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3 reasons financial fitness is just as important as physical fitness

We are inundated with reminders about our physical health. But, our financial health is of utmost importance, too

Remember the academy days? Countless miles run. More pushups than any human should ever have to endure. Oh … and the burpees. Dear Lord, the burpees.

If we’re honest with ourselves, though, those were likely the fittest we’d ever been in our lives. For those of us longer in the tooth than our younger counterparts, it may have been a minute since we last ran and we may have issues simply pushing up off the couch.

We are inundated with reminders about how healthy we should be in this job. But, our physical health is not the only aspect of a healthy life we need to be concentrating on. Our financial health is of utmost importance, too. Here are a few concepts to remember as you move down the law enforcement road.

1. Being financially fit keeps your head in the game
If you’ve ever called for Code 3 cover, you know how slow time moves. You’re also hyper aware of your desire for your cover to be 100 percent focused on pulling your ass out of the fire.

Back in ’08-'09, I knew a number of cops that were walking away from their houses after the housing market took it in the shorts. They were stressed to the gills and working as much overtime as they could.

The consequence was that they were absolutely fried: Mentally, physically, and emotionally-fried. They were barely able to remember to breath. What kind of backup would I have received if the need arose?

If police officers are able to become more financially fit, they can concentrate on the circumstances they are faced with on the job — and subsequently (and arguably more importantly) off the job. The last thing we want is to have an officer subconsciously distracted by financial trouble when his mind needs to be aware of what is unfolding in front of him.

2. Your budget is simply a gym for your money
Speaking of physical fitness, there’s an easy correlation between the gym and your financial plan. If you’ve ever had a personal trainer, you know their job is to create a plan for you both in and out of the gym. Inside the gym, they work on lifting heavy things for longer. Outside the gym, they should be working on your nutrition.

Money isn’t all that different. In the financial arena, you are training to eliminate debt and increase your savings. The plan that gets you there is your budget. The budget is your trainer, but it doesn’t have to represent a big, mean, scary trainer.

John Maxwell once said, “A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

Maxwell nails the definition of a budget with that quote. Sure, getting used to the program can be a challenge, but so is going to the gym after a long period of inactivity. You’re going to feel it for a few weeks.

No difference here.

Once you cultivate the discipline and create habits to breed success with your budget, the exercise of sitting down and telling your money where to go gets progressively easier.

3. Prevent yourself from becoming corruptible
Are you corruptible? That sounds like a pretty provocative question, I’ll grant you. But a quick Google search or even a brief perusal of this very website will show you any number of cops that are in the media spotlight for piss-poor decision-making skills.

Now, there isn’t much any of us can do to change someone’s morally bankrupt sense of right and wrong. But, you can certainly make it harder for someone to test yours if you have girded your financial well-being with a strong plan for getting out of debt, staying out of debt, and building a savings.

It’s hard to fathom a nefarious, shadowy figure applying pressure to you or attempting to buy you off if that is not a weak spot in your life.

There is such a large (and justifiable) insistence for law enforcement to be physically fit. If we, as police officers, can take a similar approach to our money, I believe we will be more completely fit – in body, in mind, and in soul.

Jason Hoschouer is a law enforcement officer with an agency in the San Francisco Bay area in California. In addition to patrolling the streets as a motor officer, Hoschouer helps fellow LEOs with financial coaching through his company, GPS Financial Coaching. Hoschouer’s column on Police1 covers everything from motors to monies, from britches to budgets. Jason has been blogging under the pseudonym “Motorcop” at since 2008 and was also a columnist for American COP Magazine for several years.

You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

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