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Finance Tips from the NFL

February 10, 2024

The 2023-2024 football season has been an interesting one for the Green Bay Packers. As a Packers fan, it was awesome to see my favorite team make so much progress in the second half of the season. I think my seven-year-old son, Nathan, is more excited than me.  His passion for football has given me many reasons to laugh over the last few months. Both of us are looking forward to the Super Bowl this weekend. 

As I've been watching the games and the highlights, I've been reflecting on the lessons that football can teach about our personal finances. I enjoyed making this list, and I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Build a Strong Financial Offense:

In finance, having a good offensive strategy is all about money coming in. Do you have predictable income that meets your family's needs? When your income isn't cutting it, bills become a struggle, and saving for important goals becomes even harder. Here are some offensive moves to consider:

  • Side Hustles: Opportunities are everywhere.  If you are tight on cash, it could make sense to create a second source of income.  Whether it's a seasonal gig or starting the small business of your dreams, having more than one source of income can be a winning strategy.

  • Keep Pace with Inflation: Just like a football team adapts to an opponent's tactics, your income may need to adapt during periods of high inflation. Is there training you could complete that would increase your earning potential?

  • Maximize Your Emergency Fund: Make sure your emergency fund is working hard for you while you sleep. Consider using a high-yield savings account to earn interest on the cash in your emergency fund. 

 Develop an Impenetrable Defensive Strategy:

A strong defense in finance involves retaining the money you've worked so hard to earn. Here are some key defensive plays:

  • Manage your Debt Load: Just as a strong defense stops the opponent's progress, keep your debt reasonable to avoid financial risks.  Too much debt can weigh you down - take a pause to evaluate the debt you have and why you have it.

  • Maintain your Emergency Fund: A solid emergency fund can prevent you from taking out more debt. Regular contributions to your emergency fund act like a steady gain of yards during a crucial play.

  • Stop the Bleeding: Review your spending. You don't have to know where every penny goes, but it's worth it to review your bank and credit card statements each month to see where your money is going. Make sure your resources are being allocated appropriately. 

  • Review your Life & Disability Insurance:  Ensure your loved ones are cared for in the event that the worst happens to you. A solid insurance plan is like having players in reserve if someone gets hurt on the field. 

  • Diversify your Investments: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. A good football team has many strategies in their back pocket. Not all strategies work well against every opponent. Consider the context for your investments and decide what strategy will work best for you. 

  • Have an Estate Plan: Don’t let someone else (the courts) call the shots for your team. If something happens to you, make sure you have instructions in place for your loved ones.

 Call a Timeout:

Life gets busy, but it is crucial to review your position regularly. Here are some final thoughts:

  • Have a Team Huddle: If you are married, the most important player on your team is your spouse! Regular discussions with your spouse about money will help you to align your goals and strategies, which is essential for winning the financial game together. Finances can be stressful to talk about. Try approaching the conversation from a perspective of curiosity. You might be surprised at what you discover!

  • Involve your Kids: Training the newest team members is crucial for long-term success. Talk to your kids about the reasons behind your financial decisions, and practice what you preach. They are watching you! They pay more attention than you think.

  • Make a Halftime Adjustment: If your current strategy isn't working, it's OK to make changes. Keep an eye on things and be ready to change tactics.  Winning teams know when to make adjustments.

  • Every team needs a trusted coach - or two! Build up your relationships with your trusted advisors – a CPA for taxes, an attorney for estate advice, and a financial advisor for investment insights.  Proverbs 15:12 states, "Without consultation and wise advice, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they are established and succeed.” Build up a group of solid people around you. You won't regret it!

As the Super Bowl approaches, don't forget to reflect on your personal wins.  Learn from the losses, and be grateful for the opportunities that life gives us to assess and adjust our financial (and sometimes even personal) game plans.

What team are you rooting for this Sunday? Nathan and I wish it was the Packers. Go Pack go!