Today I have a guest post from Kris Bickell and the money lessons he learned from playing baseball as a youngster.
Spring is in the air, and so is the excitement about the start of another baseball season. When I was young, I enjoyed the start of little league practice. People often say you learn a lot of life lessons from sports. But little did I know how much about life – and more specifically about money – that I would actually learn from playing a kid’s game.
Here are 5 of those lessons:
- Not everyone will have the same amount of success. These days every kid gets to play in every game, and every kid gets a trophy at the end of the season. But back when I was a kid this wasn’t the case. You had to earn your way onto the field. And only the championship teams got a trophy. I know, these days we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. But that’s not how money works. You don’t earn a large salary just because you are a “nice person”. And your investments won’t yield big returns just because you choose socially responsible companies to invest with. You can win big – or you can lose big – whether you are good or bad, nice or mean, big or small. But everyone can build a successful business. Everyone can pay off their debt. And everyone can build a nice financial “nest egg” if you work hard enough.
- Taking risks is a risky strategy. In baseball, sometimes taking a risk will work, and sometimes it won’t. So you need to learn when taking a risk will help you & your team, and when it is just the wrong time to try. For example, when swinging at a pitch, you need to think fast. Swing and miss and you could be the goat. Swing and get a hit and you could be the hero! It takes discipline to learn when to swing. And it takes discipline to know when to make a risky financial decision. Playing it safe might keep you out of the poorhouse, but rarely will you become rich! So, while we all want to find that one great opportunity that will make us lots of money, you need to decide how that risk fits with your financial goals. If you take a big risk, can you afford to lose that money? If so, then maybe it’s a risk worth taking. If not, then be careful!
- There is more than one way to win. Some baseball teams win by hitting long, powerful home runs. Other teams win by hitting a bunch of short singles. Both can work, for the right type of team. So when you are thinking about your money, think about whether you want to “hit a home run” with one big money move, or take the safer route and build your success over time. There’s an old saying – “if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is.” Just ask anyone who invested with Bernie Madoff. So, while there are many ways to make money – through sound investing, building a business, saving regularly – watch out for those promises of getting rich in 7 days or getting out of debt overnight.
- Practice, practice, practice. Nobody is born as a big league baseball player. And nobody is born as a financial expert; although if you’re lucky, you may be born into a rich family. But for most of us success & wealth takes time. It takes desire. It takes a lot of work. And it takes learning from your mistakes. So if you want to pay off your debt, learn all the different strategies for getting out of debt, start using them, and follow the ones that work. If you want to save $1 million dollars for retirement, learn about all the different ways to grow your money, and start using them. And when things don’t work out quite like you wanted, learn from those mistakes and keep trying.
- Stay focused on your goals. There’s no doubt having goals is an important part of success in any endeavor in life – from baseball, to losing weight, to becoming more successful and making more money. But just having goals is not enough for many people. You need to have a clear vision of those goals, you need to write them down, and you need to also write down the steps for reaching those goals. A goal of “having a good baseball season this year” is easy to forget. A goal of “hitting .300 by taking 100 swings every day for 30 days before the season starts” is much more likely to give you the results you want. Just like “making more money” is a vague goal that you are not likely to achieve, “paying off $5,000 in credit card debt by putting aside an extra $110 every week for my credit card bills” is much more likely to motivate you to reach your goal!
So there you have it, the lessons I learned about money from my little league coach. Of course, sports need to be fun as well as educational. But what’s wrong with learning something along the way? For me, it was a valuable experience.
What lessons have you learned from playing sports as a kid?
This article was written by Kris Bickell from www.Debt-Tips.com, who learned a lot of lessons about getting out of debt and managing money the hard way.