Joining a gym and not getting value for the membership fees is a classic personal finance trap. But I’m not sure home workouts are the answer.
I got to thinking about this after reading a thorough comparison of the costs and benefits of both home and gym workouts. The author is a fitness expert who says there are four aspects to creating a fitness habit – fun/enjoyability, connection to others, affordability and convenience. Home workouts are cheap and convenient and they can be fun as well. But they’re missing a social aspect that is really important to building a fitness routine.
I say this as someone who belongs to the YMCA in Ottawa and goes at least three or four times a week. The facilities are fine, and the cost is reasonable at $724.67 a year, including tax. But a big part of the value I get is in hanging out with people at the gym, including a friend named Dave who is a keen investor and has supplied me with several good story ideas.
You could buy a used treadmill for your basement (there are LOTS available on Kijiji), some weights and an exercise ball and still spend less than a year or two of a gym membership. But ask yourself this: Is your goal to save money, or to get and stay fit? If it’s the latter, a gym membership could be a better bet.
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Rob’s personal finance reading list…
Planning your own funeral is a gift to your kids
Gives you a chance to have a say on the ceremony you prefer, if any, and the cost.
Your first apartment
A useful guide to young adults renting their first apartment. An important point raised here is to have an emergency fund to pay expenses if you’re between jobs.
Think you’re covered by your credit card for travel medical insurance?
A look at the policies of several travel reward credit cards on providing travel medical insurance. You often have to book all or part of your trip on the card, but what if you paid for your trip with points?
Stop burning your food when you barbecue
Don’t buy a new barbecue if your food is coming out scorched. Instead, use a loaf of white bread to locate the hot spots on your barbecue. There are also ideas here for using all that grilled bread.
Today’s financial tool
Can’t decide to buy or lease a car? This calculator can help. It’s part of a package of consumer-oriented tools offered on the Government of Canada website.
Q: I am wondering about fees in exchange-traded funds that are a bundle of other ETFs, such as balanced ETFs. Does this usually involve two layers of fees?
A: ETFs that hold other ETFs in their portfolios do not generally charge two layers of fees. The management expense ratio for the headline ETF is the fee you pay, and that should be it. ETF companies should be clearer about this.
Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.
In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance-related stories
- Keep the green in your wallet with these seven budget-friendly electric vehicles
- Can this 62-year-old stay on track for retirement after a salary cut?
- Nervous about the markets? These low-volatility funds are worth considering (for Globe Unlimited subscribers)
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