While I was supposed to be relaxing my mind and focusing on my breath, it occurred to me that important principles in yoga also apply to the world of investing and financial planning. The practice of yoga and the building of healthy finances both require balance through developing strength and flexibility.
- In yoga classes I have learned that extending too far is not smart – it will lead to injury. Similarly, with investing, people who extended their risk tolerances too far (holding too great of a percentage of their investments in stock market investments) are feeling pain now. People can also stretch themselves too far as it relates to their spending. Pushing the limit of spending can backfire if your income should be reduced due to a job layoff, for example. As it is important to be in tune with your body during exercise, it is important to be aware of your investing and spending comfort level.
- I have had yoga instructors tell the class that yoga is about our individual experience and that we should not compare ourselves to others in the class. As with yoga, avoiding comparing your financial situation to others may be prudent advice. In the late 90’s, those who compared their more conservative investment returns to those of friends whose portfolios had high concentrations in technology stocks may have felt that they were missing out. Many of these people made a move to more aggressive investments (at the peak of the market) based upon these comparisons.
- Balance is as important in yoga as it is in investing. In yoga, to stay in a balance position, it is good to focus on a point that is not moving. To stay balanced in your financial lives, it is good to focus on your goals and what is important to you in life. Balance in your portfolio (investing in a variety of asset types) often helps to reduce the volatility in your investments.
- I enjoy going to yoga class and learning from a good teacher, and I also like to practice on my own at home. I find that a teacher can instruct me to be in a yoga position correctly and safely (so I get the maximum benefit with the least likelihood of getting hurt). I also find that being in a class pushes me further than I would push myself, thus I improve more quickly. You may enjoy managing your personal finances on your own. Many people benefit from having a professional financial advisor, who can make sure they are addressing all the important issues and support them in reaching their goals.
- One of the most important things to remember in yoga is to breathe. Breathing helps to calm our minds. With calm minds we can make wise choices. When people are afraid they tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Our brains need oxygen to make good decisions.So, remember to breathe in and breathe out fully (then you can open your investment statements). Om.
Guest Writer: Ellen Rogin
Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP® , entrepreneur, author, public speaker and nationally-known expert on living a life of success and prosperity.
Ellen Rogin is a successful business owner who combines her credentialed expertise with an inspired, conscious approach to money. She speaks as easily about the power of compound interest as she does about the power of belief.
Ellen co-authored the book Great with Money: The Women’s Guide to Prosperity. Ellen presents nationwide to corporate audiences, organizations and associations, proposing a new and optimistic viewpoint on achieving excellence, one far greater and more meaningful than merely managing money successfully. She is a trainer to coaches who desire to build their own business and personal success and also creates marketing and training programs for the financial services industry. Ellen is a member of the Board of Directors and is Director of Financial Planning, Strategy and Marketing at Metropolitan Capital Bank in Chicago and serves on the board of the Chicago Finance Exchange.