The Super Bowl is considered by many to be one of the most important sporting events in the world each year. Many from around the world tune in to watch it even if “their team” did not make it to the final game. Much time and preparation is spent certainly by the teams in preparing for the game, but even by many spectators and fans around the world as they prepare parties and tailgating and other such events to watch the game.
Many people spend more time preparing for, watching, and then talking about the Super Bowl then they actually spend preparing their personal financial strategies. One could spend a little time reflecting on which will ultimately be more important for each of us… but we quickly conclude that perhaps we should spend a little more time planning our finances, even if we have to wait until the big game is over and behind us.
Financial planning may not sound like much fun, so let’s try to make it a bit more interesting. In some ways it is like preparing for the Super Bowl. Without good planning and execution, you will never win. “Luck” or “winging it” is just not good enough to carry you to victory. Proper preparation for a Super Bowl victory begins before the season every starts.
Start with the end in mind. Teams don’t just show up in training camp with the intent to “play football”… if they do, they do not win very much. They must define success and goals along the way to evaluate their performance in moving toward that success. Winning teams come into the season planning to play for the Super Bowl rings! They don’t just plan to play catch and throw and suddenly find themselves in the Super Bowl. There is short term sacrifice for long term success.
Similarly, for our financial planning you must define what success looks like for you. Define your personal goals and steward progress toward them. Think big! Do not limit yourself to simply having money for earthly things, but also to store up treasure in heaven. How you view your success will strongly influence how you play the game!
Define your goals… define success.
- Matthew 6:20-21 – 20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – 7Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
- Proverbs 22:9 – 9He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.
Steward your progress toward those goals and make adjustments when called for. If something is not working as you expected, do not be afraid to consider making “in game” adjustments to your game plan.
- In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus teaches us through the parable of the talents that a good steward periodically checks on the effectiveness of his efforts and makes adjustments according to their performance.
With every game there are rules. If you do not know the rules and play by them, you will likely not do well on the field. Penalties for failing to follow the rules can ruin your game. In finances, as with most of life’s challenges, God has laid out the rules for us in the Bible. Know what God says about how we should treat others and how we should conduct our earthly affairs. It is also true that man has added some rules, called laws, as well. We should heed both sets of rules.
- Proverbs 22:1 – 1A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
- Proverbs 22:5 – 5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – 13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Plan carefully and seek wise counsel. Do you ever see a winning Super Bowl coach who did not have a staff of assistant coaches… advisors? The head coach makes the final decisions, but the good ones listen to the advice of others and weigh carefully in their decisions the counsel of others. Surround yourself with bad counselors and you will fail.
- Proverbs 22:3 – 3The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
- Proverbs 15:22 – 22Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.
- Proverbs 14:15 – 15The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.
To win at any level, you should carefully evaluate your gear… your tools. In football, you need the right shoes, gloves, helmet, pads, ball, etc. In financial planning, the tools you use (or don’t) are also important. They can be of great help or set you up to underperform your abilities. We recommend you visit our Resources section of our website to find some organizations we recommend that provide helpful tools to assist you in “elevating your game”… to be more effective and successful in planning and managing your finances.
It is important to focus on fundamentals to excel. No team will win the Super Bowl on trick plays and misdirection if they do not also have strong foundation in executing the fundamentals well.
Super Bowl Champions do not start with trick plays and 80 yard touchdown plays as their foundational strategy and neither should you in your financial planning. Avoid greed… assuming you can win with a few big plays… a few high risk investments that are “sure to pay out”. You may want to put a few in as diversification, but don’t put yourself in a position to win or lose solely on “making the big play” over and over again. To those who love money, they will never have enough. Money is a tool to serve God and to support yourself and your family. The draw to “get rich quick” brings much risk.
- 1 Timothy 6:10 – 10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
- Ecclesiastes 5:10 – 10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.
Let’s talk more about your Offense (e.g. earning money) . Offense wins games. Your offensive stars:
- Hard work and a great attitude are a formidable pair. Develop a skill and work hard to generate income.
- Colossians 3:23 – 23Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
- Proverbs 6:9-11 – 9How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10“A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest”— 11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.
- Invest your financial resources for growth. Don’t stuff your mattress with cash in hopes of avoiding risk.
- Matthew 25:14-30 – Jesus teaches us through the parable of the talents. Click the link to read the scripture.
- Ecclesiastes 11:1 – 1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
- Diversify investments to manage risks.
- Ecclesiastes 11:2 – 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.
Finally… Defense wins championships! No one can win unless they can stop the other team from scoring. Similarly, no one can earn enough money to win the game if they spend like drunken sailors. Just consider government spending, which almost always outpaces essentially unlimited income from taxes – it is never enough to satisfy those in government. Defense requires discipline.
- Control spending. Set a budget that matches your income and stick to it in order to control spending. This budget should include short term “monthly expenses” but also saving ahead for long term expenses like a house, university education, future medical expenses, retirement, and contingency funds for the unknown.
- Control debt. Carefully consider any debt before committing.
- Proverbs 22:7 – 7The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
- Romans 13:8 – 8Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
- Save money. Save for known expenses and for unknown. Save for today, and save to have money to invest tomorrow.
- Proverbs 6:6-8 – 6Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, 7Which, having no chief, Officer or ruler, 8Prepares her food in the summer And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Perhaps with a little less fanfare, do not forget Special Teams. They may not affect every down, but they can make the difference in a win or a loss. Prepare for long term expenses such as buying a car, paying off a house, paying for college education, preparing for retirement. To be successful, you must prepare for these things in advance… you can not wait until the special teams is on the field to start planning !
One last piece of advice for your game plan in financial planning… even with the best game plan, you can’t win if you don’t start playing the game! Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to get started.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 – 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
(If you are too worried about the clouds and winds to start preparing the fields and planting the crops… waiting for perfect conditions… you will not have a harvest. The perfect time never comes. Look only for a good or appropriate time to get started.)
Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you prefer a “non-football” version, please review our Guiding Framework.
Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .