The latest instalment of the Six Nations championship kicks off on Friday 2 February, with France playing Ireland in the eagerly anticipated opening match.
Preparation for the 2023 World Cup during the couple of years building up to it tended to cast a shadow over the most recent championships, with all results and decisions seen in that context. So, all the competing nations will no doubt be keen to start again with a clean slate.
As a financial advice firm with a keen interest in rugby, we have often been struck by how the sport generally, and the Six Nations more specifically, can reflect life.
In this article, you can discover four important lessons relating to planning your financial future that the Six Nations reveals.
1. It is always essential to plan ahead
As is often the case, the championship is wide open this year.
Four different teams have won the title in the last four years, and Scotland have won the last three Calcutta Cups, which for many Scottish fans is as good as a championship win!
While it is clearly advantageous to win your first game, and a lot of effort will go into attaining that goal, it is important to remember that, over five games, the last can be just as key as the first.
Similarly, teams seeking long-term success will give time and effort to succession planning. The retirements of Alan Wyn Jones and Jonny Sexton have both been expected and will have been planned for. The effectiveness of that planning could well be one of the key factors during the event.
Likewise, having a coherent and robust plan in place is a key part of securing your financial future. From setting out your original objectives and establishing what is required to meet them, to regular reviews to check you are on track.
As with succession planning for retired or missing players, you may want to take time to think about legacy planning and what the future of your family could look like without you to provide for them.
You also need to be ready for potential changes in your personal and financial circumstances so you can adapt your plans accordingly.
2. Success comes through the team, not individuals
While individuals such as Marcus Smith and Finn Russell can produce moments of match-winning brilliance, they would admit that it is always the overall team performance that will bring long-term success, particularly in the cauldron of a Six Nations.
Furthermore, a team is often comprised of more than just 15 players in the starting line-up and the eight on the bench.
For one thing, over five matches there are likely to be other players in the wider squad whose performances may be a critical factor in ultimate success. Then there are the support staff, such as coaches, physios, and doctors, who will all play a critical role in keeping any successful team on track.
In the same way, when it comes to your personal finances, it is important for you not to work in isolation.
Indeed, as in rugby, you will draw confidence from a situation where everyone is pulling in the same direction and shares a common goal.
So, including your family in your planning can be important in ensuring that everyone understands your shared objectives.
It is also important to have an experienced financial planner in your team, particularly one that understands rugby, and the pressures you face as a professional player.
3. Things might not go according to plan
Even with the best planning and preparation, sides will sometimes be forced to react to unexpected events.
While the loss of key players through injury can be legislated for, it is hard to imagine that the French coach, Fabien Galthié was prepared for the loss of Antoine Dupont, who has chosen to focus on the Rugby Sevens event at the Paris Olympics later this year.
Likewise, when it comes to your finances, you need to take steps to protect yourself from unexpected events that could easily blow you off course.
For example, you might want to ensure you have an emergency fund in place to cover any short-term financial cost such as a new boiler or essential car repairs, while avoiding expensive credit card debt.
You may also want to make sure you have suitable protection in place to cover your income in the event of you being unable to play for an extended period due to illness or injury.
4. Avoid dramatic changes to your plans
Six Nations Rugby have to perform a careful balancing act. They need to have an eye on attracting a new audience, without alienating the traditional supporter base.
For example, many long-term fans used to Saturday afternoon spectating raised an eyebrow in 2009 when the first Six Nations match was staged on a Friday night, and then eight years later when a bonus points system was introduced.
Then there is the very structure of the tournament itself. There is continual pressure from commentators and ex-players to expand the tournament or introduce some kind of promotion and relegation. Georgia have long been knocking at the door, and there has even been talk of South Africa joining and totally changing the nature, and geography, of the championship.
As the Six Nations organisers have steadfastly avoided unnecessary or expeditious change, you may want to avoid the temptation to meddle with your financial plans for the sake of it.
Look to only make changes after careful analysis, and we would also strongly recommend that you get expert advice to ensure you are not jeopardising your financial future when making significant decisions.
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you make the right decisions when it comes to planning your financial future, please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01625 529 499 to speak to us today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
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