Kickoff 2015: Investing Takeaways From the Gridiron

investment lessons from footballIn a country full of people who sometimes disagree on a variety of fundamental issues, we can find common ground on game days; nearly 80 percent of Americans watched at least one football game last year. In fact, 45 of the 50 highest-rated television programs of 2014 were football games.  We may not be able to agree on the toppings for the halftime pizza, but we can agree that we’re watching the game.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the same fanatical devotion to our finances, which are often confusing.  This guide is designed for those of us who should have spent more time in the library and less at the tailgate.  What follows is a breakdown of your financial portfolio the way you might break down your fantasy team, with links to resources to help you beef up your most important positions.

Quarterback: Stocks
Just like a football team, the overall strength of your financial portfolio is dictated by the high-growth prospects.  Recent hiccups notwithstanding, stocks are the best way to grow the value of your holdings. Just like your QB, if your stock portfolio is weak, it’s time to start scouting the prospects, because you won’t get far without an elite QB.

Offensive Line: Savings Products
No one gets excited about the offensive line.  They don’t sign fat endorsement contracts, grace the covers of magazines or date the prom queen.  But the offensive line is the backbone of the offense.  No quarterback can throw a touchdown while he’s pinned to the turf, and that workhorse running back isn’t going anywhere without a hole through which to run.

Your savings are the same way.  They protect your stocks, because a nest egg in savings means you don’t have to sell your stocks if times get tough, which means you can sell them when they’re at their highest value.  We may all watch the ball in a football game the same way that we check the stock ticker in the morning, but a diverse savings portfolio can offer tax breaks, steady returns and security that are unparalleled in your long-term portfolio.  No wonder offensive linemen consistently score the highest on the intelligence tests at the pro football draft combine: savings are smart.

Draft Picks: Home Equity
Ask the fans of any team that traded a bundle of draft picks for a quarterback that didn’t pan out, and they’ll say you can’t build a successful team without draft picks.  In the same way, you can’t be financially secure without owning at least one large asset.

For most Americans, that asset is their home.  You can borrow against its value in an emergency, transfer high-interest credit card debt into a low-interest home equity loan and most importantly, you’re getting a large chunk of your payment back as equity every month.

It’s the best time of the year for most of our teams.  We can convince ourselves that everything that went wrong last year will improve and everything that went right can be even better.  We put on the irrational, optimistic face paint of fandom and ignore all common sense, particularly with regards to chili and chicken wings.

Don’t ignore your financial football roster, though.  Be rational and realistic.  And give us a call so we can help.  After all, even the best coaches in the world bring in offensive and defensive coordinators.

Photo by COD Newsroom / CC BY 2.0

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