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
"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
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
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
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What school are you rooting for? Tell us