What can football teach us about personal finance? As it turns out quite a bit. With the Patriots season over sooner than it has been in 10 years – and I know few outside New England are particularly bothered by that – I’ve had a little more time on my hands to muse over the deeper lessons of football. Maybe I just needed something to keep my mind occupied instead of wondering what Tom Brady’s future will be.
Just like a football team has a plan for how to attack the opposing defense, or defend their offense, your own finances need a plan. Whether it’s how much to save, how to invest that savings, or even how best to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your possessions from the unexpected the first crucial step is knowing what you want to accomplish and what you need to do to get there.
Mike Tyson is credited with saying that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. When the Patriots had trouble stopping Titans running back Derrick Henry, their defense made an adjustment at halftime to adjust their positioning on the field. Likewise in our finances, time and life events will get in the way of our best laid plans. That can come in the form of a sudden job loss, a scary stock market drop, or a child who falls in love with an expensive college. Life happens, things come up, and plans need to be adjusted. Whether it’s saving more or revisiting your insurance coverage, most adjustments are best made sooner rather than later to avoid falling any further behind.
Finally, both football and finances are all about teamwork. All it takes is one missed block and your quarterback gets sacked, or one blown coverage and your opponent scores a touchdown. Football is truly a team sport, because every last player on the field needs to be doing their job and working together to accomplish the team’s goal. Likewise it’s necessary to make sure all of the different areas of your finances are helping you move toward your goals. Many people skimp on home or auto insurance to save a few dollars, only to find out the hard way later on their insurance no longer covers everything. Others are so focused on finding the next great stock, they fail to see that their allocation and time frame have much larger impacts on returns. Your finances have many moving pieces, and it’s important to make sure they are all working together to help you pursue your goals.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
The author of this article is Rick Ropelewski, Wealth Manager at U.S. Wealth Management.