Imperfect Handstand
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What an Imperfect Handstand and Personal Finances Have in Common

February 23, 2016

For the last couple of days, I’ve been trying to master the handstand. Now — for those of you who don’t care or are so advanced and capable that you can scoff at my realization — a handstand is f**king hard to do, so I have been experimenting with easier alternatives and poses. This way, I can get stronger and more confident without breaking my neck. You may be reading this and thinking, “But Ashlee, what does this have to do with personal finance?”

Truly, the answer is: Nothing. However, as an English Lit major, I can find a metaphor anywhere (like how a BA in Literature is a metaphor for unemployment), but I digress.

Like mastering a handstand, personal finance success comes with practice and balance.

Practicing perfect.

It’s corny and cliche, but it’s undeniable: by practicing “perfect” financial decisions, eventually, you’ll make better choices. Whether you’re in debt or not, you will constantly be faced with monetary derailments. However, by practicing good decisions — knowing your net worth, determining your goals, budgeting, saving, investing, reigning in reckless spending — it’ll be easier to make practical, less flashy choices with your money. It’s okay to mess up, though. We’re all constantly practicing perfect.

You may inquire, “How do I do that, though?”

I’m so glad you asked; you can do that through deliberate practice. According Stephen Dubner at New York Times Freakonomics blog, there are three tenets of deliberate (and in my opinion, perfect) practice:

  1. Focus on technique as opposed to outcome.
  2. Set specific goals.
  3. Get good, prompt feedback, and use it.

Put these principles to work, and you’ll start making positive, lasting changes to your financial situation. Deliberate, perfect practice will help you control and manage your money and spending (and also handstands).

Balance is the key to stable, strong finances.

I’m learning that balance is an integral component in success — diet, handstands, and yes, personal finance. As someone who literally falls down often, this wasn’t necessarily always obvious to me. Success, however, requires balance. For example, saving money can become monotonous and frustrating. To offset this, we recommend blow money. This is a form of balance. It maintains the success trajectory because you won’t burn out. When it comes to personal finance and balance, Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar says,

Whenever you read about a new investing technique or frugality tip to try, don’t just blindly jump on board because it saves money. See if it fits with your life – practice the technique itself a bit and see whether it meshes with you. Try some variations. Find what really works with you. When that happens, you’ll have a new technique in your belt and the happy outcome will just follow naturally.

This is essentially balance.

With handstands, balance is key. Obviously, if there’s no balance, there’s no handstand; there may be holes in your wall or breaks in your bones, but without balance, your handstand is a failure (see, metaphor). There has to be balance in your personal finances for there to be continued success. For you, that can mean so many different things, but for us, we find balance through goal setting then budgeting and constantly checking in with one another and ourselves to make sure everything is (still) aligned.

Looking for ways to be successful on your personal finance journey? Remember to practice and find balance. Two easy tricks to mastering any skill.  So, if you want to get your handstand on (literally or metaphorically), then deliberately practice and work on that balance, and your imperfect handstand will get a little bit better everyday.

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