Most people know I’m a big sports fan, especially basketball. The sport has been an integral part of my life for over three decades, and an important part of my family’s activities as well. I’ve enjoyed some great, long-lasting friendships with people I met through the sport. Several years ago, I began working with a handful of college basketball coaches in a professional capacity, a natural extension of my relationships and connections in the sport. I find many parallels between sports and my professional work; the challenge of building a successful team, the importance of communication, the power of gradual, continual improvement to name just a few.
At a recent game I attended I was reminded of how sports and financial planning share common elements. It was a conference game between two nationally ranked teams, and the visiting team, the Hawks were led by a senior point guard. While perhaps not their best player, he is their most valuable player. He’s been through the tough league games, is an extension of his coach on the floor, fully understands what his team must do to be successful and is especially adept at making his teammates better.
Midway through the first half with the Hawks holding a slim lead the senior point guard picked up his third foul and had to come to the bench. Without his leadership and decision-making, the Hawks slowly unraveled. Turnovers and miscommunication quickly snowballed, by halftime the Hawks were down 16 points and the entire complexion of the game had changed. With one key piece removed, the otherwise talented team was unable to perform at a high level.
When it comes to financial planning, all the pieces must work in concert with one another. A weakness in one area can threaten the success of one’s overall plan. Many consumers fail to realize the importance of this comprehensive approach until something happens. If your most valuable asset got in foul trouble, how would your financial success be impacted?