount of Net Worth ($1M, $3M, $10M)?  Financial Independence?   Retire early?  What do those even mean?  Or is it peace of mind that you are executing a realistic comprehensive plan to retire comfortably, to plan for your children’s college education, to protect your family in case of an unforeseen event?

Compartmentalize / Stretch Targets:

You should allow some room for flexibility but not so much so that you completely water down the goal.  Examples:

  • Completing an Ironman may be the primary goal, no compromise (if you don’t finish, goal failed – that may sound harsh but bold goals aren’t supposed to be easy).  However, you may have sub-goals such as time targets, placing in age group, personal best race, etc.  
    • Perhaps due to race conditions (unexpected hot & humid weather – I can attest to that impact) or that you didn’t feel your best that day, led you to finish the event but not achieve the sub-goals. 
    • There may be some disappointment regarding the sub-goals not being met, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the accomplishment of the primary goal and celebrate that success.
  • Early Retirement may be your primary goal, but you may set sub goals like reaching a specified savings amount in your children’s 529 plans by a certain age.
    • Perhaps market conditions or needing to replenish your emergency fund (due to a need for a new roof or water heater) may have you falling short of that sub-goal.
    • Does that mean that your overall Financial Health is in jeopardy? That you will not be able to retire early?  Probably not as you likely have contingencies in place to help pay for your children’s education while meeting your primary goal.

Setting stretch targets is healthy . . . beating yourself up for not reaching all of them is not. 

So, what goals are you going to set for 2022 and beyond?  You certainly don’t need to be as bold (or perhaps over-the-top might be a more appropriate term) as completing an Ironman.  However, I would challenge you to consider something that will be life changing in a positive way – whether for you, your family, or your community.

The next step is Planning (“The Swim”) in Part 2 . . .  Here is a preview:

“The Swim”:  Planning

So, the goal is set.  Now, it is time to establish your path to accomplishing it – The How.

This may be the hardest part . . . Formulating a plan that you have confidence will, if followed, provide the path to achieving your goal(s).   

Click here to read Part 2

About the Author:  Pierre Sorée is a Financial Advisor at Marietta Wealth and completed the Chattanooga Ironman Triathlon in 2019.  For more information, click here:  Pierre’s Info