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Protect the Lead Thumbnail

Protect the Lead

Article By: Aaron Nolan, CFP®

March is my favorite month of the year. The cold starts to fade. Flowers start to bloom. Most importantly though, March Madness tips off.

Nothing compares to the first four days of the annual NCAA basketball tournament. 48 basketball games in 84 hours is a kind of beauty that only happens once a year. All productivity goes out the window. Basketball is the center of attention for most of the country. Life lessons are being learned.

Okay, that last sentence may sound like a bit of stretch, but it wasn’t when Northern Iowa took on Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA tournament back in 2016.

With 45 seconds left in the game, Jeremy Morgan knocked down two free throws to put Northern Iowa up by 12 points. As Texas A&M brought the ball up the court, the announcers discussed how Texas A&M’s season was over and grasped for filler conversation to take up the final seconds of their broadcast. Statistics showed that Texas A&M only had a .04% chance of winning the game.

Texas A&M quickly scored 2 points to pull within 10. The next 14 seconds would include 3 turnovers by Northern Iowa and 7 points scored by Texas A&M. When Northern Iowa scored with 17 seconds to go, Texas A&M trailed by 5 and were still only given a 2.37% chance to win. 16 seconds later, the game was headed to overtime where Texas A&M would go on to win the game.

There are two separate lessons to take from this game depending on your perspective. The obvious lesson is to never give up and fight till the final buzzer. The overlooked lesson is to make sure that you don’t do something silly to squander your lead. When most people look at something like this, the former gets far more attention than the latter. It is much more fun to discuss the hero than the failure.

Whether it is basketball, life goals, or financial independence, it is easy to know that you need a game plan when you are down big with the clock about to expire. But what about when you have a large lead?

We can often be our own worst enemies, especially when we have a large lead. If Northern Iowa doesn't turn the ball over four times in the final thirty seconds, they don’t lose that game. The final 45 seconds were much less about Texas A&M winning the game and more about Northern Iowa losing it.

At PYA Waltman Capital, we recognize that getting a financial lead is a remarkable accomplishment, but protecting that lead is a different ball game. There may be nothing flashy about creating a financial plan to protect a lead, but it is just as important as creating one to overcome a deficit.

Originally published in West Knoxville Lifestyle.

PYA Waltman Capital, LLC (“PYAW”) is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about PYAW’s investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request.  PYA-24-06