I love spring. Daffodils sprout their beauty; birds are back to performing Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons;” and the Falmouth High School Softball team once again takes the field.
The girls have really found their rhythm as a team. They’ve evolved from not winning a game for years to making it to last year’s state tournament. Amy Bruce and Ashley Kelly have done a wonderful job at the heart of this successful program, as head and assistant coaches respectively, so this year should prove to be magical.
This is a special year for the Cutters with two daughters on Varsity. Maeve, our senior, has been the starting catcher for the past three years. Phoebe, our southpaw freshman, is pitching. So, we’re excited to see how this season plays out for our dynamic duo.
A few weeks back, the girls took the field for a scrimmage against Plymouth. Plymouth is a dynamic team with four talented pitchers, a ton of bat power, a strong outfield, and discipline on the bases. But, while they may have been the underdog, our Falmouth girls were there to play. After a strong four innings from starting pitcher Molly Bruce, Phoebe got the call straight up from “Pawtucket.” The kid was a bit nervous at first, but she settled in for a one-two-three-out inning. After the Falmouth offense rebutted to bring the score within a run at the bottom of the fifth, ol’ Phoebe went back to the pitching rubber.
As I teach my girls, when a defining moment comes your way, you either define the moment or the moment will define you. When you get knocked down, you better get back up. Then you make it clear that you will not get knocked down again. So, with the bases loaded and one out, I was excited to see Maeve call time out and walk to the mound to help calm her teammate and sister Phoebe. It was just a short conversation and Maeve headed back to the plate. Ol’ Phoebe did ok, with a strikeout and a grounder to third to end the inning.
Between innings, I asked Maeve what she said to her loving sister to give her the courage to get the final two outs.
“So, Phoebe, you put us into a situation here. We have one out, bases loaded, cleanup hitter coming to the plate, don’t screw this up.”
Ahhh . . . sisterly love. So much for my teachings.
Anyway, as I sat there watching the dynamic of the two teams, I got to thinking. You know, saving for the future is a lot like softball. You have to work at it every day. You have to decide to give it your all. Nothing will be accomplished without a winning attitude and the effort to support it. Conditioning, sacrifice, discipline, determination, and dedication are all ingredients of a successful athlete. They are also the same ingredients that make for a successful saver and investor.
Before Falmouth takes that field, Coach Bruce has a plan. She knows who plays each position every inning for the entire game. Yeah, she adjusts along the way as the game unfolds, but she goes in with a plan. She’s in it for the long-haul.
Before our ladies take the field, they are mentally prepared, have a great attitude, and they all supply the effort to support their team goal. Their goal is to win, and they win with runs.
The same holds true for successful savers and investors. The first step is to make that decision to give it your all and to establish your goal. That goal could be to save a million bucks, buy a house, pay for college, plan for retirement, or even purchase a car. No goal is ever achieved without a plan. We call that a budget. A solid understanding of income and expenses is the foundation of financial success. Sure, as life’s curveballs come our way we may strike out here and there. Of course, we will have to adjust along the way but success begins with a plan.
Folks, just like in sports, no successful saving and investment plan is ever achieved without a winning attitude and unwavering effort.
As a successful saver and investor, you must condition yourself to save a portion of every paycheck, sacrifice what you want for what you need, and have the desire, determination, and dedication to see it through. This is our financial offense, our singles, and our singles score runs.
And runs win games.
You see, in a softball game, offensively the idea is to get someone on base, move them around the diamond and score runs. Defensively, it is all about preserving the score to not go backward. Simple, right? If you bring in a run during an inning, you’re doing well. Hold ‘em with strong pitching and defense, well, you help put your team in the best position for future success.
Defensively, we must incorporate investment strategies designed specifically to help preserve capital in times of market stress. We must do whatever it takes to not give up runs.
In softball, we get those great moments, as I witnessed when our Falmouth girls chipped away at the better Plymouth team. Both offense and defense working together for softball success. It was truly amazing. But, it also wasn’t just luck. Those girls worked all winter off the field and now are out there every day, making themselves better on the field.
Sometimes in life, we have great financial moments as well. Maybe you got a bonus at work, a tax refund you weren’t expecting, an inheritance—these are your financial doubles and triples where it’s your chance to put your team on the board. You need to make sure you use your financial windfalls to your advantage.
When it comes to your life, you’re in it for the long haul. Saving today only helps make tomorrow worthwhile. So today, let’s define our saving and investing goal together. Let’s decide today to give it our financial all. Then condition ourselves to earn those saving singles like saving each and every paycheck. Let’s chip away at our goal.
Just like in softball – one run at a time.
Be vigilant and stay alert, because you deserve more.
Jeff Cutter, CPA/PFS is President of Cutter Financial Group, LLC, a wealth management firm with offices in Falmouth, Duxbury, and Mansfield. Jeff can be reached at email@example.com.
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