Why Investing is Like The NFL

I do a LOT of videos, as you can probably attest to. I’ll do 3 a day until i run out of things to say or run out of money. I assure you, I will run out of money first.

I can literally just read my news feed and discuss ALL the articles that come by and all that is wrong with them. I don’t plan on doing that though as I would go insane reading all the stuff that comes down the line as valued research. Most of it’s just fluff to get you to “talk to us”…

But today I did come across this article from Morgan Stanley on the 5 Pitfalls you should avoid in your retirement planning. Pretty good headline. Click bait to some degree as the headline is so powerful in determining if you read the article or not. So, I bit. I said to myself, “I wonder what Morgan Stanley sees as the 5 Biggest Pitfalls?”

And while there was a couple interesting tidbits, it’s basically just another rehash of the tried and true and SO OLD fear that health care is going to cause you bankruptcy.

You need over $500k in savings to cover your health care costs!!! Did you know that??? Do you have that???

No? Well you better talk to us to get a plan together so you won’t be destitute in retirement eating catfood and having your granddaughter changing your diapers as you have an accident, shall we say, while she is wheeling you towards the toilet!

I hate, HATE, these kinds of articles. Using averages. Ask any statisician about using averages vs. median. Averages simply do not tell ANY kind of story you would want to use in your own financial plan

Why? Well what’s the average in Bill Gates and my net worth? Man, we’re rich!!! Who knew?

But, as you can quickly attest to, that average is completely meaningless. 100%. As are a lot of the “statistics” when it comes to health care in retirement.

I’m not saying don’t plan. I’m not saying don’t get a long Term Care Insurance policy. My wife and I BOTH have LTCI policies. I am saying though to read deeper into the arguments and see if something is being overlooked.

In this case, with this article, there is a BIG something and it’s important for you to understand it. 


What does the average record each year in the NFL? Remember, there are 32 teams and they each play 16 games.

The average record is 8-8, which is a 500 wining percentage. And that will ALWAYS be the average record.

Yet, in 2017, there were 17 teams with winning records, records above a 500 winning percentage and only 14 teams who were sub-500, with only 1 team going 8-8.

How can that be? Shouldn’t there be the exact amount of teams with winning records and losing? No. Because some teams do far worse than average, in this case the Cleveland Browns went winless.

What does this have to do with investing? The EXACT same thing happens in investing. Some stocks do incredibly well and others not so much, in fact some stocks go bankrupt, never to be heard from again.

However, regardless of what happens to Google or Sears all the investors will return an average each year. And just like the NFL if there are two teams both can not be above average. The records will always level off at 8-8.

In investing if one investor ‘wins’, i.e., beats the average, one must lose. Both investors can not be above average. It’s impossible.

But unlike the NFL, ALL investors CAN win the Super Bowl. How? Because investing is simply owning shares of companies that are increasing earnings and maybe paying dividends.

If I own a company that is growing in value and thus my net worth improves that has no affect on you whatsoever. We can BOTH increase our net worth at the same time regardless if we ‘beat’ the market or not.

Investing is nothing more than owning growing companies. As long as those companies earnings grow, we ALL make out. Notice it has NOTHING at all to do with “beating the market”. It solely has to do with owning companies that grow.

Yet, everyone seems to focus on ‘beating the market’. Why? If you ‘beat the market” inherently I must lose as like I said before we both can’t win.

The irony though is we can both lose! THink about it like this. The market averages 8%. Yet you got 8.15% and I only 7.85%. So, you win….

Oh but hold on there chap! Your investment strategy cost you .50% in fees as did mine. So, NET of fees, which is all that matters, you had 7.65% and I had 7.25% returns. We both underperformed the market average.

When fees are factored investing actually becomes a less than zero sum game because the vast majority of investors dont’ even get the average returns. THey are so focused on ‘beating the market’ the miss the forest for the trees.

If they simply reduced their expenses, diversified among owning many companies, via an index fund, they would have average returns, which would actually outperform the vast majority of investors.

This would be like the average NFL team being docked a win because of high salaries or something and thus the average team, NET OF COSTS, would be 7-9 when the average actual record was 8-8!

And we haven’t even factored taxes in yet either. Throw taxes in because of excess trading and the average investor does even worse.

So remember investing is simple. Own companies that are going to grow. Some will some won’t but on average in a somewhat capitalistic economy you could get decent growth out of these companies.

You making money does not prohibit me from making money either. The only time when we are in competition as investors is when we’re trying to beat the market. Then, one of us has to lose, but in reality, after taxes and fees we both will.

© Copyright 2018 Heritage Wealth Planning