Lessons from the Olympians

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The Summer Olympics 2012 is now exactly 10 days away! With that, we turned to Team USA for insights on money management. As it turns out, the athletes’ pursuit of Olympics gold follows the same principles that you, too, can use to reach your financial goals!

Have an end goal and a plan

While the Olympians share a common goal to represent Team USA, we can start by identifying the financial goals we wish to pursue. What do you want to achieve? To buy a house, to get out of debt, to retire comfortably…?

From then, determine your time frame to reach this goal. Like how Olympics hopefuls start training years before qualifying, it’s better to plan ahead for big goals. Meanwhile, create short-term and medium-term goals to align yourself to reach the final goal – much like the tournament wins and titles throughout the years that pave an athlete’s path to qualifying as an Olympian.

Pursue your goal with discipline

Given the long time frame and rigorous training schedule, one thing (outside of raw talent) sets qualified Olympians apart from other athletes: consistent discipline. Successful Olympians follow even the least appealing rules (waking up early every day, eating by schedule…) and constantly improve their athletic ability.

To reach your end financial goal, you need to apply the same sense of discipline. The goal may seem impossible, and there will be necessary steps that you don’t enjoy – like taking out portions of every paycheck towards savings, or cutting back your expenses… But with these challenges, you are steadily improving your money management skills that take you closer to achievement of your final goal.

Don’t get discouraged by setbacks

Numerous obstacles lie on an athlete’s path to the Olympics – unexpected injuries, or even failures at times. Similarly, your pursuit of a financial goal can potentially meet unplanned budget busters, or money mistakes, that delay your progress.

Like a true Olympian, don’t give up. Keep working hard through setbacks, learn from your mistakes, and adjust your approach as necessary to reach your goal.

In what other ways have the Olympians inspire you? What is your financial “Olympics gold”?

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