Here in Chicago, we are fortunate enough not to have one but TWO baseball teams (and so far this season, the Cubs and Sox are two of the best teams in the league). Although it can create some rifts in the office, baseball season is one of our favorites. Whether you’re a Cubs fan or White Sox fan, it all boils down to Chicago pride. You may be wondering why a bank is writing a blog post about baseball…aside from our love for the sport, there are actually several ways playing baseball can be likened to managing finances.
- You can’t do everything at once. There’s a reason there are nine players out on the field at a time. One person can’t be responsible for covering all the bases, outfield, pitching, and catching at the same time- can you imagine how stressful that would be? Instead, there are multiple people who will occasionally cover for one another during certain plays. Similarly, you cannot do everything all at once financially. While it’s admirable to set a high bar for financial goals (save x amount, pay off a certain loan), you will set yourself up for failure/disappointment if you try to do everything all at once on your own. Tackle one thing at a time or get some help from your team.
- Keep an eye on the field. Baseball requires skill, but it’s also a game of strategy. As players go up to bat, they’re pinpointing where the best places to aim their swing. There may be holes in the field, or they could be using the knowledge that the shortstop has a difficult time catching to his left. In other words, they are constantly trying to get the most bang for their buck in every play. When you’re about to make a financial decision, take stock of the field around you. Where can you get the most bang for your buck? It might be refinancing your mortgage for lower interest rates or starting that college savings account for your school aged kid.
- It’s okay to take a risk. Some high-risk plays in baseball, like bunting or stealing a base, can drive the game forward. There’s always a chance that such a play will backfire (hence the risk factor). It’s not vital to make these plays, but the benefits drive players to make those decisions. Taking a chance on an investment or starting a business aren’t considered necessary, but can lead to financial abundance in the long term. Consider a cost-benefit analysis and consult financial advisors (or your “coaches”). Unlike baseball, you most likely will not need to make any split second financial decisions but a professional and some knowledge can help you understand risks better.
- There’s a balance. Just because you have a strong pitcher doesn’t mean the outfielders get to slack off and pick flowers. It helps if the team is working as a whole toward the same goal, otherwise you’re going to have a difficult time winning the game. Similarly, if you are only strong and/or consistent in one area of your financial health, the big picture is going to suffer. One example: having a large income, but never following a budget to manage overspending. So remember thinking about a balance between saving, spending, and giving to others.
- Give yourself a break. Everyone needs a chance to catch a breath and relax once in awhile, and that’s what the 7th Inning Stretch is all about! Reaching financial goals, like baseball, does not have to be all work and no play. It could be something as simple as deviating from your budget for a night for a dinner out, or booking a mini-vacation. Once you’ve given yourself a little 7th Inning Stretch, you’re more likely to jump back in the game rested and motivated to finish strong.
- Long term stats are what matter. Every team loses a game sometimes but what you want to look at is the long term. Ernie Banks wasn’t an all star because he never made a mistake but because his overall skills were so impressive. Thinking long term when it comes to your finances is what’s most important so if you strike out once, keep getting up to bat.
No matter where you are in your financial life, or which Chicago team you choose to root for, you can always turn to Oak Bank for your banking needs. We’re in the stands cheering on your financial wins!