Today is Opening Day for Major League Baseball. I’ve been a follower of baseball since I was a little kid, and few things put a smile on my face than a giant cup of Old Style and a bleacher seat at Wrigley Field. Yes, I’m a Cubs fan, even though the team hasn’t won the World Series in my great grandmother’s lifetime.
While gearing up for this year and purchasing some tickets for both minor and major league games, I realized that many of the concepts I have about personal finance are similar to how I feel as a fan of the downtrodden Cubs. For example…
Wait until next year. This is the Cubs unofficial motto, and it’s also one that I’m beginning to employ. Instead of pulling the trigger on big purchases as soon as they seem possible, why not wait another year before upgrading that car? Why not wait five so that I can just write a check for it?
Enjoy the simple pleasures. As I mentioned above, there are few places that I’d rather be than in a seat at Wrigley on a warm June day with a nice breeze blowing in off of Lake Michigan, holding a hot dog in one hand and a giant beer at my feet. I want to teach my son how to fill out a scorecard and encourage him to bring his glove to the park. And I want to see the look of excitement on his face when he catches his first foul ball (I remember mine, caught at a minor league game in the mid 1980s). The simple pleasures in life for me are spending time with my son and remembering times long past – and those don’t cost anything at all.
Keep an eye on the details, but don’t let go of the big picture. I love statistics, and I love watching the little strategic elements of baseball, but I still love jumping to my feet as a ball goes flying off in the distance and the utter beauty of a well-kept baseball diamond. No matter how caught up I get in the details of what investment is right, the important thing is that I’m putting money away at all.
Remember the great stories of those who shined long ago. My son will probably grow tired of hearing about the 1984 Cubs (the first baseball team I fell in love with) and about Leon Durham’s inability to catch a grounder. But he’ll also hear about my grandfather and his frugal ways as well. Sometimes, the past can be our greatest teacher.