By Lina Stoyanova

 

Everyone knows in order to be healthy there must be balance but what does that mean exactly? When people talk about health and wellness, they typically refer to exercise and nutrition, maybe even relationships, but what normally gets ignored is financial health. Every year, two of the most popular goals people try to achieve are to shed some extra pounds and save more money.

The most important part of a journey to becoming holistically healthy and balanced is to find the right person who can help you along the way. Just like a trainer can design a plan to help you reach your fitness goals, a financial advisor can help you assess your situation and build a financial plan that works for you. Jenny Minello of Sun Life Financial is just that person. She can create an entire plan that is unique to you, flexible, and most of all, she can be your accountability partner to make sure you stay on track towards the goals you set out to achieve. I sat down with Jenny, so she can help our readers get an overview of how she can help them get financially and physically fit.

How Do You Balance Finances And Health?

“Being fit from a health standpoint is just as important as being fit financially. It all takes effort and time to achieve. The balance of it all comes from the effort you put into your finances. The effort you would put into being mentally and physically fit should be just as important as being financially fit. Talk to someone so they can help you establish a plan that’s well rounded and that has your goals in mind. Being financially fit is going to give you freedom in a lot of other areas in your life.”

“The important thing to note is that you need to start somewhere, and I believe that when you are overwhelmed, whether with fitness or finances, you have to break it down into steps. People can get daunted by the condition of their finances and won’t work on them; they’ll stay in the same spot spinning their wheels. I can work with people to help them achieve their goals and put strategies in place that eliminate the stress; I keep them focused. Nine out of ten times people don’t have the discipline to do it without help. When you have so much debt you want to have someone by your side help you, so it doesn’t keep building up.”

What Are Your Tips For Keeping Your Finances In Order?

“Budget. At the very least, do a budget. For 30-days track every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out. That will give you an opportunity to look at what you are spending money on and what’s a necessity. Most of us don’t realize how frivolous we may be until it’s in black and white in front of us. If you buy a $5 Starbucks coffee every day, it may be an area that can be trimmed back in order to save more… $5 a day, every day adds up at the end of the month.  Don’t spend beyond your means!  Use your credit card only when you can pay it back in full. Most credit card companies charge a minimal interest rate of 20 percent and that doesn’t help anyone!”

If You Are Overwhelmed Financially, What Are Some Things You Can Do?

“First, if it makes sense, consolidate your debt into something more manageable and at a lower interest rate. Try to pay off debt with the highest interest rate first. Really look at what you spend your money on and be objective. Is there something you can do without? Something as simple as eliminating a landline if you only use a cell phone…that can help. It may seem small, but it adds up. There are always things you can do to reduce everyday expenses.”

When It Comes To Fitness, Where Should Someone Begin?

“I didn’t think working with a trainer would have such a positive impact for me as it has over the last three years. Although I have my personal training certification, it allows me the opportunity to not think about it. I communicate my fitness goals to my trainer, whatever those goals may be, and he (Ben Graham Fitness Solutions) creates a program specific for me. This gives me a greater chance of achieving those goals realistically. To get started, see a professional. Hire a trainer or at least go speak to one.”

What Are Your Tips for Eating Healthier?

“Some of the obvious ones are drink lots of water, avoid sugar, get your carbohydrates from vegetables, and get good sources of protein. What some people leave out or avoid are fats!  You need healthy fats!  Fish, olive oil, avocado… there are many! Using ginger or lemongrass, even some hot spices when sautéing vegetables can help keep them from getting boring… it’s all about flavour! I eat a lot of salads, but I keep them interesting. I use different types of lettuce, brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, olives, nuts/seeds, keeping with flavour.  Finally, try to avoid going out to eat and if it’s a must, there are lots of healthy options.”

What Are Your Health And Fitness Tips For People On The Go?

“If people are struggling to eat healthy, meal prepping is one of the best ways to have something always available to you when you get hungry. When nothing is prepared, you’re more likely to reach for something that isn’t necessarily good for you. Have fresh veggies cut up, cooked chicken and boiled eggs all ready to grab when you are in a hurry. When it comes to exercise, most people get an hour lunch. Take 30 minutes of your lunch to get physical activity in. Go for a walk, stretch or take on some exercises that you can do at your desk or in the workplace. There are many great things that you can do to incorporate with food and fitness. Exercise, or any physical activity, will help eliminate stress.  Everyone has a certain level of stress in their life. Take moments to take deep breaths.  Deep breathing, as well as any physical activity, can help eliminate stress.  There are so many mental and physical benefits to having those methods of release in place and a reminder: good sleep is also extremely important.”

To see how Jenny can help you restore balance and create financial freedom, contact her today by emailing Jenny.Minello@sunlife.com.