Don’t Fumble Your Finances – Lessons From the Superbowl
How to Score a Financial Touchdown Even If You’re Not a Football Fan
By Julie Jaggernath
Do you ever wonder what it takes to score a financial touchdown? Superbowl parties are known for their teams of armchair quarterbacks, and that’s part of the fun for football fans. However, when it comes to your personal finances, the stakes are higher. Scoring a financial touchdown takes training, practice, and ongoing effort. Whether you’re an old pro or just a rookie, here’s how to get the most out of your financial game plan.
The Playbook – A Football Team Has Theirs, You Have Your Budget
- A team uses a playbook to stay on track with their plays and their overall strategy. Your playbook is your budget, the plan you create for how you want to spend your money and get yourself a win in the end zone.
A good budget playbook includes:
• all sources of income
• routine weekly and monthly expenses
• irregular or seasonal expenses
• debt payments
• savings for short and long-term goals
You’ll earn bonus points if you also save up an emergency fund to help you recover from any play that catches you off guard, like an unexpected repair bill when your car leaves you stranded.
Unexpected expenses are much like football interceptions, which can totally change the outcome of a game. When your budget is off its game plan, it can be tempting to walk off the field and throw in the towel. Instead, go back to your playbook and figure out how you can revise your budget to get your finances back on track. If you’re not sure where to start or need a new strategy, having a credit counsellor on your team can help.
The Coaching Staff – Your Own Team of Professionals Can Help You Learn What You Need to Know
While you are your own best head coach, and ultimately responsible for scoring your financial touchdown, to put yourself into the end zone you need assistant coaches with expertise to help you with what you don’t know. No one knows everything about managing their money, so draw on the expertise of qualified professionals to help you with:
- Personal loans, mortgages, lines of credit, bank accounts, and routine financial services – look around for a financial institution with products, people, and services that meet your needs
- Debt and routine money management – a qualified credit counsellor will help you create a realistic budget, find debt repayment solutions or alternatives, learn how to use credit wisely, and manage your money better
- Insurance products – get help choosing the right products for your lifestyle and circumstances
- Wills and legal matters – a lawyer or notary can help you with this
- Investments and estate planning – take the time to find a certified financial planner or advisor that understands your goals and can help you find ways to achieve them
Avoid Getting Sacked – Savings Will Help You Score Big
Getting sacked in football stops the play, and that’s the last thing you want for your finances. Instead of getting sacked, think about sacking away cash as a way to protect yourself from a personal financial crisis. Savings gives you safety and security should something unexpected happen. Canadians reported relying on their savings during the pandemic as one way to get by.
Savings also gives you the freedom to take advantage of an opportunity that comes your way. Think of it as your most important expense as you outline your budget. You may want to go back to school, start a business, buy a rental or vacation property, or retire early. Unlike a field goal which can be a long shot, savings will make getting to the end zone that much easier.
Be a Team Player – Coordinate Finances With Your Spouse
Draw on the strength of your personal team. Have a monthly huddle with your spouse or partner to make sure you’re both heading in the same direction. Review your expenses, talk about your successes, find ways to top up your savings, or revise your budget.
There are strategies that make managing money as a couple easier. However, if you’ve fumbled the ball, pick yourselves up and ice your bumps and bruises. Kick a bad financial habit and score yourselves an extra point for working together when you’re down.
As you work together with those involved in your household budget, play to each person’s strengths. One of you might be better at managing the day-to-day and the other at keeping on top of investments for your long-term goals. It’s even better if one of you takes on the position of tight end for your team. That makes them the person who jumps in and blocks a play before things get rough financially, or runs with the ball when they see an opportunity.
When it comes to our money, a tight end is one of the best ways to stop money from leaking out of our bank account. The tight end can help keep us accountable to our budget, let us know when we need to reign in our spending, and help us stay focused on our strategy when the temptation to spend impulsively strikes. While a tight end is the flexible player everyone needs, they can’t do it alone. It’s important to work as a team to avoid the penalties that come with incurring a lot of debt.
Don’t Wait for a Kickoff – Plan Your Plays to Achieve a Financial Touchdown
Scoring a financial touchdown and achieving the financial goals we set is about more than the kickoffs. But unlike the Superbowl, the only competition we face is against ourselves. It’s never too late to learn new money skills or exercise the ones we already have. Keep in mind that just like any football game, we are all guaranteed to finish. Jump into the action and ignore the armchair quarterbacks who aren’t involved in your game. Play as if it were a marathon, not a sprint. Be mindful about your spending choices and make decisions that work best for you and your family. Avoid reaching for a credit card to make ends meet when you realize you’ve run out of money and there are still plays you need to make. And if you need help, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for it. There’s no “I” in team but there is in “winner” – we’re happy to be in your corner to get you there.