Fitbit did not invent the 10,000 steps a day benchmark, that goes back to 1965 and a man named Dr Yoshiro Hatano but they did the most to popularise it.
It gave us all a very simple and accessible way to measure if we were moderately active.
Compare that to personal finance, how do we measure if we are doing moderately OK?
Financial Services companies you would think given they are filled with highly quantitative people working on spreadsheets all day would be all falling over themselves to show us the numbers and their very business is based on hard very quantifiable data. Yet it’s not even clear how to measure personal financial fitness.
It’s almost tempting to assume that this could be on purpose.
So let’s invent a way to measure financial fitness. Here is a proposal
The $100 a month financial fitness challenge
How do you measure up?
This is for a moderately affluent individual in the US — the sort of person likely to buy a Fitbit or more likely an Apple Watch these days (in the same way as 10,000 is too low for an athlete and too high for a sick person).
Here is how we got to $100
If you want to play with the spreadsheet it’s here.
This is a rough rule of thumb. The power of the 10,000 step challenge was really a way for people to be more conscious of their daily activity levels and an understanding in very real terms of the power of compound growth. A little bit of healthy living each day adds up over a lifetime to a potentially significantly longer life with lower illness and infirmity. It made us think.
We should be thinking about money in the exact same way. Those hidden costs and unused points really add up. The money left in a checking account earning nothing. Using your bank’s low APR savings account because you can’t be bothered to shop around and not investing regularly in a low cost highly diversified fund really adds up. For a moderately affluent professional couple over their working life that’s the cost of sending a kid to a top-quality school.
The problem here is that it’s very hard to get to this level of transparency from financial services companies — try working out your monthly passive income and costs — it takes a significant amount of work.
Here is how unifimoney is trying to help. Yep, it’s that simple — we tell you how much passive income you earned from interest, cashback, and dividends. It’s a Fitbit for money.