Author’s note and warning: Heavy, heavy sports analogy follows.
I am an avid baseball fan and die-hard Kansas City Royals supporter. Even if you don’t follow sports, you probably were aware that the Royals made it all the way to the World Series. The epic seven-game series against the San Francisco Giants ended in a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat in the final, and deciding, game seven. The Royals’ storyline was accentuated by the fact that they had not made the post-season, let alone the World Series, in 29 years. This playoff drought was easily the longest of any Major League Baseball team, and a test of perseverance for us long-suffering, blue-bleeding fans.
After my tears had dried and reality set in that the season was over, some perspective dawned on me. Here was a team of relative no-names playing for a franchise that hadn’t found success in nearly three decades, and they were on the very cusp of winning baseball’s biggest prize. Perspective. Nobody expected this finish, especially midway through the season when they were floundering, with a losing record and falling fast in the standings. Hope was evaporating yet again, just like every other year. Perspective. Then something happened, or better said, nothing changed. The Royals and their manager, Ned Yost, implemented a long-term plan many years ago predicated on the disciplined development of young players, the acquisition of missing talent, and the building of a winning culture. Perspective.
When mid-season 2014 arrived and the Royals were seemingly gasping for breath just to remain relevant, the plan did not change, but rather was allowed to remain in place. Perspective. Instead of making drastic moves based on impulse and fear and disrupting the formula to achieve long-term success, the Royals stayed the course. As fans, we often become impatient with such plans when we do not see immediate results. Our angst rises when we witness other teams making moves and changes that appear to give them more of an advantage. Perspective.
Now as I sit here, reflecting on the season and, particularly, on this past month of October, I am forever grateful the Royals stuck to their plan. The loss in the World Series was painful, but momentary. The excitement they provided for Royals fans and baseball enthusiasts everywhere gave us memories for a lifetime and certainly set the stage for continued success in the years to come. Perspective.
Our own personal financial planning parallels, in many ways, the story the Royals have written. Success or failure rests on our willingness to allow a vetted and tested plan to play itself out. Changing our strategy mid-stream for reasons that have no relevance to our own personal circumstances is dangerous. Taking action simply because we see people making investment decisions that appear to be right for them, or making rash decisions to alter our portfolio because of the fear or elation a wild stock market can present, is foolish. Perspective.
Build your plan. Stick to your plan. Trust your plan. Work hard. Save lots. Stay diversified, and go Royals.
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