The secrets to a great fantasy baseball draft can help you draft a winning financial team. Balance power and speed, and make sure you don’t put too much money into a single position. Additionally, your financial team will hit injuries during the season so you’ll need to adapt on the fly.
First and foremost, both with your finances as on your fantasy baseball team, you need a strategy. Whether your strategy is to focus on pitchers first, to have a balanced team or decide you’re going to punt a category like homeruns and focus on dominating in the remaining categories, the important part is you have a strategy. Just as with your finances, you can track all your spending every month, or you can punt and just focus on just the largest categories. The important part is to have a strategy and follow it. The details of the strategy you choose are less important than your decision to follow one.
When a new season starts, you usually have a few players you keep from the prior year, and the remainder of your team you draft fresh. You should keep just the best portions of your financial team in place, and feel free to add or change the other positions so that you have the best team going forward. You could evaluate if you want to keep your credit cards or open a new one with a signup bonus. Are you happy with your lawyer and accountant? Do you need a lawyer or accountant and you don’t have one?
During the draft, you need to make sure that you address every position. You won’t be competitive without a first baseman, just like you won’t be financially competitive if you don’t have any investments. Make sure every position is filled, even if you don’t get exactly the player you want. Make sure that you’ve got your investments, savings, emergency fund, credit cards at zero balance, and an income of some kind. You need to make sure all these positions are addressed before you add other players to your team. While assembling your team, make sure that you don’t put too much of your budget into a single player, just like with your finances. You need to make sure that you have enough cash to cover all your monthly expenses. If you get a star pair of earrings early on, you may be eating Ramon the rest of the month.
Just like in real baseball, things go wrong, and players get injured. Same thing with your finances, things go wrong, emergency home repairs pop up, you’ll get sick or injured, and you’ll need to deal with the fallout. Being flexible is a virtue in both fantasy baseball and your finances. There are a lot of ways to be flexible in baseball, but not so many with your financial team. The biggest idea that will give you flexibility is having a substantial emergency fund. Without this, you’ll need to be willing and able to cut expenses quickly and deeply should the need arise. This could include cutting cable TV, selling your car, or trying to work a second job.
Whether in fantasy baseball or your finances, the goal is to put together a team that will give you the best chance of winning. Whether that means paying down all your credit card debt, beating the market with your investments by 10%, or adding to your income with a new side venture, you want to put yourself in the best position with the best team.
Readers, who are the star players on your financial team? How do you deal with a setback or an under-performing player? What about a sleeper, something that delivered value far in excess of what you paid?
Karl Nygard is the original founder of Cult of Money and created the website to share his ideas on investing, personal finance, and more.