When was the last time you exercised, had your furnace worked on, or had your oil changed? Performing regular maintenance, in any part of your life, can be quite annoying at times, but it can really make a difference.
The difference can come in the form of money saved, longevity, and/or decreased stress. That said, let’s look into why maintenance is important.
As a nation, the United States is unhealthy. We put junk food into our bodies and lead a sedentary lifestyle that is causing more problems than gaining weight.
Not only is physical exercise good for your body, with benefits like preventing bone loss, increasing muscle strength, improving coordination and balance, and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, but it also helps your mind.
Just over half of all Americans are meeting the physical aerobic exercise requirement (Source). The requirement is either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Not a lot, right?
Americans spend $3.4 trillion per year on healthcare (Source), and I believe this number could drop dramatically if we all just took better care of ourselves.
Bottom line, regular exercise, and a well-balanced diet can (depending on other genetic risk factors, etc.) can dramatically reduce your long-term healthcare costs.
Regular maintenance of your home has a number of benefits.
- It saves you money because all the mechanical components are running optimally. Efficient use of utilities is less expensive. It also increases the longevity of that equipment.
- Maximizes your home’s value and resale potential
- Peace of mind knowing your home is well-cared for. Stress has negative health effects. Reducing it can improve your health and lower healthcare-related costs.
Keeping your car in optimal running condition will extend its life. It also makes the vehicle more safe to operate because the odds that something breaks while driving is reduced.
A poorly tuned vehicle can use up to 50% more fuel (Source). Spending $50-$100 every three months on an oil change is definitely worth it.
For example, let’s say you fill up once per week at $25. Over a three month period, you’d normally spend $325 on gas. If you’re driving a poorly tuned vehicle, you’ll spend $487.50. Over 1 year, that’s a difference of over $600.
Creating a budget and regularly checking in to make sure that a) you’re sticking with it and b) it’s still appropriate.
Often when people start budgeting, they find themselves with more money to play with. If they have outstanding debt, they can use that extra money to pay it off.
This could free up more cash that can be used for saving, investing, or getting that cable TV back.
Another thing you should do is cut or eliminate expenses that are otherwise unnecessary. The average American spends almost half of their food budget on eating out (Source).
This section will revolve around asset allocation and not about picking stocks and the like, specifically, in ones’ retirement plan.
If you have a retirement plan (you really should) my advice is to allocate your assets according to your risk tolerance, time horizon, and comfort level (from a psychological perspective).
If you have a retirement plan through your employer, I strongly recommend utilizing a target-date fund. This takes the worry and the guesswork out of the equation.
Where was I, oh yeah, asset allocation? Unless we’re in a bear market, your stock allocation will do better than your bond allocation.
Over time, the stock part of your portfolio will take up a larger share of your overall portfolio. It’s wise to regularly (though opinions differ) to rebalance back to your original allocation, otherwise, you risk being more aggressive than you intended.
Whether you’re talking about your home, car, or anything else, regular maintenance can save you a lot of money.
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