Mar 10, 201410:57 AMTaking Stock
with Nathan Brinkman
What baseball can teach you about financial planning
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Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. As this year’s baseball season gets underway, here are a few lessons from America’s pastime that might help you reevaluate your finances.
Sometimes you need to proceed one base at a time
There’s nothing like seeing a home run light up the scoreboard, but games are often won by singles and doubles that get runners in scoring position through a series of base hits. The one-base-at-a-time approach takes discipline, something that you can apply to your finances by putting together a financial plan. What are your financial goals? Do you know how much money comes in and how much goes out? Are you saving regularly for retirement or for a child’s college education? A financial plan will help you understand where you are now and help you decide where you want to go.
It’s a good idea to cover your bases
Baseball players minimize the odds that a runner will safely reach a base by standing close to the base to protect it. What can you do to help protect your financial future? Try to prepare for life’s “what-ifs.” For example, buy the insurance coverage you need to make sure you and your family are protected — this could be life, health, disability, long-term care, or property and casualty insurance. And set up an emergency account that you can tap instead of dipping into your retirement funds or using a credit card when an unexpected expense arises.
You can strike out looking, or strike out swinging
Fans may have trouble seeing strikeouts in a positive light, but every baseball player knows that striking out is a big part of the game. In fact, striking out is much more common than getting hits. The record for the highest career batting average is .366, held by Ty Cobb. Or, as Ted Williams once said, “Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of 10 and be considered a good performer.”
In baseball, there’s even more than one way to strike out. A batter can strike out looking by not swinging at a pitch or strike out swinging by attempting, but failing, to hit a pitch. In both cases, the batter likely waited for the right pitch, which is sometimes the best course of action, even if it means striking out occasionally.