Well…that happened fast…
This past Friday, we celebrated Melanie’s last day playing basketball on our home court. Seniors were celebrated as their high school basketball career came to a close…
I’ve coached Melanie’s basketball team since she was in 7th grade, and it’s been a real treat to have a front row seat, watching her grow in her confidence and skills. The real bonus has been the many late-night conversations in the car on the way home from games, where she starts talking and I get to hear all about her life and what she’s thinking about. So, with her career as a player ending, I’ve been reflecting on whether my coaching career ends with her too.
I don’t naturally love basketball coaching—I played in high school and enjoy watching basketball on TV, but I am not passionate about the sport the way many coaches are. And the finer details of the Xs and Os make my eyes glaze over…
But parts of coaching have been oddly easy to adapt to as they echo similar skills that we use at Meridian in building financial plans!
While coaching basketball and financial advising might seem like entirely different ballgames (pun intended), there are significant parallels between the two:
- In basketball coaching, success hinges on developing a game plan tailored to the team’s strengths, weaknesses, and the dynamics of the game. Last year, our team was filled with speedy individual players…this year, our strength is about methodically working together. So, what worked for last year’s team doesn’t work for this year’s group. Similarly, at Meridian, each client’s plan demands a customized approach, considering factors such as risk tolerance, time horizon, and market conditions. We can’t just cut and paste a financial plan from one client to the next, as we have to tailor our game plan to each client’s unique circumstances, goals, preferences, and capabilities!
- Just as a coach must adjust tactics during a game, investors must be flexible in response to market fluctuations and economic shifts. Both arenas require a balance of patience and decisiveness, knowing when to stick to the plan and when to pivot. Sometimes this overlap wears me out, as I like sticking to plans and not “winging it” …but just as we can walk into a basketball game and must adjust strategy on the spot to accommodate for the flow of a game, many times we have to adjust our portfolio strategy. Sometimes we need to adjust our strategy for external factors like a change in economic circumstances…but sometimes the plan has to shift because our client’s lives change. People lose jobs, move, have kids, change their minds on what is truly important…and all require a pivot to just shift the direction of the portfolio to support the new reality.
- Both basketball and financial advising value teamwork and collaboration. In basketball, a cohesive team can overcome individual shortcomings. In financial planning, working as a team with other professional advisors like attorneys accountants can enhance the chances of financial success.
Ultimately, whether on the court or in the financial markets, success often comes down to discipline, resilience, and the ability to stay focused on the end goal. So, whether you’re currently aggressively focused on offense and growing your wealth, or starting to play lock-down defense to protect your lead as you head into retirement, knowing the game plan and ultimate objective is what matters!