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Let the Madness Commence !

Today the NCAA men’s basketball championships begin, also known as March Madness (which is interesting because it ends well into April). Money will be wagered by the billions all in the name of a game being played by “unpaid” players.

The NCAA is possibly one of the biggest sports businesses going, as it’s players effectively have no salary and are paid “scholarships” to attend school, however, they do not share in the huge spoils of their work (the NCAA and the playing schools split  a large pot of money from CBS, TBS and other networks). The amount spent on scholarships is closely monitored, and if players are caught taking money “under the table” are disciplined quickly by the schools (who would lose NCAA accreditation and funds if found out).

All of this may change soon, as Ed O’Bannon a former player for the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team is suing the NCAA and the case is going to trial . Mr. O’Bannon is fighting to be compensated for the NCAA selling his likeness (and/or profiting from it) specifically with EA Sports. This should make for a very interesting case, to see how the NCAA argues their rights as “Lord and Master” over the players in their leagues.

The NCAA is also fighting on another front as a group of players are attempting to Unionize the “Student” Athletes as well (the NCAA suddenly claims to be a scholarly organization only concerned about education in this case).

All of this to point out that while you are watching all these fine “student athletes”, remember, most of these kids won’t make dime one on any of this. Very few will make the NBA, more may play in Europe, but most will leave school (according to this article for basketball players the graduation rate is 70%) and do something else, with only memories of their glory days (and no cash in their pockets).

The coaches that you see prowling the sidelines however, their pockets, are full of cash. According to this article the average salary of the coaches that made the final 68 in 2012 was $1.4 Million. Holy cow! Yes, these men (and one day maybe women, I hope) are excellent tacticians, motivators, and hopefully teachers, but when you are making $1.4 M and your players are living a student’s life that is an amazing discrepancy.

Athletic Directors (the Coach’s bosses) on a larger cross-section earned (in 2009) on average about $324,779 according to Bloomberg and this article.  That is nothing to sniff at either (and due to the size of the sample many smaller schools were counted to lower the average).

All of this to say, enjoy the Basketball, it is an amazing spectacle, and for a Basketball Loon like me, it is very close to Nirvana, but remember you are watching young men, who won’t be cashing in.

 

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Best of: Don’t Pass It To The Other Team!

I have been reading through my archives of articles and found one of my favorites, where I get to combine my love of Basketball and Financial Planning, which is always fun! Oh and Carleton won for the Nth straight year, this past year, if you were curious.

So one of my sidelights is coaching basketball, and I love going to clinics from coaches who talk about coaching and plays and stuff (I’m an old gym rat at heart). Last Saturday I was lucky enough to hear from Dave Smart who is the head coach at Carleton University (the Ravens have been Canadian Champions the last 3 years running), and he was fascinating to listen to. Coach Smart admits to being a perfectionist and telling it like it is, and one of the expressions he tells all of his players is “Don’t Pass the ball to the other team“.

The first time you hear this expression it sounds obvious, of course, who would do that, but what Coach Smart was trying to say (I think) is most basketball players watch their own players, but rarely see the other team’s players. If you watch the defensive players, you won’t pass it to them! Simple, right? No! You know where the offensive player is going to go, you don’t know where the defender is going, and you need to watch them!

What does this have to do about finances? (Darn good question, get ready for a stretch here) Don’t take your eye off things that you can’t control, the stuff you can control, your savings, your retirement, your investments, your debt reduction plan, if they are under control that is good.

Don't pass it to the other team
Coach Smart

You have to plan for the things you don’t control, and that means:

  • Reduce DEBT! You can’t control interest rates, you can’t move forward with your car in reverse. Debt reduction is first and foremost. Everything else can be dealt with much more easily if you are carrying little or no DEBT!!!
  • Have contingency funds in place for:
    • Car repair. I am guilty of that one, car repair bills always throw me off kilter
    • House repair. I am going to get a major bill to replace the roof and furnace on my house, but they had to be done. If your house is new, you’ll need to replace these things in 15 years, but in 15 years, if you haven’t saved any money for it, it’s going to HURT!
    • Catastrophic illness. I have long-term disability insurance with my company just in case. If I had a stroke tomorrow, my family would at least have an income of some kind.
    • Loss of employment. If you lose your job, how long will you last? A priest once told me everyone is 12 weeks away from living on the streets, make sure you are not one of those folks
    • Death! Term insurance to protect your family, and a will to protect them even more (thanks Dividend Guy, for pointing out I missed that).

These are SOME of the unknowns, that you need to watch for, and not pass the ball to them!

Hope for the best, and plan for the worst!

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Money Catch Phrases

Favorite Sports Catch Phrases & Money

Growing up, I was (and still am) a sports fanatic, I loved watching sports on TV (and even listening to them on the Radio), because of the colourful characters that described and broadcast the sports. Today the Cult of Personality of today’s talking heads is astounding, but growing up there were fewer of these powerful voices, and thus easier for me to remember (and cherish).

What does this have to do with Money? For one thing, there aren’t that many fun money catch phrases, are there?

Pretty dry and uninteresting, also with my love of the Top N List post that bloggers so cling to caused me to think of my own odd list, and so I give you the following premise: The Top 5 Sports Expressions as Applied to Money.

“… Turn out the Lights, the Party’s over…”

The Late Don Meredith used to sing this phrase on Monday Night Football, when it was obvious that one team was going to win (i.e. one team had an insurmountable lead). For my parents that was when they told me I had to go to bed, because I had school the next day, so I actually never liked that phrase, but in hindsight it is a wonderful expression.

I’d love to be able to sing that tune for my debts, tell those debts that they are through, no more sucking my money away you nasty debts, the lights are going out on you, and I have won!

“… Up, up and away!! A Home Run…”

Dave Van Horne borrowed this from the DC Comic Superman, and would say it when one of my beloved Expos would hit a home run, and it even sounded better on the radio. This powerful phrase made me so happy to hear it, because I knew something really good had just happened.

If I walked into my bank, and on the day I paid off my loan and then announced, Up, up and away!!! My Mortgage is now paid off!”, you think they might get out a set of handcuffs and cart me off? My guess is I would certainly get a lot of funny looks.

“… A cannonading drive by Cournoyer…”

Danny Gallivan the voice of the Montreal Canadiens loved to create these overly flowery descriptive terms for plays made by the Habs (e.g. the Savardian Spinnerama), and I didn’t really understand this term until I got older. The expression is describing how hard the puck is shot (by Yvan Cournoyer in this instance), but again it gives you the feel of the accomplishment in its description.

If I made a good financial plan and executed one particular part of it in a good way, could it be a Cannonading Personal Finance blow? Maybe not

“… Down goes Frazier!”

Howard Cossell was the original man you loved to hate in the world of sportscasters. His arrogant attitude, and over use of adjectives made him a much maligned broadcaster, but I enjoyed listening to him, and his call of the George Foreman vs. Joe Frazier match spawned this one expression that is synonymous with the end of something (it’s over).

Down goes the Visa Bill! I like the tone of that one, wish I could just throw one punch and make that debt go away.

“Holy Cow!”

Either Phil Rizzuto (Yankees announcer) or Harry Carey (Cubs Baseball announcer) brought this one forward, and it is an excellent inflection for an amazing event. You actually hear Phil Rizzuto say this phrase in the Meatloaf song Paradise by the Dashboard Light, so it is very much a cultural icon.

I tend to yell Holy Crap! more about a lot of my financial adventures, but yelling, Holy Cow we are out of Debt would be a phrase I would love to yell out loud one day. More likely than not I would yell Holy SH*T we are out of debt!

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I still blame the Refs (especially NFL Replacement Refs)


After watching the debacle in the NFL Monday Night Game, one might think I still agree with I blame the refs and this instance I think I do, but in general the job done by most officials is just fine.

The NFL replacement ref catastrophe is about the same as if you were to use my blog as your investing authority. I get some things right, but I am certainly no authority, and if you asked me a direct question (and could actually get me to answer) you most likely would get some less than stellar advice. On Monday night we saw what happens when Management assumes that all workers are interchangeable, where the NFL is assuming that their officials (who are incredibly closely scrutinized) can be replaced by High School

Officials (since the University and College officials refused to act as scabs for the games).

A Call that will live in Infamy

Making the assumption in life that: I don’t need an expert’s advice on this, I’ll just ask Big Cajun Man or my Uncle Fred for advice, is very dangerous. Yes, you might get good free advice, but it is not very likely. Deal with a trusted professional if you are building a house, or in any other instance like that. Are all experts always correct? Nope, that is why you need to find someone who others trust (i.e. people who are trusted by people who you trust) to get expert advice.

What might happen if you don’t? You might have an Interception called a Touchdown, causing $250M  worth of bets to change on one very badly officiated play.

Oh and Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman are both ruining their businesses for the sake of wanting to be right (IMHO). You are helping Conan O’Brien get some good material mind you:

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Football, Heat, Drafts and Sunday’s Best as well

Euro 2012 is getting down to it, with an interesting metaphor for the entire Euro Financial meltdown, when Germany smashed Greece (hey, someone had to point that one out). Football as a metaphor for finances? Whodathunkit?

It has been hot here in Ottawa, but may start cooling off in the next few days (we can hope), lots of plants are looking burnt, as is my grass. The Lawn fix it services keep coming by and asking me if I want to buy their services, I have a stock answer, “… does it look like I give a crap about my grass?”, they usually go away quickly after that.

The NHL Hockey draft has come and gone as well, and now we have to ask, “Who screwed up the most?”. The thing with the draft is it is a lot like a financial plan, you can’t tell whether it was any good for a few years (gotta love those sports finance metaphors).

On the Twitter feed we eclipsed 1100 followers, which is cool, but it does keep going up and down (so I guess folks follow for a while, and then unfollow). Sorry if you have left, hope you come back one day, but I did bring back some oldies buy goodies from the archives (they are marked (OBG) if you are curious):

  • With Fathers and Money I reminisced about my Dad (who passed away last year), parents do actually teach their kids a lot about money (even if they don’t realize it).
  • With Computer Virus Scan is it a Scam? I point out that the whole computer virus game is a bit of a mug’s game, but what can you do about it?
  • You know you are really secure when Your Shredder Overheats, but maybe you should do it in smaller loads?
  • Men’s Health brings up the point that if it wasn’t for Viagra a lot of men would NEVER go to the Doctor.
  • What would your answer be if I had a Trillion Dollars (to paraphrase our friends at the Bare Naked Ladies)?

Remember to check out the Twitter feed, and various other Social Media places where I live (including this page on Facebook as well).

You keep seeing the TLA ETF appear and wonder what we are all talking about? That’s OK, I only found out because the N.C.F.B.A. explained it to me (in mono-syllabic (or less) words). Here is a good video from Khan Academy to help you with the concept(s):

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