March Madness Lessons on Retirement Planning

It’s that time of year again. March Madness is taking over the nation and you’ll soon be filling out your brackets for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. But did you know that how you select your teams for the tournament can actually help guide the way you handle retirement planning? Here’s how:

1. No Rewards Without Risk

It’s very hard to win the tournament pool if you don’t take a few chances. You may be tempted to choose the highest profile basketball programs for your brackets, but the favorites don’t always go all the way. Smaller schools will often make the tournament interesting by upsetting the favorites, so pick some smaller schools to shake things up. You should do the same for your retirement savings. Putting money away is great, but there are other ways of saving, such as taking advantage of an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like a 401(k). Many companies match a portion of the money you contribute. Make sure to explore various avenues that can help you save.

2. Make Adjustments

Good coaches have a plan in place at the start of every game, but they are also able to make adjustments on offense and defense to beat the opposition. You should take this same approach with retirement. As you build your nest egg over many years, there may be some expenses that derail your financial plan for a time, such as an illness, or having to take care of a family member. Expect changes and be flexible to keep your retirement game plan on track.

3. Do Your Homework

When you’re selecting teams for each bracket it helps to be informed about their status going in to the tournament. Are all the players healthy? Has their game play remained consistent throughout the year? When you’re planning for retirement, knowing the ins and outs of how to go about saving for your golden years is important. Your long-term roadmap should include setting up an emergency fund, paying off your loans and saving as early as you can. A common rule of thumb is that you should be saving 10% of your pre-tax income for your own retirement. Don’t think you know enough about how to save? Seek out tools developed by trusted, reputable experts to help you make a plan.

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