What Football Can Teach Us About Finances


The football season is over now, and while that makes my husband very sad, it actually makes me pretty happy since I don’t particularly enjoy football. While I can’t get too interested in watching the game itself, I know there are some things to learn from the game. For instance, it’s better to be on offense and trying to score a touchdown than being on the defense and only trying to keep the other team from scoring a touchdown. For the most part, a team is at a better advantage when they are on offense since they are actually (hopefully) executing plays that will bring them closer to the end zone. They are more likely to score a touchdown when on offense than we they are on defense.

The same goes for our finances. When we are on offense, we are in essence executing decisions that will bring us closer to financial success in life. When we are on defense, we are simply trying to stay ahead and not let things fall behind. By taking control of your finances and doing things that will bring you closer to financial success, you are not having to react to circumstances and take drastic measures to keep you out of the red. Here are some ways you can be on offense instead of defense in your finances. It may seem like you’re only gaining 1 or 2 yards per play, but eventually you’ll get to the end zone and make a touchdown.

Offense: Cutting back on spending in some areas so you can stock your emergency savings

Defense: Cutting back on spending in all areas so you can pay all your bills and minimum payments

If you take the lead on cutting certain expenses in order to stock your savings, you’ll be more equipped to handle unexpected expenses that come up and you won’t be forced to eat Top Ramen and abstain from all extra spending (or worse, end up in credit card debt)

Offense: Funding your retirement plan and saving for the future when you are young

Defense: Having to continue working at age 75 to be able to pay all your bills

You will end up paying for your later years at one time or another — either when you’re young or when you’re old. It’s best to stock up for it now so that you can relax and enjoy life in your old age and not have to worry about working full time.

Offense: Setting up automatic payments on your bills

Defense: Trying to scrounge up money to pay for late fees

A few simple moves to set up automatic payments for your bills will keep you from unnecessary late fees that can incur if you forget to make a payment on time. This can also help your credit score.

Offense: Waiting to make a purchase until the item goes on sale

Defense: Regretting that you bought an item a few weeks ago that now costs considerably less

Pretty much all things go on sale at one time or another. You can either buy it the second you want it and pay a lot more, or you can be patient and wait until it goes on sale. That way you are paying a lot less for the same exact item.

Offense:: Buying an older used car until you can afford to buy a new (or newer) one

Defense: Having to buy an older used car and having to sell you new car because you can’t afford the payments

I personally like to move up and not down. It’s nicer to start with an older car and move up to nicer cars knowing that you will be able to keep them. It’s not as bad going without the extra features when you’ve never had them before, but it’s not fun getting used to having them and then having to downsize.

Offense: Buying a smaller house and fixing it up in order to sell it for a profit to put that money towards a bigger house later

Defense: Having to move into an apartment or move in with family members because you bought too expensive of a house and can no longer afford it

Same with the car one above — you don’t know what you’re missing if you start without it and only upgrade when you can truly afford to do so.

Offense: Going on a vacation and being able to relax knowing that it has already been paid for by money you’ve been saving up

Defense: Going on a vacation and stressing the whole time about the fact that you still have to pay for it once you get home

How relaxing can a vacation be if you know you’ll still be paying for it in a year — or worse, that you don’t know how you’ll be paying for. Peace of mind is just as important on a vacation as where you go.

Offense: Working through college and taking classes as you can afford to pay for them so you can actually keep the money you make in that career field

Defense: Taking out student loans and spending the majority of your career paying back those loans with a large portion of your salary

If you take on a large amount of debt to get a degree, what difference does a bigger salary make if you’re putting most of that money towards paying off your huge student loan debt?

If you choose to take proactive steps in your finances, you can keep yourself from a lot of trouble spots in life. You choose whether you take the steps toward your financial success or if you simply try to fight off things as they come to you. Choose the offensive and head down the field towards your financial end zone.

Image courtesy of jmtimages

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3 Responses to What Football Can Teach Us About Finances

  1. Shannon C says:

    I often think of our finances in terms of offense and defense, too, but I always see earning as offense and saving as defense, with both working together to win the game.

    (I have to tip my hat to the book The Millionaire Next Door for that idea.)

    Your way of thinking helps take the metaphor much farther, though!

  2. Ann says:

    If we could only convince society that working after high school with the intent of working for college instead of going to college after high school with the intent of paying for it later is a reasonable option, fewer people would be in debt to their earlobes with college loans.

  3. Interesting analogy. I am a huge football fan and a total finance geek, so this speaks to me. I’m not sure I would have made the same correlation in each of your examples, but they were thought provoking.

    I agree with Shannon C, that I have always viewed the analogy as offense = earning, defense = saving. There is a saying in sports, “defense wins championships, but offense sells tickets.” Similar to the American public. Big earnings impresses people, but savings are what will allow you to win in the end.

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