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More from the Winter Games- Check Your Alignment

| February 22, 2018
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As I was taking in my eighth straight night of Winter Olympics coverage, I began to wonder what exactly makes me a passionate fan of ski jumping, curling and biathlon for exactly two weeks every four years. I know that the pageantry of the opening ceremonies and the patriotism on the medal stands are a big part of why I watch, but I think that it’s far more an appreciation of exactly how focused and dedicated each athlete is to his or her sport.

It seems that each “backstory” snippet that NBC produces for the various athletes has a common theme: a passion for something that was found early in life, followed by a tireless pursuit to achieve the highest success while overcoming obstacles that would stop most people cold. Obviously, our network focuses on amazing stories like Lindsay Vonn in skiing, or Shaun White in snowboarding, but anyone who has a lifelong dream to become an Olympic gold medalist would know from a very young age that they would need to make a commitment of time, focus, and energy to that goal. They wouldn’t have the luxury of skipping practice days, or stagnating in their skill level. Instead, to reach that goal, the athlete would dedicate an excessive number of hours each week to training and practice, would probably change eating habits, and would likely learn all there is to know about their competitors. Then, having decided on these priorities, each would not only hire fitness trainers to keep on track, but also a team of coaches to improve every weakness and maximize athletic gifts. For Shaun White, he needed the courage to hire a new coach to develop a new path when the old one was no longer suitable.

This same fundamental principal is the basis and understanding of our financial planning process. Before diving into our DBT360 steps, I work with every client to first discover their MPB: Motivation, Priorities, and Behaviors.   When these three are not aligned – whether you are an investor with life goals, or an athlete with gold medal hopes – it is hard to achieve your desired outcome. White’s motivation was to return to the Olympics and claim gold. But if his priority was on his businesses, or his behavior was to keep the same coaching staff and hope for different results, he might not have been ready to compete this year.

For a “weekend warrior” investor, it is easy to see how MPB can become misaligned:

Motivation:        I want to be financially independent.

Priority:             I would rather spend more money on fun than on long-term goals.

Behavior:          I eat out so much and take so many vacations that I don’t have the ability to save.

On the other hand, a “Lindsay Vonn” investor will practice elite skills where the MPB components work in a self-reinforcing cycle:

Motivation:        I want to be financially independent.

Priority:             I design my budget to dedicate funds to long-term goals and essentials first, and then spend the leftover funds on eating out, travel, luxuries, etc.

Behavior:          I keep a healthy emergency fund, have no credit card debt, and maximize my contribution to my 401(k).

All of the 243 Team USA athletes competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have made disciplined choices for years to arrive where they are. They are masters of the MPB cycle.  While only a few of them will come home with gold, each has prepared as well as possible for that opportunity. For investors, the goal of “financial success/independence” is one that doesn’t have a single winner - everyone can use the MPB cycle to maximize their chances of reaching the goal.

For more information on aligning your motivations, priorities and behaviors to improve your shot at gold, visit debrabrennantagg.com and learn about our DBT360 Financial Plan.

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