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January 2019 - Gym Memberships - Understand Your Financial Commitment

People Running in Gym Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Do they involve getting in better shape? If so, you’re not alone.

January is a popular month for gym enrollment and gyms are a great resource to help you keep your resolution. Understand, though, that you’re signing a legal contract and waivers. Know your risks.

Gym membership is a financial commitment. Reduced monthly rates are incentive to join but don’t represent the real cost of enrollment. Usage patterns show 67% of gym members never use their memberships; others use their membership sparingly. So, on a per visit basis your membership costs could be quite high. This can be especially true for “lifetime memberships.” While it may seem like a good idea, you have to ask yourself whether you want to be tied to the same gym for the rest of your life – circumstances may require you to move out of the area or gym conditions can change over time.

Be aware your membership may include additional charges, such as:

  • initiation / sign-up fees , which can range from $100 up depending on location and type of facility;
  • surplus charges for services or amenities not covered under general membership;
  • termination / early cancellation fees;
  • freeze / suspension fees, which allow you to keep your membership at a reduced rate if work, personal obligations, or an injury temporarily prevent you from exercising.

It’s to your benefit to have a good understanding of all fees associated with the membership before signing a contract. While you tour the facility, ask upfront about what will and will not be included in your membership. Feel free to ask about month-to-month memberships; get answers in writing as to what the bottom line fee will be each month. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Salespeople often work on commission and may have flexibility with the fees. Shop around; compare facilities and prices.

Most importantly - Read the Contract. Make sure you understand the cancellation fees and terms and that all promises made to you are written into the contract.

Here’s to a safe, healthy New Year and happy exercising!

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