Note: this post appeared on my previous blog and was published 03.27.18
Ahhh, March Madness is upon us. I love it, my wife loves it, even our kids are starting to get into it. It's very exciting! Weekends full of basketball and every team's chance at One Shining Moment. You have your buzzer beaters, the big upsets, and of course, your bracket(s). I think most people like to fill out a bracket, if only for the opportunity to tell everyone else they picked...Loyola-Chicago?!
And while this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has seen more upsets than usual, I'm pretty confident in the fact that I don't know as much about college basketball as I used to. Hey, life happens. I still like to fill out my bracket, though. It's just a little different than it used to be. You know, pre-kids.
In my pre-kid life, I consumed ALL of college basketball. I knew about every team in the tournament and watched as many games as I could all season long. This year, I think I watched maybe two college basketball games from start to finish. I'd never even heard of Lipscomb!
So I'll let you in on how I picked my bracket this year, you know, if you want some expert advice:
Time spent researching teams: 0 minutes
Time spent filling out my bracket: 2 minutes
How I arrived at my "Champion": I'm a homer and I root for Michigan State (Go GREEN, Go WHITE!). That was easy, until the they lost!
You can see my bracket through the first weekend of play.
Egad, that's a lot of RED!
Now I have to ask a few questions and I want you to be honest with yourselves, and me:
How much time did you spend researching your most recent financial decision?
How much time did you spend understanding the risk involved?
How did you arrive at the decision?
Did you consult with a professional?
What's the impact to you/your family if your decision doesn't work out, because, you know, life happens?
So let's talk about my expert analysis.
I think the first and most glaring admission here is that I'm no expert. And thankfully both of the pools I'm in are "for fun." Because if by chance they required some type of contribution to play, well, I might have been better off dousing that contribution in kerosene and flicking matches at it.
Now, I know what I don't know. I'm a husband, a father, I have a career. Watching college basketball is not a top priority for me. So rather than pretending to know about it, or spending time I don't have learning about it, I filled out my brackets all willy-nilly and made plenty of un-educated guesses. I also made a handful of high-risk bets in the form of upsets. And because Michigan State is my team and was considered one of the better teams in the tournament, it was easy to make them the champs in my bracket.
Why? Because this is fun. And because there's no material impact to my family's life or our balance sheet when my bracket looks like a double-homicide.
Our decisions and our behavior in and around our balance sheets create a tremendous impact on our lives. Everything we do hinges on those decisions and our behavior. It's not something we can do all willy-nilly. While we don't know for sure whether some of our decisions will work out, we can choose to make decisions around the financial factors we can control. And if we can do that, we can be more confident our balance sheets won't end up busted, like my bracket!