If you are a fan of baseball like me, you know that the sport is in the midst of the Spring Training season. This is where the teams go to warm locations like Arizona and Florida and start preparing for the season that will start in April.
It’s a time full of hope because positions are there to be won by players and every team starts with a new slate. It’s a time where players get down and focus on the fundamentals of the game and on finding the way to start the season in the best way possible.
As I have been monitoring the progress of both the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, I started to think that as the teams work on the fundamentals of the game, there are fundamental lessons from baseball’s Spring Training that we can apply to our finances. Let me share these fundamental lessons of the financial game with you:
Typically, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training first, about a week before the rest of the players. This is because they need to work on their relationship, understand how each likes to approach a particular hitter, or game situation, and work on their signs. Pitchers & catchers are called battery partners as they control the flow of the game.
In your finances if you are married, communication with your spouse is key. You need to discuss money openly and objectively. You need to work together or otherwise you will be working against each other. You and your spouse need to control the flow of your money. And if you are single, you need a partner/friend/mentor to be your battery partner and walk with you and help you control the flow of your money.
The Double-Play (DP)
The classic form of the DP is that the shortstop and 2nd baseman combine to take two opposing players out. I think in order to win with your finances you need the classic DP: Get on a budget and save a beginner’s emergency fund ($1,000).
With a working budget you will control the flow of your money and will increase the strength of your income. With a beginner’s emergency fund, you can absorb the impact that life can bring to your life on a regular basis without going further into debt.
The Sacrifice Bunt
The goal of this play is to advance a runner to a more advantageous scoring position. The hitter does not get credit for the at-bat or a hit. With your finances, the sacrifice bunt may involve cutting some fun stuff out of your budget temporarily (like eating out, cafe lattes, or vacations) while you reach stable ground. It may also involve working extra hours or taking a 2nd part-time job. The goal is to advance the goals of your team, meaning your household.
The goal here is to train players and team to adjust their offense to the needs of the game. The hitter will adjust the approach of his at-bat based on what the team needs. You also need a plan and an adjustment to your approach if you are in debt.
Covering Your Bases
Just like teams work on situational hitting during Spring Training, teams also work on their defense for different game situations. Players need to practice where to make a throw or which base to cover. You also need to understand and plan to cover your bases so you can defend your financial well being.
I hope these fundamental plays are helpful to you. You may have identified other fundamental plays in your own journey towards financial wellness and I would love to hear what you think. I will leave you with a phrase of encouragement for wherever you are on your journey. It comes from the great baseball philosopher, Yogi Berra:
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over“