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  • Writer's pictureBridget Sullivan Mermel CFP(R) CPA

Super Bowl and Financial Planning

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Superbowl who’s going to win? What does it say about financial planning?

Bridget Sullivan Mermel CFP® CPA and John Scherer CFP® talk about some ideas that matter both with the big game and with one of your big games--your finances.


Super Bowl and Financial Planning

John: The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend. Which team is going to win? How does that relate to financial planning? We'll talk about that and more on this episode of Friends Talk Financial Planning.

Hi, I'm John Scherer, and I run a fee-only financial planning practice in Middleton, Wisconsin.

Bridget: And I'm Bridget Sullivan Mermel, and I've got a fee-only financial planning practice in Chicago, Illinois.

John, after the Packers lost the big game a couple weeks ago, I got so discouraged I haven't been following any of the Super Bowl hype, so I was wondering if you can tell me what your thoughts are on the game. I like to know enough so that I can carry on a conversation, and usually I just ask somebody that I know that's into it. So, John, tell me your thoughts.

John: Yeah, I'll give you my thoughts. I just want to make a point, though, before I start -- Bridget, you being a Chicago person, a Packers fan, and when the Packers are done, you're out... I just want to make a point that I love that stuff, all right?

But we've got the big game. I'm a sports guy, you know? We were joking that we did a Valentine's episode; now we get to do a sports episode, so I get my part, you know? And it's interesting, so the game coming up this this weekend here, Kansas City vs. Tampa Bay.

Kansas City has a dynamic offense, a great young quarterback that runs and makes crazy throws and super fast receivers, and their defense is pretty good, but kind of... Defense keeps them in games, and the offense wins.

And Tampa Bay, on the other side, their defense is phenomenal. They make interceptions. They're leading the league in a lot of statistics, and their offense just does enough to win the games. Tom Brady's the quarterback. He's 43 years old, in his 10th Super Bowl, and he's not the player he was 20 years ago, but he still knows how to win.

But it's just these two different approaches, and it's interesting to me that, just for knowledge, knowing like, "Oh yeah, expect that Kansas City's offense is the dominant one, and they're going against Tampa's dominant defense. That'll be an interesting battle, and then the other way around, like the defense for Kansas City is okay, and the offense for Tampa is okay, and then how those things play out.

And I think it's interesting, and so, well, that's wonderful. And you talk about knowing, being able to talk smart, one thing, if you're not into it, is that Kansas City is favored by 3 points, so if you want to sound smart, and you say, "Who are you going to bet on?" You say, "I'll take Kansas City minus 3." That's like the language, you know? You don't even have to know what it means, but you sound smart. Or on the other side, if you like Tampa, you say, "I'll take Tampa Bay and the points," and then people think you know what you're talking about, right?

Bridget: Okay, great. Thanks!

John: Like, that sounds flashy, right?

Bridget: I never get into that stuff!

John: So there's your little tidbit.

So why are we talking about this on Friends Talk Financial Planning? And I think the reason the reason that I wanted to bring that up and have this conversation, in addition to the fact that it's kind of fun to talk about what's going on with the big game, is that it relates to how success can come from different methods.

One team's got a great offense; the other team relies on their defense. And the other thing is that you also stick to your guns to be successful. Tampa, their offense isn't that dynamic. They don't ask their quarterback to make super long passes, and do running, you know, run the ball and do these things. And same thing vice versa. And so you stick to the things that are successful, and this is how they've gotten to the championship game.

And it really relates in our investing and financial planning in general that having a plan and sticking to having a good solid plan -- and there's different ways to accomplish the same thing -- but if you stick to your plan and do it over and over again and practice for a whole season, like they do in football, or for a whole investing career, or for your working life, that's how you achieve success with things. And it's not about bopping around and finding the newest fancy investment or the newest gimmick or the flashy news. It's doing the things that you do, and having a plan, and sticking to it.

So I thought that was an interesting juxtaposition to say, "What is this football thing?" And it's fun to pay attention to, but there's some real lessons, I think, that we can take from that as we think about how it applies in our financial situations and how we make decisions about things. And I think actually one of my favorite quotes, I believe, is from David Booth, who founded Dimensional Funds. And he said that the most important thing about an investment philosophy is that you have one.

Bridget: Right.

John: It's not about "Is this fund better than that fund?" Or "Should we use Vanguard funds or Fidelity funds?" It's that you have a plan and you stick to it, and you make sure that the fundamentals are taken care of.

Bridget: Right.

John: So I don't know if that resonates with you at all, but I thought that was an interesting thing to think about.

Bridget: Well, I think that's true. I think it is important to adjust as new information becomes available and technology increases and improves. But those are the types of things that make you want to adjust.

And I know in football games they make adjustments based on, say, what the match-ups are, like this person playing that person. Then we're going to run more plays according to that. So they make small adjustments even though they have a larger plan of what they're going to focus on.

John: That's a great analogy, and as you said that, I'd never thought about it that way, but this is the point I was trying to make. Think about, like, tax law changes. That's those strategic things. Will they change the tax law to do this? So now we're going to make our donations this way. We're going to do our retirement planning that way.

Similar to, take the game on Sunday. If things go a certain direction, and the teams go in at halftime, they're not suddenly going to change their offensive philosophy or how they approach defense, but they're going to look at these tweaks within their big philosophy, and that's exactly right.

Hey, we've got this big financial plan, we've got a financial philosophy, and yeah, when there's changes in what happens in the tax law or in my job or in my marriage, we're going to make those changes and adjust it. It's not fixed and you never change, but it's having that philosophy. That's a really awesome way to look at it. I appreciate that, Bridget.

Bridget: Well, I appreciate you talking about it. Okay, so it seems like we are looking forward to the game, and we want to mention a couple more things at the end here. One is to subscribe. That helps other people find us, and it helps our rankings on Youtube.

The other is that we're both members of ACP, or the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners. You can find out more at There's advisors all over the country that think like we are. We're all fiduciary financial planners with tax focus.

John: That's right.

Bridget: So, with that, I will look forward to the big game. I'm probably going to have some popcorn.

John: Very good. Sounds good. Have a good weekend! Thanks, Bridget.

Bridget: Thanks, John!

At Sullivan Mermel, Inc. we are fee-only financial planners located in Chicago, Illinois serving clients in Chicago and throughout the nation. We meet both in-person in our Chicago office and virtually through video conferencing and secure file transfer.

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