In English, we call Utkatasana, chair pose, because it looks as if we are sitting back in an imaginary chair. And while we tend to think of sitting down in a chair as taking a load off, sitting back in an imaginary chair is harder than it appears. In Sanskrit, Utkatasana doesn’t actually mean “chair” at all. It stands for “fierce and powerful pose”, and once you try it, you will see why!
How It’s Done
So, let’s look at how chair pose is practiced:
- Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor, joining your palms.
- Exhale and bend your knees, taking your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible.
- Lean your torso slightly forward, so that it forms a right angle with your thighs.
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back, tuck your tailbone, and gaze up towards the hands.
- Begin to breathe deeply and slowly.
Becoming Fierce and Powerful
Standing in chair pose requires us to rely on our own strength to build a solid foundation, and creating a solid financial foundation also requires putting some key building blocks in place. With practice and the proper tools, you will be that much closer to becoming fierce and powerful!
Building a Solid Financial Foundation
Part of building a solid financial foundation is having the proper bank and investment accounts set up, and in place. These accounts have different purposes for different financial goals. Let’s look at these four below:
- Checking Account
- Savings Account
- Investment Account
- Retirement Account
The Revolving Door Account (Checking Account)
I often tell my clients that their checking account is like a revolving door. This is where money comes in and then goes out. It’s a bank account that gives you easy access to your funds. Most likely, it’s the account you will use to pay your bills and perform most of your every day financial transactions. Money that comes into this account, usually doesn’t stay here for long. So, what do we do if we want the money to stick around?
The Rainy Day Account (Savings Account)
A great habit to get into is to, “Pay yourself first!”. I often find that with many people, if we don’t do this, we won’t have any money left over to save. When you get paid, or money comes in, try sending a set amount, or a fixed percentage straight to your savings account. This will help you to build your second line of defense: your emergency savings fund. A savings account can be opened at a bank or other financial institution, and it will often pay interest. Savings accounts are generally opened to save money that is not intended for everyday expenses, while still being easily accessible. As a general rule of thumb, this is the account where you will want to save up anywhere from three to twelve months of expenses (depending on your risk tolerance and personal preference) in case of an emergency like losing a job, or for a “bigger than usual” purchase, like a summer vacation. When your savings account dips below your comfort level, it’s time to rebuild it again by paying yourself first!
All Set for the Rain…What’s Next? (Investment Account)
So, what if you have your savings account funded at a level you feel comfortable with? What’s the next step in building that solid financial foundation? You may consider opening an investment account. An investment account can also be opened at a bank or financial institution. The general purpose for opening this type of account is to set money aside for longer term financial planning goals, typically a few years away. Examples include newlyweds saving up for a down payment on a home, or parents saving money for their children’s first car or wedding. Usually, an objective is set, like long term growth or current income. Money placed in an investment account may be invested in the money market, bonds, and/or stocks and mutual funds.
Down the Road (Retirement Account)
Sometimes retirement seems so far away that we forget that the best time to start saving for our golden years is right now, which leads us to: setting up a retirement account. The general idea behind a retirement account is that you save money for one day far down the road. It has the potential to grow tax-deferred (postponed), and you may eventually draw income from here to pay your expenses when you retire. Sounds pretty simple right? However, there’s a whole lot of choices when it comes to retirement account options, including a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA and 401(k), just to name a few. They each have different features designed to work best in certain situations. It’s best to speak to a financial advisor to find out which type of account is most suitable for your situation, and how to properly invest it based on your goals.
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog, where I will be discussing the details of different types of retirement accounts.
Happy savings oh fierce and powerful ones!
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