In my final year playing youth Softball, I had an OnBase percentage of .721!
For the uninitiated that means that I made it to first base nearly 3 out of 4 times.
I led the league! And that is what made me a coveted lead off hitter.
You would think that I had a superior “eye” and could pick up on pitches out of the strike zone. But the fact is I had a terrible eye, I couldn’t tell the difference between a ball and a strike until it was too late. My saving grace was that the pitchers in youth softball aren’t exactly aces.
As a result, I hardly ever swung at anything and when I did swing, I was so late that all I could manage was a weak grounder. I was sometimes fast enough to beat the throw to first base, but I rarely hit anything in the air beyond the shortstop.
In the days before Billy Beane popularized the use of statistics to analyze a ball player’s offensive value, I was an outlier. When he was general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Beane once referred to his first basemen, Kevin Youkilis, as The Greek God of Walks. But beyond my OnBase percentage, no one was comparing me to Youkilis, the fact is, I was a terrible ball player. Sure, I walked a lot, but all that did was mask the fact that I could barely hit, run, catch, or throw.
Baseball is a game for statisticians, and I love statistics. I can have just as much fun pouring over a box score as I can watching a live game. But in so doing I have learned that one number does not tell the whole story.
Politicians and economists should know this better than anyone. But more often than not, they will seize on one economic indicator and use it to build an entire narrative.
- Gas price goes up? The economy is in the crapper, and we’re all going to be on food stamps by Christmas!
- Jobs numbers go up? We’re all whistling dixie!
- Last week it was reported that inflation hit a 10 year high (3.6%) and suddenly the sky is falling!
Never mind the fact that we are coming out of the worst pandemic in modern history, and the other things I mention, gas prices and jobs numbers too, are all true.
The fact is, like baseball, you can’t measure the strength of the economy by one number. If you could, politics would be easy, and I’d be in the hall of fame.
Needless to say; I’m not a professional baseball player. Neither am I an economist, or heaven forbid a politician.
I am a financial advisor. I spend my days analyzing balance sheets, and the goals and dreams of Canadian families.
Like a baseball box score, your balance sheet tells a story.
It’s a story about what you value and gives clues about where you are headed. It also helps define a path to the life you wish to live. It’s a dynamic story, with a lot of moving parts. One that requires careful analysis and a wholistic approach that doesn’t fixate on any one number.
A few months ago, I started offering everyone a free 30-minute strategy session, where we sit down over zoom (or in person) and talk about the story your balance sheet is telling.
Here’s what Don had to say about the experience:
Wow, just Wow! I never realized how much my love of coffee was affecting my future plans. Now that I have helped secure Howard Schultz’s [founder of Starbucks] retirement, let’s get to work on mine.
Is it time to look closely at your balance sheet? Go ahead and book your strategy session here, and let’s get to work on securing your retirement too.
Have a great week – Lauren
PS: Not ready to commit to a strategy session? Download my eBook; Three Steps to Financial Freedom, instead.
PPS: Back in the early 2000s, Billy Beane changed the game of Baseball forever. Check out the book Moneyball, to understand how he used some of the most insignificant stats to turn the Oakland Athletics into perennial contenders and led the Boston Red Sox to finally break the Curse of The Bambino and win their first world series in over 80 years.