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Financial Fitness Exercises and Screenings Everyone Should Know

ARA -- Eating right, exercising regularly and getting plenty of rest are probably all on your list of healthful activities. But is checking your credit also on that list? It should be.

Ample research shows that money problems can adversely affect your health by increasing stress levels. Financial difficulties may also make you less likely to seek medical care when you need it. And stress caused by financial woes can undermine the relationships that you rely on for emotional equilibrium.

Just as you know -- and follow - the basics of keeping your body fit; it pays to understand the exercises that can help you achieve better financial health. Consider incorporating these exercises into your fiscal workout routine:

Step up your savings

Having a cash cushion against emergencies and hard times is a key element to financial fitness. Not only can it help ensure an unexpected expense doesn't derail you financially, a savings cushion can provide you with peace of mind.

Step up your savings. If you're saving nothing right now, it's high time to start. If you're already saving, look for ways to increase that amount, even if it's just by 5 percent a month. Giving up just one mocha latte or lunch out a week and putting that money into savings can help.

Do credit crunches

Your credit history is a key component of your overall financial health and is at least as important as your income, savings and investments. Good credit can help you achieve your financial goals. Just as you rely on medical screenings to help monitor your physical health, checking your credit is an important screening for your financial health.

Online resources like can help you understand your credit. A membership to can help you stay on the right track to financial fitness by providing information about your credit, helping you learn about what actions affect it, and allowing you to stay on top of it.

Break a sweat budgeting

Sweating for a few minutes to create a budget at the beginning of every month beats sweating at the end of the month because you've run out of money until the next paycheck.

Write down your net income for the month and make a list of must-pay expenses. Budget a portion of your income for each necessity, making sure that your savings account is on that list. If you have money left over after paying for the necessities -- congratulations! One option some experts recommend is to take what's left and split it in half. One half can go toward fun things and the other can be put back into your savings account along with the regular amount you save every month.

Flex your investments

You're never too young to think about your physical well-being, and you're never too young to start investing. Experts agree that the sooner you start putting money into a 401k or an IRA, the more money you'll accumulate toward retirement. And in addition to saving toward the future, you'll be trimming your tax burden by setting money aside in a tax-deferred account.

You can have the investment automatically deducted from your paycheck. Not seeing the money can help you avoid the temptation of spending it. Putting aside just a few hundred dollars a month now can add up to hundreds of thousands in just 15 to 20 years.

Regular credit check-ups and the right money exercises can help you maintain a peak level of financial fitness.

Courtesy of ARAContent

© 2011 ARAContent

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