What March Madness Can Teach Us About Your Financial Plan
Who's the "Cinderella" team you have busting brackets in this year's March Madness?
Everyone loves a good underdog story, but the history of the Big Dance tells us that the clock strikes midnight more often than not. There are more than 350 schools in Division 1 men's basketball. But 60 of the 84 National Championship games played since 1939 have been won by only 15 teams, headed by perennial powerhouses UCLA (11 titles), Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), and Duke (5). A hot streak might propel a surprise school through an extra round or two of the tournament. But much like a solid financial plan, schools that have consistently built their programs for the long run tend to get the best results.
Here are three more traits of successful teams that can make your financial program a consistent winner.
1. Good coaching.
In the middle of the "madness" are young men trying to make the best decisions on a huge stage under unimaginable pressure. The teams that come out on top usually have a coach who can cut through the noise, bring out the best in his players, and keep everyone focused on the big goal. For UCLA, that was the legendary John Wooden, who won more titles as a coach (10) than any other coach – or team!
For your family, we'd like you to think of us as your "financial coach." You can rely on our expertise and experience to guide you through everything from market volatility to major life transitions. And we can use our Life-Centered Planning and Retirement Coaching tools to reevaluate your financial goals and keep you progressing towards them.
2. Balanced players.
While all-time great players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan have all left their marks on the NCAA Tournament, no one wins the championship by himself. The best teams have players who complement each other, fill in each other's weaknesses, and give their coach flexibility to adjust to different challenges through every stage of the tournament.
We help folks achieve a similar balance in their financial plans. A diversified portfolio can provide options and some stability when the markets are unsettled. You'll also have more levers to pull if you need to make a major adjustment to your financial plan, such as buying a new home, paying for college, or making an unexpected early transition into retirement.
3. Strong defense.
Does defense really win championships?
According to a 2018 study by the NCAA, a team's offensive efficiency is actually more important to its success in March.
But in 2021, the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective found that the most successful teams also tend to have smaller gaps between their offensive efficiency and their defensive efficiency. In other words, the best teams don't just outscore their opponents, they also have the ability to protect their leads and lock down games when it matters the most.
You can think of earning and investing your money as the offensive part of your financial game plan. Protecting your wealth is the defensive part. In addition to balanced saving and investing strategies, it's common in our planning process to create "emergency buckets" that can cover 6-12 months of your expenses in a pinch. We also tie insurance and estate planning into your Life-Centered Financial Plan so that you, your loved ones, and your money are as protected as they can be from life's ups and downs.
Sports contain many valuable life lessons, but your financial planning is more important than any game. And we’re confident that our planning process can help you achieve something bigger than any trophy: a secure financial future.