You Can’t Teach Speed

Remember sports?  More specifically, remember baseball?

While I can’t write about what’s going on in the current MLB season, I can still make an easy-to-understand baseball analogy.  So here we go.

It’s a well-known saying in the sports world that “you can’t teach speed”.

And when it comes to baseball, there are FAST players and then there are BASERUNNERS.

There’s a BIG difference in baseball between just being fast and being a great baserunner.  Some of the best baserunners I’ve seen in my lifetime were nowhere near the fastest players on the field.

The best baserunners understand the intricacies of baserunning and know when to be aggressive and know to always look for ways to swipe that extra base and put their team in a better position to win.

The best baserunners also understand when to play it safe and be conservative, go back and tag up, or know not to test the arm of a well-respected outfielder.  You never want to make the last out of an inning or game with a mistake on the base paths.

Being a lifetime Mets fan, here’s a great example:

In Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS, Daniel Murphy went from 1st base to 3rd base on walk while nobody was looking, putting himself in a position to score easily from 3rd, helped the Mets tie the game, eventually win the game and get all the way to the World Series. His heads up baserunning was truly a difference maker when the stakes couldn’t get any higher.

Throughout the history of baseball, some of the players with the highest stolen base percentages were never had the best raw speed on the field.

  • Chase Utley – 87.5%
  • Carlos Beltran – 86.43%
  • Jayson Werth – 85.16%
  • Mike Trout – 84.77%
  • Tim Raines – 84.7%

The list goes on.  The point of all this being: you don’t need to be the fastest player on the field to make a huge impact in the outcome of the game.

The same can be said for earning money and saving money.  In this analogy:

  • Earning money = raw speed
  • Saving money = baserunning skills
  • Winning the game = having a happy, successful financial life

There are always going to be people out there who earn more money than you.  That doesn’t always mean they’re going to be in a better position financially.

Even if you’re not the highest earner, you can still live a happy, successful financial life if you know how to properly run the bases (save money).

In a MarketWatch article last week, they outlined how people of ALL income brackets are being hurt by the coronavirus, and I spoke with Brendan on the Mullooly Asset Podcast about it.

Brendan said:

“…you’ve got the income side of things, but what are expenses like too? And if they’re running pretty equal with each other, and by nature of that, you don’t have too much saved away, then you could be net worse off than somebody who makes three quarters of what you do but lives on less.”

The amount of money you bring in (speed) is only half of the equation.  Learning the right savings habits (baserunning skills) will get you the extra step of the way.  Combine high earnings with top notch savings habits, and you’ll end up the Rickey Henderson of personal finance!

At the end of the day, you may not be able to teach speed, but you can certainly teach somebody how to be a great baserunner.

For any advisors reading this, you might not be able to directly influence how much your clients bring in, but you can certainly influence how much they save.

For individuals reading this, learning when and how to save your money can have a much bigger impact on your financial situation than you might think.

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