I had a number of topics come to mind that I wanted to touch on this month, so instead of choosing one I’ve decided to select a few, all related to the month of March.
Five years ago, on March 1, 2016, I started my independent financial planning practice. For someone with a fairly conservative nature this was a step of faith but one that I strongly felt called to. I am grateful to say that though there have been many lessons learned, I have no regrets and am fortunate to love what I do and would like to think I am having a positive impact along the way. For everyone who has supported me in one way or another, I want to sincerely thank you! This of course includes my family, friends, clients, and others that have supported this venture and provided guidance and encouragement along the way.
Next up, it has been just over a year since the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national emergency. I remember it well because it was on my birthday, March 13th, when things changed quickly for all of us. Kids were kept out of school, church and work had to be done from a distance and the world felt very strange. Financially, this last year has been devastating for many, yet who would have guessed that it would also be rewarding for many others. The market dropped faster than it ever had in history and similarly recovered very quickly. Predictions about where markets are headed in the short run are always difficult and 2020 was a prime example of that. This provided a reality check to review many areas of our lives, including our finances, and to remember what is most important. Though the virus is still with us, I’m thankful that we seem to be moving in the right direction.
Lastly, and for a bit of fun, let’s talk about March Madness with a financial spin. I’m really glad that the NCAA tournament will be taking place this year. The tournament was canceled last year and having sports return really helps bring a sense that things are returning to normal. I don’t follow college basketball closely but it’s fun to watch these games, especially as it gets into the Sweet 16. Being a UCSD grad, I don’t have much to follow in the way of college sports but cheering for my wife’s alma mater, SDSU, has been fun.
NCAA money matters:
- - It is estimated that about $10B is gambled or bet over the course of the tournament, which is a lot of money even though we keep hearing about trillions of dollars mentioned on the news.
- - Warren Buffett loves to follow the tournament and usually offers his employees a chance to win some big money. This year, whoever picks the most winning games before a loss gets $100,000. If someone chooses all first-round games accurately, they get $1M. If that person also gets all the second-round picks, they get that $1M each year for life! And as the final icing on the cake, if Creighton University (located in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, NE) gets to the final 4, these numbers double!
- - Investment firm Columbia Threadneedle put out an NCAA bracket (click here) showing the 4-year cost to attend each college in the tournament. For me, this was another reminder that college planning is an important part of an overall financial plan. Though I still have a number of years before my kids hit college age, it seems to be approaching faster and faster and sticker shock is starting to hit me!!!
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