Once school starts, kids’ schedules can feel as busy as yours—especially for those involved in sports.
From practices and games, to hours spent helping your child perfect a pass or a spot-on layup, it begs the question: is the time commitment worth it? While we all know sports teach diligence, it can also teach them a lot more—even when it comes to personal finance. Here are five things your child will be learning this season (not counting that killer backstroke).
Practice Makes Perfect
Long live the mantra adapted by so many coaches. In sports, what you do before the game is nearly as important as what you do during the game. Think back to the Olympics. The skills performed by superstars like US gymnast Gabby Douglas look impossible. Before winning the gold, she had to perform those skills thousands of times. Eventually muscle memory and confidence kicked in and she made her way to the podium. Saving and budgeting can be a challenging skill to master, but do it every day and eventually it will become second nature.
Eyes on the Prize
Athletes know that it’s the little things that count. A second too slow, a misstep to the left and the glory may go to your opponent.
In sports, kids learn to anticipate the moves of the other team, think ahead and react quickly. Personal finance is no different. Anticipate the moves of the market. Think ahead to your goals. Automate your reaction—set up your bank account so that savings are automatically transferred each pay cycle.
Go For the Gold
No one becomes a sports star overnight, and no one becomes rich overnight. Mistakes will be made; games will be lost. Michael Phelps made a lot of sacrifices on this way to the top, but with enough perseverance, he became the most decorated Olympian of all time. He also became wealthy, with an estimated net worth is somewhere in the $40 to 50 million range. The point? Sometimes hard work pays.
Many former spenders have become savers by learning how to save and how to live on a budget. It’s not always fun, but it can lead to big bucks in the bank. Your tyke may not become Phelps, but sports can teach him (or her) the value of patience and perseverance.
It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over
We’ve all watched sports games where one team thought they had the win in the bag and relaxed their vigilance, only to have the other team come back and pull off an incredible upset.
One of the toughest things about managing your finances is sticking with it. Sometimes life throws us a curveball—an investment didn’t go the way you thought, or the economy crashed and your home’s underwater. As tough as those situations may seem, you can’t throw in the towel. Even if you’re down 14 to 28 in the second quarter, things can turn around. Play harder, play smarter and never give up.
There’s No “I” in Team
Many people brag about being self-taught and self-made, but everyone needs a little help sometimes. In basketball, how many points a player scores may determine who walks away as the game’s MVP, but that doesn’t mean that players like John Stockton, who holds the NBA record for assists, aren’t equally as important. Finances may seem deeply personal—and sometimes, they are. But as we get older, and finances become more complicated, they become a team sport. Spouses must work together to achieve financial goals, whether it is buying a house or saving for your child’s college fund. To really win, you’ve got to work together.