My wife and I have recently started going for regular runs. We aren’t training for anything (yet), but we enjoy the fresh air and the activity. We relish the chance to switch up the routine in the evenings and come back home with a runner’s high. And, of course, we both like the idea of burning calories and promoting our long-term health in a way that only running can.
But ultimately we are also running as a way to improve our savings and our finances.
That’s right – running has been shown to correlate with higher degrees of effective money management, especially among hard-core participants of the sport. This is likely a result of qualities that are instilled in runners and then translate favorably into personal finance. Here are a few of the main ones:
- Delayed gratification. People who are able to show restraint and delay their gratification have been shown to be better money-savers in the long term. And no activity teaches delayed gratification quite like running does. Anyone who has ever gasped their way through a mid-winter 45 minute run probably understands that few of the joys of running are realized until after the jaunt is complete.
- Lower stress. Regular exercise contributes to lower stress levels, which in turn breed happier individuals. Moreover, happy people have been proven to make more prudent financial decisions. By running, then, my wife and I can boost both our mental health and our savings account at the same time.
- Plans and promises. Few people can become regular runners without planning ahead, making commitments, and holding long-term goals. They may not want to head outside and embark on a run after a long day at work, but they realize that doing so is in their best long-term interests. Consequently, runners make a promise to themselves that they will remain committed in their training – a promise similar to the one couples make when they are looking to save for retirement.
These are just a few of the main ways that running and saving go hand-in-hand. If you have the traits to be a dedicated runner, you likely also have what it takes to make smart financial decisions.
And if you don’t have those traits, there’s no better way to start nurturing them than by lacing up your shoes and heading out for a run.