What Your Finances and Baseball Have In Common

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finances-baseballToday is one of my favorite days of the year.  It’s opening day baseball.  I can’t wait to come home from work today and watch the Washington Nationals.  They’ve had a great run over the past few years.  I’m really hoping that this is the year they finally turn the corner and make it to the World Series, although those pesky lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs, may have something to say about that.

 

I’ve always loved baseball since I was a little kid.  I could sit outside and throw a baseball all day.  In fact, my Dad made a pitching mound in the backyard so that I could practice throwing to a catcher year-round.  As I entered high school, my Dad bought a batting cage for me to practice.  To say I was dedicated is an understatement.  

 

finances-baseballHowever, my junior year I tore my ACL.  Unfortunately any prospects of playing in college or the majors quickly evaporated.  I think I was too young to appreciate the severity of the situation at the time, but for a while, I drifted away from baseball.

 

As I’ve gotten older, I have started to get back into it.  I am really looking forward to the day when my son and I can throw a ball around outside.  Inevitably, I hope to pass on some words of wisdom to my son that involve baseball axioms in relation to some financial tidbits, of course.  

 

Keep Your Eye On The Ball

finances-baseballI must have heard this statement a million times while growing up.  It didn’t matter if I was batting or if I was trying to field the ball.  The one constant was a coach yelling at us to keep our eye on the baseball.  

 

I can’t even tell you the number of times that I would see kids swing the bat as hard as they could but never come close to the ball because they took their eye off the ball.  What good is it to swing where you think the ball is going to be, when you can keep your eyes open the whole time and know for certainty?

 

finances-baseballUnfortunately, I meet too many people that take their eye off the ball but take these monster swings.  These people think that if they swing hard, every once a while they’ll get lucky with a home run at the end of the day.  This hardly happens though.

 

Be Ready for the Unexpected Bounce

How often have you seen a major league infielder get ready to do an easy play, when all of a sudden, the ball hits a rock, and the ball darts in a different direction?  The fielder has to be ready to adjust quickly to the circumstance in order to still make the play.

 

finances-baseballThis happens all the time, but since they’re professionals, it’s hardly noticeable to the untrained eye.  But you can bet after that play, they pick up those loose rocks to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.  

 

Most of us, at some point, have had an unexpected bounce when it comes to our finances.  That’s why it’s so important to have an emergency fund available in case of the unexpected.  By having an emergency fund, you can easily adjust to the unforeseen circumstance without missing a beat.

 

Making an Error or Striking Out Isn’t the End of the Game

finances-baseballMost people consider Babe Ruth one of the best baseball players.  He finished his career with 714 home runs, almost 3,000 hits, and won four World Series rings.  Do you know how many times Babe Ruth struck out in his career, though?  1,330.  He retired at the time as the leading player in strike-outs.  

 

Now, how many people remember him for being the all time strike-out leader?  Hardly anyone because of all the incredible feats that he accomplished during his day.

 

finances-baseballWhat risks are you taking to grow your finances?  I have a friend that has been terrified of the market since 2009 and has kept all his money in cash.  He refuses to deploy any of cash in case the market drops.  

 

On March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 hit a low of 676.53.  In the eight years since then, the market has hit a new all-time-high briefly touching 2400 points.  The market has more than tripled in less than a decade, so the fortitude to ride out the lows of the bear market pays off.  

 

That’s a lot of money to leave on the table all because he refuses to take a swing.  

 

Practice Makes Perfect

finances-baseballDo you know how much time professional baseball players take to hone their craft?  Some people think these guys eat hot dogs and drink beer in between innings.  That may have been the case back in the day, but not anymore.  

 

Anybody that has seen a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout workout can attest that these guys are physically-fit specimens with incredible hand-eye coordination.  Both of these players are working their tails off to go down in history as the best players of all time.

 

finances-baseballBut all their success didn’t come overnight.  They started young, playing in tons of tournaments and enjoying the game of baseball.  They continued working hard and practicing as much as possible.

 

In the same way, how often do you put effort into your finances?  Are you constantly trying to learn and improve so that you can be the best version of yourself?  I wonder if people paid more attention to their finances, if they would become more confident and comfortable in that area.

 

All I know is the more exposure that you have to something, the more comfortable that you generally feel, and in turn, the more likely you are to relax and make wise decisions.  

 

So readers, what do you think?  Did I miss any great baseball axioms?  Share your thoughts below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.

67 Comments

  1. We want a batter, not a broken ladder!

    I enjoyed reading this post. We have some similarities in our history – I had some shoulder issues in my sophomore year and didn’t play senior year to focus on school. Long term this was probably a good choice, but I miss the camaraderie and messing around at the ball field for hours before and after the games.

    Also, for me, my dad, and my grandpa, it’s been a sport we all can play with each other and enjoy. There is something magical about playing catch with dad – I bet you are looking forward to that with your son!

    Thanks for sharing MSM.
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…My Goal to Read 75 Books – March 2017 Check-inMy Profile

  2. It is true. We need to practice our financial knowledge every day and improve our knowledge every day. The more often we use our financial knowledge, the more return we can get from market.

  3. A perfect post for the Nats opening day! Unlike some other sports, the MLB regular season is pretty long at 162 games. Like you mentioned with striking out, you’re going to make some mistakes along your financial journey. Just stay in the game with an eye towards the playoffs (financial independence) and you’ll make it to the World Series (retirement). At least that’s the game we are playing.
    Mr. Need2Save recently posted…Finding Your Target Retirement LocationMy Profile

  4. Well you know the one I wrote about a while back. The homer in hitter gets all the credit, but the team isn’t successful without the singles. Don’t reach for yield at huge risks, shoot for consistency. It’s the singles and the index funds that ultimately won the game.
    FullTimeFinance recently posted…Are we Frugal?My Profile

  5. I think that you said it in another post, “try to hit singles rather than homeruns on each at bat.” This is what I am starting to practice now with my investments. By buying dividend paying stocks, I started to hit more singles and get on base. As time goes by, those men on bases would result in runners in scoring positions and giving my portfolio more opportunities to score. Since I am not in a homerun derby and not competing with others, I only need to score enough runs to achieve financial independence.

    By the way, your baseball dream is not over yet. You will always have hopes to become a coach.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com recently posted…My 2017 Net Worth Performance Review – Q1My Profile

  6. Love this! Happy opening day!

    Can we still call the Cubs lovable losers? I feel like they may have an identity crisis like my Red Sox did after 2004.

    From a team/organization perspective, I feel like there’s something to be said about investing young (Harper, Trout, Kris Bryant) to give yourself the best possible foundation for the future.
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…The Things We Cannot ChangeMy Profile

    • I definitely think with the steroids era over that young, cheap controllable talent is the way a lot of the teams are going.

      I thought it was interested to see that the Cubs the past few years have invested heavily into young hitters (Baez, Bryant, Schwarber) while the Nats have drafted towards pitching (Stras, Giolito, Dunning). We see in the short term how that has worked out 🙂

  7. Great post, love the relation you made between finances and baseball. Not too familiar with the fine details and rules of the sport, but I know enough. I have learned to pay more attention to my finances make even better decisions during my journey. Such as establishing a large emergency fund for those unexpected bounces – I believe everyone should have one. Although a good amount of debt free journeyers feel $1,000 is a decent amount, I feel the complete opposite. We always have at least 4x our income in a savings account. Sure, we can pay off a ton of debt with it, but with that cash on hand, we can replace a furnace, buy a new (used car) if we needed to and pay for unexpected medical bills. It works for us! Once we are debt free (28k to go) we will reassess our EF and begin our journey to building wealth!

    • Thanks for sharing Danielle!!! I’m glad that you appreciated the analogies. I definitely agree that by paying more attention to our finances that we are better able to make decisions. It’s amazing how many mistakes I made when I wasn’t paying attention 🙂

  8. Not a baseball fan myself but great analogies! Getting good at any sport is a discipline, and not some magic that happens overnight, which is very similar to our finances. Yes, ever once in a great while someone comes along who is naturally gifted (i.e., wins the lotto), but for just about everyone else it’s hard work done every single day.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…March Rewind: My Net Worth RevealedMy Profile

    • I agree there are very few naturally gifted players that have stardom without work. Look at Michael Jordan. He got cut from his Freshman team and had to work to become the best.

    • Thanks for stopping by Mr. Defined Sight!!! I definitely agree baseball is the ultimate grind when it comes to a sports season. That’s probably why I love it so much 🙂

  9. Excellent post – there’s always great analogies with sports, but baseball may be the best. It’s a loooooooooong season, and every team will have a slump – stay focused on the fundamentals and your goal when it happens. And every team is going to lose a lot of games in a season – just being a bit above .500 is often enough to make the post-season (gotta be some investment tie there…).
    Paul recently posted…Is Your Mortgage Tax Deductible?My Profile

  10. Good poSt. Actually just read Chris hoGans book retired inspired. He said finances are just like baseball and broke down the years based on the innings. Was pretty good. Looking forward to this season. Go jays!
    I’m a fan of harper tho
    Passivecanadianincome recently posted…March 2017 Dividend IncomeMy Profile

  11. Nice comparisons! I remember I used to be terrified of playing softball as a kid. T-ball wasn’t so bad, but trying to hit a pitch gave me so much anxiety lol.

    That’s unfortunate you got injured while you were younger. I can’t imagine how difficult and frustrating that must have been. Glad you are back into watching the game now!

  12. I’m a huge baseball fan…go Braves! When I was young I played baseball morning, noon, and night, but I was never good enough to make a real go of it. So sorry to hear about your injury.

    As a baseball and personal finance fan, I love this post. It’s true that we need all these things–focus, practice, preparedness and a willingness to make mistakes–for both disciplines.
    Gary @ Super Saving Tips recently posted…3 Shameful Financial Problems You Fear To Talk AboutMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Gary!!! I could play baseball all day as well. It was definitely fun playing baseball sun up to sun down. I definitely miss those times 🙂

  13. Well, I know there’s no crying in baseball, but who can say that about finances? Haha. We’ve talked before about our love for baseball. I’m looking forward to 4:10 Eastern time when my Fightin’ Phils take on the Reds. They don’t project to be that great this year, but we have a few young guys that can build the foundation for future years. Hope to get back to the World Series and have some great runs like 2007 to 2011.

    I think you nailed the baseball and finance analogy. I liked reading about your experience with baseball growing up. For me, I was all-consumed with baseball growing up. I was the biggest Phillies fan in most peoples’ lives. My professor in college (we had a baseball history class as an elective) called me the biggest Phillies fan he knew aside from Bill Giles (the Phillies team president at the time who he knew personally). So, baseball has always been a huge part of my life. I hope to pass that on to my son. I look forward to Opening Days together and catches in the backyard. I want to put a batting cage in my backyard as well (who cares what the HOA says .. lol).

    Great article. Happy Opening Day everyone! How many think this should be a national holiday??

    • If/when I get more established at work I would love to create the tradition of taking my son to opening day baseball. I’ve never been but I’d love to pull my son out of school and bond with him over opening day. That would be amazing to me 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing Michael!!! There’s no time like the present to take up the greatest sport 🙂 I love being able to hold a convo while watching a game. Great pace plus wonderful stories to be told 🙂

  14. Huge baseball fan here. Lets see if the Indians can finish the job in 2017. Love the baseball analogies and how spot on they are. Striking out in finances isn’t the end of the world. You will face that pitcher again and hopefully have learned from your mistakes in the past.

    Thought of some other ones to add:

    -You will never bat 1.000. Heck, the best batting average is just over .400 Similar to your strikeout analogy, you will never be perfect with your investments or financial decisions. You will get out and you will make a mistake. It is going to happen. It is all about how you learn and the adjustments you make.

    -Hall of Famers are Hall of Famers because they were successful over a long period of time, not because they had one or two strong seasons. Focus on your long term financial goals and investment strategies that will be successful over the long run versus chasing the sexy, short term, flash in the pan strategy.

    Thanks for the fun read today!

    Bert

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the read. I had a co-worker drive up from VA to Cleveland for game 7 of the World Series. Said it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life even though they lost.

      If the Nationals ever make it I am definitely going to buy World Series tickets 🙂

      • That is amazing! What a drive. I was fortunate enough to attend Games 2 and 7 of the World Series. It was expensive but worth every damn penny. I agree completely with him. That is an experience that is once in a life time and one that I will never, ever, forget. I cannot wait to tell my grand kids about that one day.

        Bert

  15. The only thing I miss about Milwaukee, where I grew up, is baseball.

    So yes, as I go through early retirement withdrawal scenarios I am learning a lot. Do I do Roth laddering, or just do a hybrid penalty-taxable withdrawal instead? I can take the 2k in child tax credits and offset most of the penalty, and our taxable investments last much longer. It’s an interesting situation.

    • Thanks for sharing Finance Patriot!!! Sounds like you have a lot of great options. It will definitely be interesting to see how your analysis will potentially change if Trump changes the tax code.

  16. Love this, Rob. When I was younger (before kids) my friends and I would take an annual road trip to Wrigley Field from our hometown in MN. I love the way you made the analogies here, especially about taking your eye off the ball and hoping that a big swing will help you win. It just doesn’t work that way.

    • Thanks for sharing Laurie!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Wrigley Field. It’s definitely on my bucket list of ball parks to visit. I hit up Fenway last year 🙂

  17. This is really cool and for me puts an interesting twist on ways of thinking about personal finance. The analogy i always remember from baseball is that a great hitter still fails more than half the time, so just like this its about correcting the mistakes that you make rather than just not making any mistakes.

    • Thanks for stopping by Win!!! You are absolutely correct. The best hitters fail 7 out of 10 times. Amazing how this rate of failure is considered good 🙂

    • Hahahahaha…I’m ok with thinking it’s slow. Great analogy by the way 🙂

      There are definitely times that it grinds to a halt. But I love the tension when it comes to the playoffs where I’m hanging on every pitch.

  18. Really cool post! Not a huge baseball, but really like how you brought it back to finances. I also completely agree with your striking out analogy. So many people, especially younger people are afraid to invest their money because they are afraid of losing it. Instead that money sits in checking accounts and earns next to nothing. The stock market may throw a curve ball or two from time to time, but if you are patient and have put the work in, you could hit that curve ball out of the park.
    Courtney @ Your Average Dough recently posted…My Short-Term Financial Goals 2017My Profile

    • Haha…I love Daniel Murphy now 🙂 I’m not sure why the Mets decided to trade for Neil Walker and let Daniel Murphy walk. But I’m ok with it !!!

  19. I love these axioms. When you sit down and think about stuff often you find things are similar in their own fashions.

    I have one for ya – Don’t stare at a home run.

    If you score a financial ‘home run’ don’t sit back and admire it, the game is still going. Continue ‘running the bases’ – Treat it as you would any extra money
    MrDoublingDollars recently posted…Why Do You Go To Work? Do You Have An End In Mind?My Profile

    • That’s an awesome axiom!!! I’ve found that the players that stare at home run, normally get beaned the next time they get up. I think there’s definitely something to be said for keeping your head down and doing your job like you’ve been there before 🙂

  20. Sports and now Personal Finance are my two favorite topics to discuss so thanks for this post MSM, it made me smile.
    I love the axioms you made on here between your finances and the game of baseball. Probably another one is the top pitchers are successful because they have diversified types of pitches they can throw: fastball, change-up, curveball, slider, etc. Same with a successful portfolio, it needs to be diversified in order to profit in the long run.
    BTW, I’m a Giants fan and loved Dusty Baker when he was our manager. I hope he can win his first WS for the Nats since the Giants are not doing well this season. He definitely deserves one.

    • Thanks Kris!!! I’m a huge Nats fan so I have to admit I was a bit leery of Baker when he first got here based on running some pitchers into the ground but he’s done a superb job and definitely hope they can turn their bullpen around and make it past the first round of the playoffs. World Series still feels too far away.

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