What If Your Net Worth Had a Swim Suit Effect?

I spent the first 28 years of my life in Pittsburgh PA. If you don’t know, Pittsburgh spends 7 months a year inside. Why? There’s rarely sunshine! 7 months of overcast, cold weather in the winter.

Even with those cold miserable winters, Pittsburgh does experience a bathing suit season, albeit a brief span. It’s so short most people never talk about it. There’s a person here or there mentioning a pool opening, but that’s the extent of it. As a result, no one thinks about getting in shape for the season. We spend months inside because it’s cold and ugly outside. It’s easy to get out of shape in those conditions. You don’t have to see people very often, and when we do, we’re covered in layers of clothing. It’s easy to hide the extra pounds you’ve packed on over the months.

Swim Suit Season

Now that we live in Florida, where bathing suit season is all year around, it seems people here put slightly more focus on physical conditioning. Yes, it’s a tourist area, but my friends that live here workout more as a whole. As I spend a lot more time shirtless these days, I tend to be slightly more conscious of my physical appearance. I have to compete with 19-year-old college guys running around shirtless, with seemingly oiled up 6 packs for goodness sake. C’mon! I eat 2 slices of pizza and I’m needing the next size up.

Now, am I going to spend 3 hours in the gym every day? Absolutely not. Will I skip the pizza??? Truthfully, probably not…but I will debate it out loud and give it an extra bit of consideration. 

In all seriousness… I will spend extra time thinking about my food choices because I do spend a lot of time in my bathing suit. That’s where it all starts. Breaking that unconscious habit. All you need is something to make you hesitate and think. Even if it’s for a split second, you’ve interrupted the pattern.

The Net Worth Season

Now let’s pretend for a second that you’re at the mall looking for the latest sneakers, or a new dress and matching purse for that work party you have coming up. After hours of trying things on and moving from store to store, you find it! Exactly what you’ve been hunting for. You walk it up to the register ready to swipe that credit card thinking about how great you’re going to look walking into that party in that new dress with the matching purse.

When you get to the register and pull out the card when the cashier says “That’ll be $160 please.”, you suddenly hear people giggling behind you. You turn to see what’s so funny, but it takes  a second to hit that your net worth is displayed above your head in bright flashing numbers!!

You think, as your face turns red, trying to processing how that negative number even makes sense. Is it too late to drop the item and dash? Do you put it back? Do you wish you could hide? After a second or two of what feels like eternity, you swipe the card and get the heck out of there, pronto! You’re just trying to save face.

So let me ask, would that be enough for you to give pause and think about that purchase? I have a slight suspicion it would.

Financial Season

Financial season is like bathing suit season in Florida – all year long. So, would you spend time on your physical appearance if you knew you’d be in a bathing suit in front of your friends 3-4 times a week? Or, would you be willing to have all of your poor disciplines in plain view for everyone to see? What if your fiscal gut hung out every time you pulled that wallet out? What if your net worth was on display every time you went to make a purchase? Would you focus on your financial conditioning a little more?

There’s nothing that will make you more aware of your physical appearance like seeing a picture of yourself in a bathing suit to realize how in or out of shape you are.

That’s why I’m here to urge you to find out your net worth. Your net worth kind of works the same as a picture in your bathing suit. It strips away everything that has helped you hide what type of decisions you’ve been making financially and puts it in a quick snapshot.

Maybe you see your net worth and realize you’re in a little better fiscal shape than you thought. If so, great work!! Congratulations.

Maybe you realize you’ve been hiding that fiscal fat you’ve been packing on, but now you’re aware of it. I’m sure it’ll motivate you to get in better shape regardless of whether your results are better or worse than expected because now you’re aware. Awareness is the first step towards taking action!!

 

Here are a few great tools to help you track your net worth:

Personal Capital

Nerdwallet

Mint

Each take about an hour to step, but once they’re set, it’ll update automatically each time you log in. Now you can see your financial picture stripped down to it’s bathing suit anytime you need that extra kick in the pants to improve.

 

Hi! We're the Boyces

We’re just your average couple, but paid off $147,000 worth of debt in a little over three years! Our goal is to help others live a life that is fun and frugal, by sharing our mistakes and successes.

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