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The baseball season and a financial plan

November 22, 2021
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Baseball is a looonnngggg season.  Teams play about 20 spring training games, 162 regular season games and 10 more will play into the postseason.  Pitchers and catchers typically report around February 14th and 1 team is holding the World Series trophy in November.  Along the way there are highs and lows, hot streaks and slumps, injuries and trips to the IL.  Every team sets out with a plan to get to the World Series, but try to find a team who actually won by going according to plan.  Welcome to your financial plan.  Everyone starts out with the perfect financial plan.  It all looks smooth and easy…right until life happens.

Two weeks ago the Atlanta Braves won their first World Series title since 1995.  Jorge Soler was the MVP of the series.  Two weeks before that Eddie Rosario was named the MVP of the National League Championship Series.  What makes those 2 players so interesting is that neither of them was on the team until July of this season when the Braves GM made trades for each.  Just like the Braves were this season your financial plan is always evolving.  I tell clients all the time that the easiest part of my job is day 1.  It’s easy to create spreadsheets and input data into my financial planning software.  That’s a computer telling you and I if everything goes perfectly then this is what your financial life looks like.  As we all know that rarely happens.  A good planner earns your trust by being there when life happens and you need to adapt, just like the Braves GM did in July.

There is an old saying in baseball that you “build your team up the middle.”  It’s a fancy way of saying you need a solid foundation at Catcher, 2nd and SS and CF.  Teams built with strength at those positions tend to win consistently because those positions represent the tougher positions to find replacements.  The same goes with your financial plan.  Everyone knows I’m obsessed with my “bucket strategies” when I discuss planning with you.  If you don’t have your emergency bucket at the proper level, you bring credit card debt into play.  If you don’t have your mid-term bucket at the proper level, you risk having to dip into your retirement plans early for larger purchases, exposing you to taxes and penalties.  If you don’t have your retirement buckets at the proper level, you may find yourself working much longer than you wanted or anticipated.  Build your plan on a solid foundation and that will allow you to take some additional risk when the time may arise.

In baseball, just like in your plan you need insurance to prevent the disaster.  Ronald Acuna was the Braves CF and one of the best players in baseball.  In July he tore his ACL and was lost for the year.  In game 1 of the World Series, the Braves lost their ace Charlie Morton with a leg fracture.  They replaced Acuna with the future World Series MVP and were able to scratch out that game with a win due to their pitching depth.  They planned for potential issues.  That’s why we insist on having the proper protection in place.  The same reason that a baseball organization has depth at their minor league levels is  why we insist on having the proper levels of car/home, disability, life and LTC insurance.  If something were to happen that prevents the flow of income we need to have contingencies in place to cover for that.

As I said at the beginning, baseball is a long season.  I don’t see anything that represents your financial plan better than the sport of baseball.  In the 4th quarter of 2018 and the quick market drop from COVID in 2020, it seemed like the sky was falling.  When you look back though it’s a small blip in a big chart that is typically trending up.  Together we build a plan and implement that plan.  Along the way there will be wins and losses, highs and lows, joys and sorrows.  As good planner I will be there with you and help you adjust accordingly. 

If you have any question on anything I brought up don’t hesitate to reach out.  As always feel free to share this with people in your life.