Life is more like a game of cricket than most of us think. There are times you will be confident and well-placed to hit boundaries, and others where you just swing your bat and hope for a single. Similarly, in life, there are times when you are in a position to do much for the safety and well-being of your loved ones, Yet, others can bowl you over or leave you stumped. Heading a family is like leading a cricket team. You have to etch out your strategy and charter your course before you set off on the journey to financial freedom and empowerment.
Your defence against life’s uncertainties should begin prior to you even stepping out on the field. Before you can create wealth for yourself and find financial security for your family, you must protect yourself against life’s risks. Certain unforeseen events can put the brakes on your road to prosperity. Protective measures such as life insurance and critical illness can ensure that your dreams are not compromised by the bouncers that life throws at you.
In the really intensive periods of the final days of a test match you really ought to read those googlies carefully. Only a superior batting technique will ensure you mitigate those challenging times and see your team through. Life is not very different. Those intense or tricky periods are always just around the corner and we have to keep honing our techniques to ensure we can confidently tackle them. It may not necessarily be a crisis but just a change in your life-stage such as marriage, birth of a child, your kid’s education can be quite challenging to navigate and if we don’t plan and prepare for them, life’s googlies can take us by surprise.
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Those unfamiliar with cricket often say it’s too long or boring. But it is the very length of the game that makes it one of the most unpredictable games requiring deep strategic thinking, long-term planning and prolonged periods of concentration. A great chess grandmaster, Savielly Tartakower, famously said ‘Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.’ This applies to batting and to life. It’s those supposedly ‘quiet’ phases of the game when something unexpected happens. A dull, predictable end to a session or innings can suddenly become anti-climactic for a batsman and he might get out. A small lapse in concentration undoes a long hard labour. So it is with life. It is exactly when you think you are cruising through life and things are nice and settled that you must strategise and take strong measures against all possible contingencies that might arise and not be reactive and panic during a crisis. In insurance terms, don’t try to buy insurance when your house is on fire.
Build your innings steadily, think long-term and regularly review your match situation. Your needs and goals evolve constantly and are influenced by a number of factors, both micro and macro. Your plans need to be just as fluid and flexible and adapt to these changing requirements. This means you must keep an eye on the required run rate in order to successfully chase down the score. A fixed and static plan cannot respond to the changing landscapes of life. A constant review of your financial plans with your adviser and constantly making the necessary changes in your overall strategy is crucial. The team and the coach sitting in the pavilion are your family and your financial professional. The batsmen in the middle need to check in regularly with them to understand the game situation from a viewpoint other than their own. Otherwise one runs a risk of a myopic perspective and complacency that can lose the match.
Our deep concern for our loved ones, though not entirely unfounded, can lead us to be extremely cautious in our decisions. Being too defensive might ensure your wicket is safe but puts undue pressure on your other team members. In financial terms, inflation can erode the value and purchasing power of your money if you keep everything as cash savings. Therefore, you need to have a more diversified portfolio and take some amount of risks with equity, bonds and other alternate asset classes to get a substantial return for your investment and to fund your dreams and long-term aspirations. Besides a good forward defence, it’s important to add a nice cover drive and an aggressive pull shot to your repertoire.
When taking on life, it's important to remember that apart from your family and friends, a good financial plan is your best ally and team mate. It will keep your mind at ease when you’re out there batting and will become the comfortable cushion you fall back on when you decide to retire from the innings. Good planning is essential if you want to hit life for a six. Be Ready for Life!
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