Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge basketball fan. I can watch anyone play and spend time just watching and analyzing, with the ocassional "OH!" or "Right there!" when I see something on the court that might lead to a basket for either team.
I was reading an article about my favorite basketball coach - college, NBA, WNBA - Pat Summit is it. If you know anything about Pat Summitt and The University of Tennessee Lady Vols, you know the school, coach, and players (past, present, and future) are synonimus with success. What makes Summitt and the Lady Vols so successful is their dedication to hard work. Summitt has the ability to reach each player in a different way to get the best of out them.
Look a little closer and see that when she breaks a player down and builds them back up, this is essentially the same as unlearning bad financial habits and building a repouritre of good financial skills. You wont win a National Championship, but you WILL reach YOUR financial independence.
Summitt emphasizes the "Definite Dozen" - a list of principles that EVERY Lady Vol must adhear to.
These principles are used not only to mold her student-athletes into better basketball players, but more importantly good people.
What does Pat Summitt have to do with finance?
Nothing, on the surface.
But let's take a look at these principles in terms of personal finance and see the connections ...
1. Respect yourself and others - Respect yourself and your money enough to know your worth. This knowledge and respect of your financial situation forces you to treat your finances and yourself as if you deserved the world...because you do!
2. Take full responsibility - We all make mistakes, financial or otherwise, in life. One thing we don't usually want to do is admit our mistakes. But like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is admitting the problem. You messed up, so what. We all mess up. Take responsibility for wasting the money you needed to pay the electric bill on a new outfit. You got caught up in the moment, it's ok. Now you know what you did wrong and can fix it for the future.
3. Develop and demonstrate loyalty - Loyalty to yourself and your money. Being loyal means you treat yourself and your money accordingly. You know what you want out of your life and you focus on it, respect your dreams and your goals and don't let anything stop you. Things will come up but be loyal to your plan and stay on task.
4. Learn to be a great communicator - Being able to communicate what you believe to be worth in your employment choices or your relationship. This allows you to be smarter financially and make your money work for you.
5. Discipline yourself so no one else has to - Discipline is one of the 3 D's to Financial Independence we teach. We all have aspects of our lives we lack discipline at, and our finances happen to be an area we lack discipline. When you have financial discipline you have control your life. You have the discipline has allowed you to better manage your. To have enough money saved to be comfortable about emergencies popping up. To be in a good financial situation during retirement. To have the ability to take vacations, buy things you want. To work the type of job you want to work, not the one you have to work. Discipline prepares you for all of this and ensures that you don't mess it up too badly.
6. Make hard work your passion - Make the decision to work as hard as possible to get the life you want, and sit back and relax. I have a set of things I am aiming to make happen and preparing for if it doesn't. If you are in debt, sell your used items; work extra hours or get a part time job; start a business; use your skills to create extra income.
7. Don’t just work hard, work smart - Make your money work for you, but make it work in the smartest way possible. Automate your savings. Build an Emergency Fund. Save for what you want. Budget your money. Smarter, not harder.
8. Put the team before yourself - Put yourself before anyone or anything else. Most personal finance experts preach paying yourself first. this means taking a set amount of your pay and putting it into savings of some type, typically an Emergency Fund. Your needs should be met before you meet anyones wants. You are the only one who truly cares about your money, start putting yourself first.
9. Make winning an attitude - Attitude and money go hand in hand. Having the attitude that nothing is going to stop you from your goals will ensure that you will "win" or be financially independent sooner or at all. Life has its financial ups and downs, you have to rid out the bad times and prepare during the good times.
10. Be a competitor - I dont know about this one. Competing with others financially is a recipe for failure. Competing with yourself is a better way to be competitive. Make saving a game and reward yourself for meeting your goals.
11. Change is a must - CHANGE is a big part of becoming financially independent. You MUST change the habits that have kept you in a cycle of, well, not having any money. Educate yourself. Reach out for help. Make the necessary changes.
12. Handle success like you handle failure - Life has many lessons for us, some personal, some financial, some job related. Learn from what works for you and what doesn't.
I love the Tennessee Lady Vols because of Pat Summit. Her passion, her ability to take any group of girls and be competitive, her championship reputation. Pat's Definite Dozen can apply to anything in life, try applying them to your financial life and see how life changes for you.