What has changed in the last month? It turns out that he-of-the-big-forehead, Peyton Manning, the Colts' quarterback, had neck surgery about a month ago because he was having trouble, you know, turning his neck to look at stuff (note: for those of you who aren't fans of the sport, it is super important to see stuff in football). While there was originally talk of Manning coming back this season, it now seems unlikely that that will be the case as the Colts have lost every game so far, and it makes more sense for the Colts to let their star QB recuperate instead of rushing him back into action and risking further damage. As such, the Colts have already (after 3 weeks of a 16 week season) basically thrown in the towel on the team's chances this year.
|"Huh, I guess I do have a big forehead."|
- Peyton Manning
1) The Importance of Diversification - Prior to this season, many people thought the Colts had a fairly well-rounded team. However, as soon as they lost their starting quarterback, the wheels fell right off of the Colts Express. While any team losing a quarterback is going to very negatively affect that team's win/loss record,* the Colts are looking absolutely horrible, and so it seems like the team had too many eggs in the Peyton Manning basket, and not enough eggs in the other gifted players basket. The Colts didn't diversify their resources as well as they should have.
Similarly, as we buy and invest in financial products, we can easily lose our shirts if we're too invested in one company, and that company goes belly-up. Diversification is as important in our portfolios as it is on a football field.
2) The Importance of an Emergency Fund - Any personal finance blog worth its salt has made an impassioned post about the importance of an emergency fund.** While the definition of what constitutes an emergency is a little vague, the basic idea behind an emergency fund is that sometimes inexplicable things happen in life, and if you have money to see you through them, you'll be a lot better off.
When Manning announced that he was having neck surgery, the Colts didn't really have an emergency fund (read: quality back-up quarterback). Believing that they needed somebody with NFL experience, the team rushed out and signed Kerry Collins, a veteran, journeyman QB who is approximately 39,486 years old. Collins probably suffered a concussion in last week's game***, and now the Colts are having to rely on an inexperienced QB in the form of Curtis Painter. The Colts were unprepared for an emergency, and now they are paying the consequences.
3) The Importance of Planning Ahead - I realize this may be something of a rehash of the above, but there's a little bit of a different spin on this one. I mentioned above that the Colts had claimed that Manning would be back this season, but that they have since stated that Manning won't come back until next year. There's no sense, they apparently reason, in rushing an amazing player back on the field if the team has a losing record and no playoff hopes. Even though the Colts didn't plan ahead well-enough to salvage their season this year, they are hoping that their golden boy investment will pay dividends in coming years, even if it comes at the expense of this season.
What's the personal finance lesson here? Saving and investing money now can feel like a burden, as if we're depriving ourselves of the cash that we've worked so hard to earn. However, all of us acquiesce to the idea that compounding interest will enable us to retire someday. Just like the Colts are putting off immediate returns by getting Peyton back on the field, we are putting off immediate gratification by putting money in our retirement accounts in the hopes that we won't have to work until the day we drop dead.
What do you think? Am I off base here? Are you offended by my likening of human beings to financial resources, and, by extension, think it's hilarious that I am therefore comparing rich football players to slaves? Let me know in the comments.
*Unless you're Matt Cassel from the Patriots a few years back, who, after Tom Brady was injured in the first game of the season, went on to win 11 games and still not make the playoffs.
**It is worth noting that I, to this point, have no such post. Draw from that what you will.
***I say probably because the team has not officially called it a concussion. You see how teams are more concerned about player welfare nowadays?
This post was featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance, #330.