It is official – football season is here! While you are cheering on your favorite team, here’s five financial lessons to learn from football:
Generally, a team has a week to game plan for their opponent. Fortunately, we don’t have to work under the same constricting timeline. Victorious teams rarely overcome opponents solely on happenstance – they develop a game plan and execute.
Luckily, you don’t need to have your financial game plan completed and implemented in a week. It takes time and patience. Start by making a list of the goals you wish to achieve in the next 12 months, 5 years and beyond.
The next step is to prioritize every goal. How will you achieve these goals? What are the strategies you will implement? Who will hold you accountable for implementation and execution?
Stay Ahead of the Chains
The football announcers on TV provide detailed game statistics from start to finish. One unavoidable statistic is 3rd Down Conversion Percentage, an important indicator of how well a team is playing. The success rate of third-down is often the result of the team positioning themselves in manageable down-and-distance scenarios or “staying ahead of the chains.” A key benefit of staying ahead of the chains is the offense’s ability to utilize its entire playbook. This flexibility for the offense puts them in an advantageous position to be successful on 3rd down.
What does your financial playbook look like? Put yourself in a position to achieve financial success by staying ahead of the chains. Recognize the columniation of small prudent financial decisions through life lead to significant achievement.
During game week, the head coach commonly addresses the media to discuss the upcoming opponent. The coach doesn’t want to tip his hand to the game plan, but he has to fulfill his media obligation; however, little insight is gleaned during these press conferences – sandwiched in between questions from reporters are sports clichés. While sports fans may find the coach’s responses boring, he is successfully avoiding unnecessary distractions.
There are numerous distractions in our lives, which jeopardize us from achieving our financial goals. Successfully focusing your thoughts and energy toward something specific greatly increases the odds of achieving your desired outcome. Find ways to keep your focus and goals on track – hold yourself accountable when you get off track and reward yourself when you meet a goal.
Setbacks occur – sometimes they are beyond our control, and other times they are mistakes; nevertheless, setbacks are bound to occur. Financial planning is a fluid process designed to adjust to the variables in your life. Don’t allow fumbles – or mistakes – go unaddressed, update your financial plan to set a new course of action. How will you respond to fumbles?
Don’t Rely on a Hail Mary
“Three wide receivers out to the right…Flutie flushed…throws it down…CAUGHT BY BOSTON COLLEGE, I DON’T BELIEVE IT! It’s a touchdown! The Eagles win it! (Unbelievable!) I don’t believe it! Phelan is at the bottom of that pile! Here comes the Boston College team! He threw it into the end zone! There was no time left on the clock! The ball went between two defensive backs of Miami! Jack Bicknell is the only person over there on the sidelines; he couldn’t get the headset off fast enough!”
—CBS TV announcer Brent Musburger calling the play
There is a reason we remember fantastic finishes – such as the game between Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes on November 23, 1984 – they rarely happen. Seldom does waiting to the last second result in triumph in your financial plan. Your financial security is far too important to leave it up to a stroke of good fortune.