Fantasy Football and Financial Planning: How Early Preparation Leads to Winning Your League and In Life

Football season is here and, with it, comes a wave of millions of fans who play fantasy football.

Although the number of Americans with a financial plan still trumps those that are setting their lineups each week, there are still some interesting stats. About 33% of Americans have no financial plan. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there are now 33 million people playing fantasy football each year. Fantasy football is a $70 billion market. People love playing fantasy football; they get excited about it – but how often do you hear people boasting about their financial plan? Why are some people willing to spend money on the fantasy football gamble when a return on their money is rare, but less likely to spend as much time or money on securing their financial futures? The fantasy football vs. financial plan conversation may be more correlated than you may think.

There are several common roads to success in both fantasy football and financial planning – here are a few similar themes.

Don't Overthink It

Information overload is common place when it comes putting together a fantasy football team. Who should you start each week, news and headlines regarding injuries, and changes to the composition of a team's depth chart all play a role in setting the best lineup each week. Financial planning is no different. The information regarding financial advice is just as abundant.

To avoid analysis paralysis, set strong goals. The best financial goals are those that incorporate careful though and consideration. Overthinking these goals, or allowing unrelated information to cloud judgement, can lead you to make wrong decisions. Creating a clear path to reach those specific goals can alleviate the overabundance of information.

Winning Early

In fantasy football, teams who start their season 3-0 make the playoffs almost 85% of the time in a 12 person league, according to Automated Insights Blog's Adrian Atkinson and Ben Bruning. This shows how important the draft and the first quarter of each season can be.

What is early winning in financial planning? Get started with a financial plan today; this is a quick win that takes very little time. Put together an early streak and you're in great position to make "the playoffs," i.e. retirement, buying a house, paying for college.

Risk vs. Reward

Fantasy football is a measure of risk vs. reward. Are you betting on the next budding superstar? Do you think you know who is poised for a breakout year? What player is due for a comeback?

The biggest risk concerning financial planning is not starting early enough. The benefits of having a strong financial plan and setting clear goals can reap rewards down the road IF you carefully manage that plan. Even the best draft (initial plan) is only as good as your lineup management (plan management). Creating a financial plan is not an event. Don't risk your financial future by only meeting with your adviser once a year. Create opportunities to connect with them year-round and be more collaborative when discussing your plan. Everyone should have a financial plan that they manage and adjust consistently.

TAKEAWAY:

Unlike fantasy football, you don't have to wait until late August every year to start planning. Instead, begin "drafting" your retirement goals and setting up a plan right now.