Fiscal Fitness – what does it mean?

  • Published
  • By Col. Ken Stefanek
  • 39th Air Base Wing vice commander
We've probably all heard that money can't buy happiness. A recent case where mega-lottery winners ended up on the wrong side of the law appears to verify this saying.
In fact, a quick search reveals many similar stories. Two of my favorites include the 1997 story where the winner of a $31 million Texas lottery killed himself after spending the money on cars, real estate, jewelry, etc. and the 1998 story where the winner of the $16 million Pennsylvania Lottery died penniless after living on social security and surviving a murder attempt (his brother tried to kill him for the inheritance).

Given this information, we may ask what it means to be "fiscally fit." Rather than focusing on financial metrics, I would suggest that fiscal fitness actually gets at how money contributes to our quality of life. As shown above, the amount of money we have actually has very little to do with our fiscal fitness.

Instead, I believe that people who are fiscally fit live within their means. Specifically, they aren't always in debt or trying to figure out how to afford more/bigger/better things. In addition, people who are fiscally fit have their financial matters squared away. In other words, they pay bills on time, know where their money is invested, and take advantage of programs designed to improve their financial situation (TSP, IRAs, etc.).

Sadly, money disputes afflict over 50 percent of couples who have marital problems (the percentage is higher for newlyweds). Conversely, people who are fiscally fit understand that money is just another facet of life like the physical, mental and spiritual facets.
Attending to all of these facets will keep us from being like the New Jersey woman who won two lotteries, gambled her money away and ended up poor and living in a trailer. Attending to these facets will ensure that we are fully fit and able to defend freedom's future.