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How any hoops fan can build a winning financial game plan.

By Lee Brookman / March 3, 2014

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If you're following this month's NCAA tournament, it could be teaching you valuable lessons on managing your money.

That's because the effort fans put into researching teams and filling out brackets is the same kind of work that goes into getting your finances in order. And according to Chuck Thoele, a Dallas-based certified financial planner and author of Bulls, Bears and Basketball, the world of college hoops is bursting with lessons to help average people make sense of saving and investing.

"Good planning is essential to meeting major financial goals like retirement and college funding," says Thoele, an Indiana native raised on Hoosier Hysteria. "The problem is that many people find the process too boring or tedious to really put in the effort. But if you think of it in different terms, things like mutual funds and insurance can suddenly seem a lot more interesting."

And who doesn't love a good sports analogy?

"In basketball and finance, there's offense and defense, winning seasons and rebuilding years, tried-and-true strategies and desperate last-second shots. And you're always working against the clock," Thoele says.

Here's how to channel your fervor for the Final Four and win a financial championship:

ASSESS YOUR TEAM
Start with a good look at where you are financially and where you want to be. Are you saving for retirement? Determine how much you'll need to live comfortably and work toward that goal.

SCOUT THE COMPETITION
Ready your game plan for the challenges of inflation, high interest rates and the occasional stock-market correction by learning more about these and other opposing forces that threaten to squash your dreams of glory.

ATTACK THE BASKET
Racking up points is the name of the game. In personal finance, playing offense means stashing away as much money as possible from an early age and building an investment portfolio that's designed to meet your long-term goals.

GET AGGRESSIVE ON D
Defense is all about protecting what you already have. That includes diversifying your investments to guard against down markets and making sure you and your valuable assets are adequately insured. This gets even more important the closer you get to retirement.

MAKE HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS
Life can change dramatically halfway through the game. Kids move out. People get sick. Careers shift gears. It's important to reassess your priorities and progress as you age; chances are, your game plan will need some tweaking. 

STAY STRONG THROUGH OVERTIME
Retirement is no time to quit watching your wallet. Smart strategies to withdraw your savings and minimize spending will ensure you don't lose your nest egg. And when that final buzzer sounds, your family will thank you for the financial legacy you've left behind.

Protect your hard-earned assets and start planning your legacy today. Let us help you find a life insurance policy through the GEICO Insurance Agency that gives you peace of mind for the future. You can purchase coverage for 5-year, 10-year, 15-year, 20-year or even 30-year terms. Locking in a long-term rate now could be a great bargain. Get a quick and easy quote today.  

What school are you rooting for? Tell us below.

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