Horse owners can use help in better caring for themselves physically and financially. Colorado State University has developed a series of articles and videos grouped into the “Small Steps to Health and Wealth” program. The videos are designed to summarize 13 strategies in a program to motivate you to change your behavior by simultaneously improving your health and your personal finances.
The compare yourself with recommended benchmarks strategy helps you answer the question “How am I doing?” If you aren’t doing what experts recommend, use this information as motivation to make changes leading toward success.
One thing you can do is to participate in an online Small Steps to Health and Wealth Challenge your points are compared with those of other Challenge participants. This helps you to see how you are doing compared to others. You can also compare yourself to benchmarks developed by health and financial experts.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are one example of health recommendations which tell us the daily calorie level and the ideal amount from each food group to eat every day based on your gender, age, and activity level. It is important to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and calcium rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
Another set of recommendations can be found in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This health benchmark recommends that we be physically active for at least 30 minutes on five or more days each week. To get the greatest benefit from physical activity, we should include both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
On the financial side, there are also lots of benchmarks. One is having a “rainy day” fund equal to three months of living expenses in case of a financial emergency.
Another one is having non-mortgage consumer debt no more than 20% of take-home pay.
A third financial benchmark is your credit score. FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850. The higher your credit score, the lower the interest you’ll generally have to pay to borrow money. That’s because lenders view people with high credit scores as less of a risk for default.
Your net worth is a fourth financial benchmark. It is calculated by adding up all your assets (what you own) and subtracting your debts (what you owe). Calculate your net worth annually to measure your financial progress over time.
These are just a few of the many health and financial benchmarks that can be used for comparison. Once you’ve compared yourself with a benchmark, develop an action plan to improve your health and increase your wealth.
Ready to get started on the path to good health and increased wealth? Begin by comparing yourself with recommended benchmarks.
For additional information, visit the Colorado State University Extension Small Steps to Health and Wealth Web site.