It’s All About The Fundamentals
“Never quit moving” “Stay on your toes” “Work off of the jab” “Defense first”
“Save 10%” “Never get into credit card debt” “Diversify your portfolio”
Boxing and personal finance both have a number of time-tested mantras that are essential to the vast majority of participants. They all seem so simple to people who have become proficient in the respective fields, but yet mastering them can initially be very difficult (and in some cases it appears impossible). Everyone knows they should save 10% of their gross earnings in order to prepare for their retirement, but people do. In boxing there is always the temptation to “play Rocky” and swing for the fences. The crowd loves it and it feels great when the adrenaline rush hits you; however, it is simply not as effective as a solid jab and great footwork. Everyone loves to debate the fine points of personal finance (ex: pay down the mortgage vs RRSP contribution) and boxing (ex: amateur guard vs professional guard) often at the risk of forgetting that as long as the fundamentals are perfected, individuals will probably be just fine.
Achieving Success Requires Discipline
If there are one group of people in the world (aside from monks and soldiers) who understand what discipline means, it is boxers. My daily schedule when I was preparing for a fight was to wake up at 6, go for a run and do some various strengthening exercises until 8, be in class until 1, nap, be at the boxing gym for 5, out at 7ish, supper/homework, bed at 10 (because you’re usually exhausted). This is it for 6 days a week. Oh, and you can’t ever eat anything that you used to love. Compared to this, saving an extra 5% is pretty easy! The easiest, simplest way to get ahead in the personal finance game is simply to ignore the noise around you and focus on what you need to do in order to succeed. Who cares that Mr. Jones down the street has a large new boat and is building a deck on his house? Like my mom would say, “If Mr. Jones jumped off a bridge would you jump off too?!” Having the discipline to up your income and more importantly, save a large percentage of what you do make, comes much easier to some than to others, but it is key nonetheless.
Knowledge, Planning, and Hard Work Pay Off
Some fighters are just blessed with knock out power. They instinctively know how to torque their body into getting maximum leverage behind their fist (think Mike Tyson). The old saying is that you can’t teach power. The personal finance equivalent is that you can’t teach well off parents. There will always be people that inherit money, or win a lottery. People that are given this head start can indeed use it to their advantage and immediately slant the game of life towards themselves; however many manage to erase the advantage completely (again, think of Iron Mike). In any case, knowledge, planning, and hard work are often enough to succeed on their own merits in both boxing and personal finance. Having an investment plan, setting spending goals, and genuinely taking an active interest in your personal finances will pay off down the road, but we have to patient enough to wait for it. Some fighters need to practice years before they are ready to take steps up in competition, but only with soaking up knowledge, and working hard to develop skills can the ultimately succeed.
Everyone Gets Hit Eventually
In order to succeed in boxing you need to be prepared to take a few punches no matter how good you are, and be flexible enough to “roll” with them. In personal finance, no matter how well your budget is balanced or how diversified your income is, there is always the chance of an auto accident, your hot water heater breaking down long before it is supposed to, or trying to find full employment after being fired in a down economy. The most successful people are often the ones that don’t panic when life hits back and are able to adapt to the situation. This is why so many financial experts recommend establishing a solid financial cushion (aka emergency fund).
So being that personal finance and boxing share so much in common, when I hit early retirement I plan on yelling, “YO ADRIENNE…. I DID IT!”