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Football and Financial Planning

February 15th, 2017
By Scott Sarber, President

Football requires a team effort with specialists at each position, and a coach to help the players at each position learn to win as a team.  The coach also does research on the opposing team to develop a game plan; the strategy that needs to be deployed to get a win.  The game plan will play to the team’s strengths while identifying and trying to take advantage of the opposing team’s weaknesses.  During the game, the coaches are calling plays as they adjust to what is taking place on the field.  Similarly, financial planners adjust their client’s financial affairs as tax laws change, new investment products get introduced to the market place, global markets expand and contract, and their goals change.


As financial planners, we often play the role of the coach to the client, who closely resembles the team.  The team has goals.  Instead of winning football games, the goals might be to “retire comfortably” or “have financial peace of mind”.  The planner helps the client with the game plan.  They know all aspects of the client’s financial situation, and take advantage of their strengths (such as ability to save) and mitigate their weak spots (such as being under-insured). They utilize their financial wisdom by diversifying investments around the world in a cost efficient and tax efficient manner.   They make investment decisions for the long-term, and they are aligned with the client’s goals.  Even when the fans may not be convinced that the coaches are calling the right plays, the coach is confident in what decisions should be made.


The individual position players represent the other professionals that are also necessary in financial planning, such as insurance, legal, investment, tax, trust, and banking professionals. They know the client’s goals, and they develop the financial plan to help the client “win”.  These professionals must be skilled in their profession.  The Seahawks missed their free safety – Earl Thomas, who is on injured reserve, because hey are not as good of a team without him on defense.  The same applies in complicated financial planning.  Competent professionals can ultimately save clients hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars!

The Seahawks, unfortunately, did not get to enjoy home field advantage.  They had to block out the noise of the crowd.  It is also our job as financial planners to help clients block out all of the noise of the financial markets.  Every day there are political or economic reports that either promote the “next great investment” or the “stock market is going to collapse”.  The planner spends significant time communicating with the client about how to block out this noise, and not let it be a distraction to the plan.


At Petersen Hastings, we help clients develop a financial plan that will help them achieve their goals.  We outlay an investment plan that will help our clients maximize after tax returns given their specific risk levels.  We work collaboratively with their other professional advisors to make sure their insurance, estate, and tax planning are working together.  We also make adjustments along the way to ensure they are taking advantage of all of the changes that might affect the plan – including changes to their goals.  We do all of this because they are the best practices in our industry… and because we care about our clients achieving their goals!

As the Seattle Seahawks were preparing for a Divisional Playoff football game against the Atlanta Falcons, I was thinking about how similar football and financial planning are.