It’s been a deep dark fantasy of mine to play on a soccer team. I imagine myself in cute soccer shorts, hair pulled back into a ponytail, blocking, passing the ball back and forth to my teammates, even making the winning goal, while my hot boyfriend cheers me on from the sidelines.
Sadly, I know that this day will never come because, while I might be the girl with the best soccer outfit and sharpest cleats, I have no eye-hand coordination. (Still working on the hot boyfriend too!) As a result, I tend to gravitate towards yoga, running and gym stuff—all solitary, lonely sports that I can do if I’m ever stranded on a desert island and need to tone up.
Back in junior high school, we had to take a physical education class three times a week where we learned how to play sports. When it came time to pick teams, I was always the last girl picked, and for good reason.
When we played basketball, the only rule I really nailed was the rule against “traveling” since my strongest impulse once the ball bounced in my direction was to pick up the ball and run with it.
In volleyball, the mean girls on my team would call me names and push me, again for good reason. Anytime the ball came near me, I would either duck or smack it away.
Softball was especially frustrating since I thought it was a boring sport to begin with. And then to try to swing my bat into a little ball floating through the air…Let’s just say the only times I’ve been to first base was on a date!
Luckily by the time I got to college, we were in the midst of the step aerobics craze. How easy and fun was it to put on a purple high-cut leotard and leg warmers and jam to Duran Duran?? I got so good at it; I could stack two or three steps on top of each other and even memorized the routines.
Step aerobics lead to dance aerobics, which lead to abs class which lead to fencing which lead to Pilates then yoga. What I’m trying to say is, I don’t need volleyball in my life to exercise; there are other ways to stay in shape. (I wish I could say this to the mean girls on my volleyball team, but I don’t feel like making the trek out to jail to visit them.)
Like exercise and staying fit, staying on top of your personal finances is also a crucial part of life. The problem is that some of us feel like we’re not good at budgeting or managing our money, we find it boring to keep up with financial news, or we may simply feel overwhelmed—so we don’t do it.
It’s possible that deciphering an Excel spreadsheet makes you want to jump in front of a Metro bus. Or that the only source of “business” you’re interested in is watching Donald Trump fire people on “The Apprentice.” And maybe reading the short blurbs in the business section of AM New York doesn’t quite justify having a screaming match on the European crisis with your officemate.
Fortunately, there are a variety of resources out there to help us take control of our finances, and there’s something for everyone. Here are some of my favorites.
Check out these informative websites on budgeting and financial literacy:
www.Mint.com (great for budgeting!)
www.Choosetosave.org (great calculators and worksheets)
www.Learnvest.com (user-friendly financial information)
www.MyMoney.gov (combines over ten different websites on financial literacy).
Skimming the headlines of these websites below may help you become familiar with the financial markets, the economy and politics without being too overwhelming.
And pick up a hard cover or go online to check out these helpful, consumer-friendly publications. Slip a magazine in your purse or briefcase so you can pull it out when you’re traveling, on the subway, waiting for an appointment or having coffee.
It’s OK to log off of Facebook for a second to check the market on Yahoo Finance. Maybe alternate “Jersey Shore” with an hour of after-market commentary on CNBC or Bloomberg News. And next time you’re out with the girls, why not compare budgeting tips instead of beauty tips? Find what works for you and do it.
I’ve learned my exercising lesson: I’m not allowed on a basketball court, but I am welcome in a yoga studio. Either way, it gets me off the couch.