January is NFL football playoff month. Being in Pittsburgh, I fully intended to spice this article up with mentions of names like Rooney, Roethlisberger, Brown, and Bell. But alas, as we enter Super Bowl week the Steeler’s are out, but my analogy below still holds. Successful financial planning is like an NFL team that is built to always be competing for a deep playoff run to the Super Bowl.
An offense can run the ball between the tackles, and it can run to the outside. An offense can have a short passing game and a long passing game. If a team can only run inside well or outside well, but not both, it will be stopped at some point. If it only has a short passing game or just a long passing game, it will be stopped. Yes, the offense will score, and the team will win some games. However, to win over an entire season and have a shot at a championship, you need to be good at running inside and outside and be able to complete short passes and long.
On defense, you can stop the run, and you can stop the pass. If you can only do one, you will be vulnerable to the other, and you’ll be scored upon more often than comfortable. You will stop the other team sometimes over the course of a game, but over a season you’ll be outscored, and you’ll lose too often to make a serious playoff run.
Special teams is a third element; your kicking game. With kickoff and kick returns, and your punt team, you are establishing field position. If you have an efficient kick return unit, you’ll be starting your offense with a shorter distance to score. With a strong kickoff and punt team, you’ll make the other team continually have a long way to go, hence, benefiting your defense.
The teams that are most successful (think Steelers, Packers, and Patriots) have stable and consistent ownership and leadership. The owners have a multi-year vision, don’t fire coaches after one bad game or year, and put in place General Managers to carry out their vision and bring in players that fit that vision.
Great coaches do not panic after a bad game, and they don’t get euphoric after one great game. They have a game plan and can adjust tactically based on in-game circumstances, but they don’t throw out the playbook when they get behind.
Cash flow planning is your running game. Making good decisions about what comes in and goes out each month keeps the ball moving. Investment Planning is your passing game. Making good decisions for the long term allows you to get down the field with extended plays. Tax Planning and Estate Planning are your special teams. If you make smart and effective tax and estate decisions, you keep more of what you create. Finally, the ownership and coaching are up to you. You need to have a process, be consistent, hire great coaches that won’t panic, and build a foundation focused on years, not days or months.
You can sometimes win with just one dimension, but you won’t be great.
Doing this doesn’t guarantee an NFL team a championship, nor does it guarantee you a financial future with no setbacks; it does, however, put you in the running for one more often than not.
Author: David Jeter, CFP® | Partner and Financial Advisor | Allegheny Financial Group | January 2018
Allegheny Financial Group is a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Allegheny Investments, LTD, a registered Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA/SIPC.