Football and Financial Planning

May 03, 2023

The NFL Draft took place last week. Hopefully, the Patriots will improve as a result of the players they selected. One can dream.

There are numerous similarities between achieving success in football and financial planning. There are a number of requirements for success that are common to both. Both football and financial planning require careful planning and proper execution in order to succeed. Bill Belichick always has a game plan prepared for the opponent the Patriots are facing on any given Sunday. That plan is custom designed for that opponent. His players have practiced specific plays designed to neutralize the strengths of the other team and to capitalize on the Patriots’ strengths.

In financial planning, the whole point is to develop a custom plan based on the specific objectives of the individual or family. But, without proper execution of that plan, you end up with a nice paper weight for your coffee table. Also, both football and financial planning require good offense and defense.

Typically, teams that win the Super Bowl have very sound, if not outstanding, offense and defense. It is rare that an unbalanced team wins the Super Bowl. When you think back to the Patriots’ best teams, they all included Tom Brady as the quarterback. But their best teams had either a dominant or exceptionally good defense. In financial planning, the offense is represented by your income, and the defense is your spending. You need to be balanced in order to succeed. You can have a great offense (high income), but if your defense is poor (higher spending) you will not achieve ultimate success – peace of mind, independence, and a comfortable lifestyle in retirement according to your vision. So, you need to manage both your income and spending in order to achieve financial success.

Finally, as Bill Belichick is fond of saying, you need to “Do Your Job”. In football, that means being focused on your responsibilities and letting everyone else focus on theirs. In financial planning, it means staying focused on the things that you can control. For example, you can take on more responsibility at your current job or change jobs to increase your income. You can continue to educate yourself and add new skills to do the same. You can reduce your spending in order to increase your savings or take your bonus and put it directly into your investments rather than spending it. You cannot control what the stock market does or the exact rate of return you will receive on your investments. But you can control how much you save and invest.

And you need to continue to do your job. Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Even if you start strong, you need to be able to maintain that consistency and perseverance throughout your life and be able to adjust to the inevitable and unexpected twists and turns that life will throw your way. It takes effort to stay focused and do your job. But the results are worth the effort. I wish you success with your own financial game plan.