This weekend was the big game, which usually means an entertaining football match up, impressive television commercials and lots of game day food. This year, we watched for a different reason.

We’d like to take a deeper look at how the game works and what the athletes do to prepare for a victory on Sunday to see how we can apply those same strategies and techniques to financial preparation.

Here are our top lessons that football can teach us about our finances.

Don’t Get Blindsided

We’ve all seen those cringe-worthy hits. Huge athletes running into each other at top speed, and if one of them doesn’t see the other coming it can end the blindsided athlete’s career.

In the same way professional football players aim to avoid being blindsided, we should be on the lookout for any events that could put a major hit on our financial futures. This means thinking about things like taxes on your retirement accounts, including on your Social Security income, strategically planning your Social Security withdrawal strategy and knowing how much you can withdraw from your retirement accounts so you don’t run out of money before you want to.

Prepare for Injuries and Emergencies

Even if you follow all of those steps and are as mindful and careful as you can be, there is still a chance that you could get hit with some kind of an emergency situation out of left field. After all, even the greatest athletes can get caught off guard.

We highly recommend having an emergency fund in case you get stuck with an unexpected medical emergency, job loss or urgent home repair. By being prepared with emergency savings now, you can be better prepared for the inevitable emergencies that could pop up throughout your retirement.

Practice Makes Perfect

Professional athletes spend years of their lives practicing for the big game and just like them, we should be practicing for our end game: retirement. That means planning, preparing and thinking through all of the different facets of our retired lives, like where we want to live, how much we want to travel, what we expect our healthcare to cost, etc.

It’s also a good idea to do an actual practice run of your retirement income as you get within a few years of leaving work. Practicing can help you work out the kinks or rethink your game plan so you are able to have the retirement lifestyle you’re working so hard for.

Have a Coach to Help Guide You

In professional football, each organization has a whole team of coaches: offensive coordinators, linebacker coaches and quarterback coaches, just to name a few. All of these people are experts in what they do and as a whole, they can help prepare the team for every obstacle that they’ll come across on game day.

Having your own set of specialized coaches for your finances means that you can get advice from people who focus specifically on each integral part of your financial life, whether that taxes, estate planning or investment management. And having a head coach, like a financial advisor, to bring all of that together can help you achieve the kind of retirement you’ve been dreaming of.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This article was originally published on Feb. 2, 2019 in the Brainerd Dispatch.

Bruce Helmer

Bruce Helmer

Co-Founder, Financial Advisor and Author, Speaker and Host of the "Your Money" Radio Show

Bruce Helmer, a founding member of Wealth Enhancement Group, has been the host of the “Your Money” Radio Show for more than 20 years. He is also featured weekly on the Twin Cities CBS affiliate WCCO, and has penned three financial advice publications.