Finance fitness


“I think [financial wellbeing] is a number of things. It’s having the financial security and financial resources for living your best life, giving you the most enjoyment, the most happiness, the best peace of mind.” - Sam Wood 



ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott recently spoke with health and fitness expert Sam Wood – founder of the online program 28 by Sam Wood – on webcast to discuss the parallels between getting on top of your physical wellbeing and getting on top of your finances.


Sam Wood is ANZ’s official Financial Wellbeing Trainer and digitally guides participants through the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Challenge, a six-week intensive finance ‘bootcamp’.


Health & fitness expert, Sam Wood


Shayne Elliott: Sam, you're a health and fitness expert, I'm sure you can give us chapter and verse on why health and fitness - physical wellbeing - is important. But why do you think financial wellbeing is important? What does it actually mean, from your perspective?


Sam Wood: I think it's a number of things. It’s having the financial security and financial resources for living your best life, giving you the most enjoyment, the most happiness, the best peace of mind.


The more I hear you talk and the more I'm involved with the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Challenge, the parallels between getting on top of your wellbeing and getting on top of your bank balance or your finances are undeniable.


We do very similar stuff with my online health and fitness program, with push notifications for accountability and motivation: “you've told us what you want to achieve and now we're going to be here to give you a hug, or a little nudge, or whatever it might be, to ensure if you waiver off what you've told us that you want, we're here to support you and get you back on track”.


Taking stock of where you're at is a really important first step. It's very true in the fitness world, as well. You have to stop; you have to assess where you're currently at to work out where you want to get to. If you're in denial, or things are snowballing a little bit out of control with your health goals, it's good to just pause, reflect on where you're at and then set some goals.



Ready to kick-start your financial goals? Sign up for our free six-week email course and join the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Challenge.


Shayne Elliott: I go to the gym and have done for a long period of time. Like many people, I go through periods where I feel like I don't seem to be making progress. It’s easy to get a bit down about that. How important is the psychology, the goal setting, the not giving up?


Sam Wood: It's really important to continually set goals. The start of the year is one of those times where you tend to set a really ambitious long-term goal, whether it's to save to buy a house, or to lose 30 kilograms, the same rule applies. But when you've only got the long-term goal, it's often really hard to stay focused and stay motivated for the entire amount of time through a whole year.

I'm a huge advocate to encourage people to break that big goal down into smaller, more achievable goals, whether it be in the case of the Financial Wellbeing Challenge over a six-week period or whether it be working in four-week blocks, like I do with my online fitness program.


When you talk about plateauing and losing motivation, I think if you can do it on a monthly basis, or a six-week basis, you're a lot less likely to lose motivation and a lot less likely to plateau. If you just do the same workout day-in, day-out, for months, if not years on end, like so many people do when they join a gym, they get wonderful results for six to eight weeks and then they plateau and they wonder why they don't go anywhere. You do have to change things up. You do have to set new goals.

It's absolutely the same with your finances.


Did you know? Financial behaviours have the greatest influence on overall financial wellbeing. Research shows active savings and not borrowing for everyday expenses are the behaviours that matter the most to people.


Shayne Elliott: You are involved in the ANZ financial wellbeing challenge. What exactly is your role and what are you doing?


Sam Wood: I’m the coach, or the trainer if you like. It’s broken down across six weeks and each week over the six weeks we focus on a different habit or a different behaviour.


Rather than say here’s the six things you want to work on all in one go we’re breaking it down so people can focus on one thing at a time, have a week to try and get into better behaviours, better habits with that particular thing before being overwhelmed and moving on to the next thing.


With fitness, a goal is fantastic but your habits and your behaviours are what actually creates the change. So setting a goal and then leaving it at that won’t get you very far. But if you set a goal and then you actually modify your behaviours and your habits to maybe when you look back on how much weight you’ve lost or how much your fitness has improved or hopefully, in this case, how much more money you’ve got in your bank account by identifying some of those bad habits and setting some good new ones.


Shayne Elliott: Yes. I think the parallels here are very appropriate - everybody starts from a different position.


Sam Wood: Yes, exactly. Whether you’re training for a marathon or it’s your first workout in 10 years, we all have to start somewhere. Whether it’s a 10 per cent improvement or a 200 per cent improvement, it’s amazing how far you can come.


I remember when I first was speaking with ANZ about this and reflecting on my financial habits before I had to grow up and - when I became a Dad -  I so wish someone had given me a bit of a shake back in my twenties rather than in my thirties. I think my bank balance would be a bit healthier if they had!


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