Fitbit did not invent the 10,000 steps a day benchmark, that goes back to 1965 and a man named Dr. Yoshiro Hatano but they did do the most to popularise it.
The 10K step challenge gave us all a very simple and accessible way to measure our level of fitness and compare it against the benchmark or others if we preferred. Knowing how we measure up gave us motivation to beat the goals we perceived. You can't manage what you can't measure.
Compare that to personal finance, how do we know and measure our level of financial fitness?
Financial Services companies are filled with highly quantitative people working with complex data everyday. You might think they would be falling over themselves to show us the numbers and their very business is based on hard very quantifiable data.
Yet it’s not even clear how to measure personal financial fitness let alone understand how we are performing. It’s almost tempting to assume that this could be on purpose.
So let's invent a way to measure financial fitness.
Here is a proposal - The $100 a month financial fitness challenge. How do you measure up? This is for a moderately affluent individual in the US — the sort of person likely to buy a Fitbit or more likely an Apple Watch these days (in the same way as 10,000 is too low for an athlete and too high for a sick person). Here is how we got to $100
This is just a rough example. The power of the 10,000 step challenge was not that it was accurate but really a way for people to be more conscious of their daily activity levels and an understanding in very real terms of the power of compound growth.
A little bit of healthy living each day adds up over a lifetime to a potentially significantly longer life with lower illness and infirmity and a better quality of life overall. It made us think about ourselves and health in a new way. It made us goal orientated about hitting our activity targets.
We should be thinking about money in the exact same way. Those hidden costs and unused points really add up. The money left in a checking account earning nothing. Using your bank's low APR savings account because you can’t be bothered to shop around and not investing regularly in a low cost highly diversified fund is losing you a small amount everyday but it's adding up over time and could be costing you a fortune. A fortune you may at some point need. For a moderately affluent professional couple over their working life that’s the cost of sending a kid or 2 to a top-quality school.
The problem here is that it’s very hard to get to this level of transparency from financial services companies — try working out your monthly passive income and costs — it takes a significant amount of work, too much so we don't know what our level of Financial Fitness really is. What you can't measure you can't manage.
At Unifimoney we tell you how much passive income you earned from interest, cashback, and dividends. It’s the first number you see when you open the app, it's a Fitbit for money.
We are now slowly rolling out our beta program. Be one of the first to get access by signing up today.
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