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Winning Financial Strategy Combines Strong Offense and Defense

by | Feb 19, 2024 | *Financial Awakenings, Asset Protection, Building Wealth, Cash Flow, Fee Only Financial Planning, Financial Therapy, Money Management, Weekly Column


Thirty years ago, jogging with a friend, I told him about the difficult time I was having financially. Even though my business’s earnings were very good, the profitability wasn’t where it needed to be. After listening to me for several miles, he said something I’ve never forgotten. “Rick, you have a great financial offense, but your defense is lousy.”

It was true. My strong financial offense came from being in a business where I was able to make money. If times were difficult, I could increase my marketing efforts and bring in more. Yet my weak defense was failing to control leakage in my revenue from attending workshops, high labor costs, and poor tax planning. This meant I lacked capital for other important expenses like funding retirement plans, maintenance, and having adequate savings for large expenses like taxes, vacations, and purchasing vehicles.

In football terms, my offense was comparable to that of the 2023 Kansas City Chiefs, whose ranking of 9th in the NFL offensively was good enough to get them to the Super Bowl and a championship. My defense, however, was on par with the near bottom 29th place ranking of the 2023 Denver Broncos.

My experience was hardly unique. Probably millions of people in the US have a great offense when it comes to earning money that could provide them financial security. Yet it does not, because their defense in protecting and creating that security is gravely underperforming.

What’s the solution? Like a football team evaluating its performance, you want to keep what is working and improve what is not. This may include finding the right coaches—in this case a good financial life planner and possibly a financial therapist—to help you rebuild.

If you are in a coupleship, the process becomes much stickier. The coupleship’s strengths and weakness are magnified by those of both partners.

For example, if both partners have a great offense but a poor defense, the money will be flowing in and equally flowing out. This could be the case if both partners have money scripts that fit primarily in the Money Avoidance or Money Status categories. They probably will have few disagreements on how the money is spent. Life for this couple is typically full of excitement and experiences, until it isn’t. Their strong offense can keep them in the game until their inadequate defense inevitably collapses into financial crisis and chaos.

Similarly, both partners in a coupleship may have a great defense, but no offense. This could be true if both have money scripts mostly in the Money Worship or Money Vigilant categories. They likely agree on maximizing saving and minimizing spending. Just like the previous couple, they stay in the game happily enough until they encounter a well-being crisis—which could be physical, emotional, or financial—because of a lack of spending on crucial support.

For another couple, one partner may have a strong offense but a weak defense, while the other is the opposite. Their financial game is likely to be full of conflict, especially if they focus on each other’s deficiencies and each partner continues to do what they execute poorly. Yet this pair has the greatest possibility of financial success, if they can learn to identify their own and each other’s weaknesses, embrace each other’s strengths, and work together. This is not easy. It may require the help of a skilled financial “coaching staff,” including a financial therapist.

When partners can learn to embrace each other’s financial strengths, they are able to build balanced, effective strategies for both offense and defense. It gives them the potential to be a championship financial team.

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