A large portion of my medical practice is spent counseling patients on nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. Over 2/3 of the United States Population is overweight or obese, and obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death (after smoking).
Obesity is also a significant risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and cancer. So basically obesity is a huge issue (pardon the pun).
I recently stumbled upon an infographic from obesity.org showing the potential causes of obesity. On one hand, the infographic does a great job demonstrating the complexity of the obesity epidemic. On the other hand, it makes the issue so complex and bewildering that the average individual is likely to throw up their hands in frustration.
Moreover, the infographic highlights many causes outside of the individual’s control, such as whether they were born by C-section and the number of McDonald’s in their city. When it comes right down to it, obesity is an energy balance issue (calories in vs. calories out), and nearly EVERYONE can control that. Focus on what you can control and don’t get bogged down or disenchanted by what you can’t.
In many ways, personal finance is a lot like obesity. In fact, I made a similar infographic showing the factors contributing to an individual’s net worth.
The point of this infographic is to demonstrate that while there are many things OUTSIDE your control when it comes to personal finance, you should spend your time focusing on the things INSIDE your control. You can’t control the direction of the stock market, interest rates, how much money your family had growing up, where you went to elementary school, or the current tax rates. You CAN control your income, savings rate, spending, and tax knowledge. Focus on those and forget about the rest.