Financial fitness facts


If you're trying to lose weight you may be eating less, and moving more, right? Those same principles also apply if you are trying to get your finances in shape, spend less and save more. While it's not always as easy as it sounds, there are some tips for women working on their financial fitness.

Sue Kushner has played piano since she was a child. In fact, at the age of 54, she still takes lessons.

Kushner said, "For the mental well-being that it gives me, it's worth every penny." But Sue is pinching pennies in other places. After decades of marriage — she found herself a divorced mother of two college-aged kids.

"We're not in my mother's era anymore where you quote, rely on a guy for your income — things happen," she said.

Pamela Gilmour, CPA, CFP, CLU, ChFC, CASL, CEO of Financial Fitness in Baltimore, Maryland is a financial planner and a lifelong fitness buff. She uses that passion to educate her clients.

Gilmour said, "I think there's a lot of parallels between getting and staying healthy and getting and staying wealthy."

First, think of saving money as a marathon. Build your savings endurance. "You really need to save between 15 and 20 percent," Gilmour explained.

If your employer offers a retirement plan, choose the maximum contribution. When you get a gift of cash, sock it away.

Pamela's one top tip may be the toughest, put money in savings first thing after payday.

She said, "People are doing it in reverse. They're having their life first and then oh, if there's money left over every month, I'll save it."

Sue Kushner has become an avid do-it-yourselfer refinishing her own hardwood floors, for starters.

"The internet can tell anybody how to do what they want to do. And there's great satisfaction there," she told us.

By saving in home maintenance, Sue continues to put away money every month. "I would say 10 or 12 percent," Kushner said. Practicing that will someday pay off.

Pamela Gilmour says a generation ago when people retired, they would usually only have to live on their retirement savings for about 10 years. These days, people retire and may still have another 30 or 40 years that they will need to financially plan for.