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While watching the opening of World Cup 2014 in Brazil I thought of a few parallels between soccer (football) and financial planning — just for the fun of it. Here we go:

In soccer like in most sports there is a coach. In financial planning that is the CFP or advisor. Similarly in soccer there is a captain. In financial planning that is you and me taking our finances seriously, paying attention, doing our own research and hopefully learning from the coach or financial planner.

In soccer there is a referee who is in charge of the game. A referee’s main objective is the safety of the players; the referee has responsibility to ensure that the game remains fun for players, spectators and the officials. The referee follows the rules of the game and is impartial to the game’s outcome. There are also Linesmen and Lineswomen. Two linesmen may assist the referee in controlling the game. The linesmen’s duty is to signal to the referee when the ball is out; to indicate a corner kick, a goal kick or to designate which team is entitled to the throw-in. The linesmen may also signal offsides, fouls or misconduct if a goal has been scored or when substitution is desired. In financial planning there are regulators who makes and formalize the rules, oversee how business is to be done and by whom. There are also linesmen or lineswomen and we refer to them as compliance officers who help maintain the rules to ensure that policies are in place and are respected.

In soccer there is a goal and that is to score points by placing the ball within the goal post. That is easier said than done; there is constant drilling, tackling, offensive and defensive moves are continuous and fast, time is important, players can and do get hurt, the team is well coordinated, everyone listen to the captain and the goal keeper as well as each other, there are penalties, corner kicks, rules to stay within the lines otherwise the opposing team gets the ball, there is sweat, hard work, passion, strategy, exhaustion, defeat and triumph but regardless of how the game is going losing or winning everyone stays focused on the objective of the match; play to the last second, never giving up. In financial planning we have objectives and life goals to attain, these are done through the proper management of one’s finances. This is not an easy task as it requires a strategy, continuous monitoring, and making adjustments as needed in order to reach the set goals. Understanding how each financial decision can affect other areas of one’s finances. There are risks, unexpected changes due to life events. Market cycles can be unpredictable and impossible to forecast. There are critical patterns often motivated by economic and political conditions that can affect portfolio performance and ultimately the end goal.

In soccer a goal can only be scored if the entire ball goes completely over the outside edge of the goal line, under the cross bar and between the goal posts while it is in play. Any player may score goals, including the goalie. The financial planning process forces those involved to think about goals and to establish priorities to achieve the goals. The common measures of financial performance include profitability and, financial efficiency. In financial planning, like in soccer, the future is inherently unknown. Having a solid plan of action, endurance and taking some educated guesses along the way are key to the process.

Enjoy the game….

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