A Richer Understanding: Physical and Fiscal Fitness

Brian Tramuel helms this series. He lives with his wife Michelle, their children Geneva and Brian, and their Cocker Spaniel Maestro in Charlotte, NC. They, along with his two older children from a previous marriage, Davina and Aaron, provide a constant source of inspiration. Aaron lives, works and plays in Charlotte and Davina lives, works and plays in Roanoke, VA.

A Richer UnderstandingRetirementSavvy is the inter connectivity of physical and fiscal fitness.

Last week my wife asked me to make final payment on the children’s summer camp tuition. I groaned and mumbled for a bit wondering if it would be easier [read: less expensive] to send them to day camp.

I started adding up the cost associated with preparing them for a week at camp; clothing, activity gear, and toiletries. Additionally, the camp is 90 miles away from Charlotte and gas is expensive … and it is a four-way trip; forth and back, forth and back again.

My attitude began to change once we arrived for the drop off; the camp, the cabins and the grounds appeared to be worthy. I love capturing time with images and encouraged the kids to take lots of pictures, however they were not allowed to have electronic or media devices. On Tuesday I went in to view the online images and became completely enamored with the idea of investing in an active summer.

Lake - Camp HarrisonWhen we speak of the differences of our childhood vs. today’s youth the major contrast is their attachment to media: television, cell phones, computers, video games, e-mail and text messaging. Perhaps dietary changes are understood, however, we rarely discuss it without judging the stability of today’s family unit.

Times have changed, the dinner hour has changed and partially moved from our tables to restaurants to drive-through. This coupled with children having access to media in their bedrooms aids in the inadvertent consequence of spending too much time inside, leading to a rise in overweight children and other adolescent health concerns.

“I can’t stop eating. I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Fat Bastard

I can relate. I struggled with weight stressing about money, the reverse is also true, I struggled with money stressing about my weight.

“Health is the vital principle of bliss, and exercise, of health.”

James Thomson

I can relate. I dropped one hundred pounds after making the connection, and very soon after I began enjoying a better quality of life.

At times it can be difficult to reconcile wants vs. needs, perhaps vice versa, creating times when we don’t stick to our spending plan. Sometimes we overspend and others we over save, as I tried to do for summer camp. Citing a quote from a fictional movie character and following it with a quote from a famous poet as comparison is odd at best, however, the energy needed to move into a better place and become fit [read: physically and fiscally] requires obedience, dedication and patience.

Obey. Love. Serve. Excel.

I Am

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I went to a summer camp once. I fought it tooth and nail(I’m not very outgoing). Then I met a new best friend there and we had a ton of fun most of which involved ignoring the camps activity schedule. At the time my family had recently moved, I was new to the area, I think my parents were trying to get me out and make new friends. I have good memories of that summer. That friend I met moved to Georgia right after camp ended, I was back to square one. during that time I watched myself unhappily gain weight when I used to be a twig. Now I realize it was from drinking soda, eating junk food and staying inside. Some of that damage, because it was before puberty, I guess is permanent. Every time I see a big kid eating Cheetos I just want to take it away and explain how bad it is, but they’re not my kids. I don’t think parents are teaching their children how bad soda and snacks like that are. I know mine didn’t. Today there is $0 budget funds for any junk food or soda. Today I realize that’s well often over 50% of a grocery store and my wallet is happier for it.

    • Thanks for sharing, Kyle. “Every time I see a big kid eating Cheetos I just want to take it away and explain how bad it is, but they’re not my kids.” I know exactly what you mean. My job takes me to Europe on occasion and while you certainly encounter overweight individuals, that is typically not the norm. We (Americans) have a serious issue with our physical fitness/eating habits that becomes more evident when you travel outside of our borders. As I have alluded to in previous posts – and as Brian does so well in this one – there is a definitive connection between fiscal and physical fitness, and unfortunately, too many Americans are selling themselves short on both fronts.

    • As Taz and Kay mention above, we (adults/parents) set the foundation for future generations. You make a great connection between physical and fiscal fitness here. Making better choices effects your bottom and your bottom line.

  2. In my household it’s a rule that all electronic devices are turned off and put away during dinner and at several other times during the day. It’s refreshing to see a few of my friends implementing this concept in their homes as well.
    We often think of the present young generation as too attached to their devices, however, who’d they learn it from? Who do they see (by their actions) approving and promoting this constant attachment? The answer is, the generation before them.
    If we, the responsible adults, don’t blaze a trail toward truly connecting to one another, we shouldn’t complain if that trail is never blazed at all.

    • Great point. The most significant connections should be to the people in our lives.

    • Amen!

    • Novel idea Taz, we recently started leaving our devices in the car when we are out to eat. It has been a good starting point for us.

  3. We wonder why our kids are so screen addicted, without realizing that we’re role modeling it for them. I love that the summer camp was free from electronic distractions. I wish I could go! 🙂

    • Now there is an idea … an adult summer camp. I could certainly use a break from the 9 to 5! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, Kay.

    • Ha! We did inquire about that Kay. The camp is open year round for families to detach and enjoy as well as team building for companies large and small.

  4. I am glad I do not have any kids. It seems like a lot of work, and expense. 24 renters is way easier…

    • No doubt renters are easier and probably less expensive … but also far less rewarding! Kids (and grandkids) are true treasures!

  5. I never got to go to summer camp growing up, but I did get to explore the outdoors with my Grandpa and Dad on many occasions growing up. My Grandpa collected driftwood that he would carve and my Dad was a fisherman. I grew up loving the outdoors. Yes, it’s completely worth it to make sure your kids can connect with the outdoors so they understand what a beautiful world we live in. But I would challenge you to be one that shows them as well! Fight for that special time with them!

    • No doubt Steve it is equally important to be financially responsible as well as responsible for their emotional well being, finding adequate time to focus on them. We have a family trip scheduled in August at a campground in Fort Mitchell.

  6. How nice to find a place for the kids that does not allow electronic devices. The memories of summer camp are reward enough for the money spent. I cannot think of very many times when an elderly person has told me a story involving a video or a phone call. The human experience is what we need and remember. Nice article Brian it takes me back to some memorable times. Thanks!

    • Thank you Brad. The kids had a wonderful time, memories will certainly last them a lifetime as did summer camp for me. Sharing memories of camp opened up conversations for me with family and co-workers about their experience(s) and for all it was well worth it.

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