Your Investments: Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and financial optimism

For baseball fans out there, nothing compares to Opening Day. It’s a new season where everyone has an equal chance of winning the World Series.

March 28, 2019 22:53
3 minute read.
Mar 28, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels players

Mar 28, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels players line up before the game at Oakland Coliseum. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Well-a, beat the drum and hold the phone, / The sun came out today... Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today / Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today / Look at me, I can be, Centerfield. – John Fogerty, “Centerfield”

For baseball fans out there, nothing compares to Opening Day. It’s a new season where everyone has an equal chance of winning the World Series. Just like in the Jewish calendar where we celebrate Tu Bishvat, which is about, among other things, renewal of nature and the optimism that comes with that very renewal, Opening Day is similar.

Forget about the last place finish last season and focus on this year’s potential. It’s also a sign that warmer days are just around the corner. For some, Opening Day has religious undertones (mostly for die-hard fans of lousy teams, some of which haven’t made the playoffs since 2001 for example – can you say the Seattle Mariners!)

Reality bites

What does the beginning of the baseball season have to do with your finances? Well with a few weeks, for most teams the optimism fades and reality strikes. Charles Schwab conducted a survey last year about young people’s approach to money. It showed that they are very optimistic and very unrealistic as to their finances.

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz writes, “While more than 80% of young people surveyed saw their parents experience financial hardship during the recession, 76% believe their own financial future will be better. The behavior of this same group isn’t so positive. Average savings is a pretty impressive $1,600 but unfortunately average debt is more than $8,000 – with Millennials saving only 15% more than Gen Z while accruing 169% more debt.

“The two stats don’t quite compute because creating a secure financial future means managing your money wisely in the present. A few other misconceptions also are cause for concern. For example, according to the survey, young people expect to retire at age 60 – seven years before they’d be eligible for full Social Security benefits (and 10 years before they would get the largest payout). Plus, more than half believe they’ll receive an inheritance from their parents, which is increasingly less likely with longer life spans. ”

Turn bad into good

Not all in the survey was bad. One issue that really stuck out was their desire to learn about money management. The fact that they don’t believe that they know all that there is to know about managing money is huge. It means that with the right education there is plenty of time to right the ship and get them on the path to financial security. I would suggest a few tips to turn their optimism into something productive.

1. Discus your money mistakes: We all make mistakes and our kids are the first ones to notice. As such turn those mistakes into a teaching moment. Discuss one or two things you did that were costly and admit that you screwed up. Have your kids participate and have them figure out what the mistake was and how to rectify it.

2. Have them set goals and make a plan: I am constantly writing on the importance of defining your short- and long-term goals and then create an investment plan to go ahead and try to achieve those goals. Do the same thing with your youth. Have them define something, financially, that they would like to accomplish and have them map out their own plan, with your help, to achieve the goal.

3. Education: This goes for everyone. Keep reading about financial management. There are always new tools available to make life more efficient that can translate into a lot of money earned/saved down the road. It’s certainly okay to keep the basic principles of no debt, live within your means and save and invest, as your guiding light. But stay educated as to all the new information available.

Let’s use the optimism, and before reality strikes, to get them on the path to financial independence. It’s a win-win. They become financially secure and we don’t need to support them. Go Mariners!

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.

Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.;

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