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4 Financial Lessons To Learn From The World Cup

By Erik Folgate

landon donovan goalI worked from home today, not because the World Cup was on, but because we were hiring new landscapers and I wanted to talk to them before they started working on our yard. BUT, since a huge World Cup match for the U.S. was playing at 10am this morning, I got my laptop, and started working in the living room while casually paying attention to the game. I saw ANOTHER goal that was taken away by a referee who probably has a chip on his shoulder towards the United States, and I saw a lot of missed opportunities by the U.S. to take control of the game. Then, it happened — one of the most dramatic moments in U.S. soccer history. Just when it looked like the U.S. team would be flying home tomorrow, Landon Donovan cleaned up a miss from Jozy Altidore in the 91st minute of the game to win it and advance to the next round. Your finances are just like that goal from Landon Donovan. Your finances ALWAYS have a chance, as long as you are patient and persistent. Here are five lessons you can learn from watching the World Cup this year:

1. Patience pays off

Clint Dempsey had a goal taken away, because the referee called him offside. The replay CLEARLY showed that he was even with the defender, and the offsides call was bogus. But, instead of burying his head in the sand for the rest of the game, he continued to be patient and look for more opportunities. Altidore had a wide open net from 10 feet away and missed. But, he stayed patient. Patience paid off the for the U.S. soccer team today, because the game was extended four more minutes, and they scored to win it with only 3 minutes left. We’re constantly seeking the quick way to get rich, pay off our debt, and find the perfect job. We want the easy way to do it, but unfortunately, great things don’t happen overnight. You must be patient, and you must continue to repeat good financial habits over and over again.

2. Don’t be shocked by the unexpected

NO one expected New Zealand to tie Italy in the second game of group play, but they did. They were ranked 74th in the world, and Italy was ranked fifth. That’s like Florida Atlantic University beating the University of Florida in football. It doesn’t happen very often, but you shouldn’t be shocked when the unexpected happens in your finances. You may have an unexpected expense that causes you to dip into your emergency fund. That’s why you NEED to have a separate emergency fund for times like those. The stock market will go nuts sometimes. It could shoot way up or plunge to the ground. If you are shocked by this stuff, you’ll be paralyzed by fear and miss opportunities in the stock market.

3. You need a strong defense

One of the most “shocking” goals of the group play was Clint Dempsey’s goal against England. It was shot straight at the goalie, but it rolled out of his arms and into the goal. It turned out that goal did not cause England to miss out on going to the second round, BUT it did cause USA to win the group, and England may face a stronger opponent the next game because of it. It’s flashy to have a strong offense when it comes to your money. You might be really good at scoring goals or making money, but how good are you at protecting it? Your strongest defense is to be diversified in your investing portfolio, buy and hold the proper insurance, and make wise spending decisions. If you do those three things, you’ll never have a huge blunder with your finances.

4. You need great people around you to succeed

When Landon Donovan knocked in the game-winning goal in extra minutes, he was instantly regarded as a hero by the United States. But, he had to have GREAT people around him to make that opportunity possible. It started with the unbelievable throw from the goalie, Tim Howard. He threw it almost half the length of the field. Then, there was as great run by Altidore who put the ball in play to be scored. Then, there was another great run by Dempsey who distracted the Algerian goalie just enough to put him off balance and not secure the ball, and BOOM. Donovan scores. You can’t win with money by yourself. You need accountability and you need professionals around you to help. You need an investment broker that you trust, an insurance agent that you trust, a high-octane real estate professional, a reliable CPA, an attorney that loves attention to detail, and friends and family that support you.

Can you tell that I was pumped up by the game earlier today? I’m not a big soccer fan, but I am for the World Cup. It’s one of the great sports events that we have. It’s more than just soccer. It’s about an entire country coming together to support and rally a team to victory. If you’re in massive amounts of debt, you have an upside down car loan, or you’re facing foreclosure on your home, you can always rally from behind to start winning with your money. It just takes patience, support, defense, and persistence.

(photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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