Financial Fitness Series – Game Week Strategies


When I originally planned to write this blog post, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to interview a Super Bowl Champion, and see what he had to say and compare that to a financial fitness routine?” Sure, why not? So I emailed a few people that I knew, and I could not get a Super Bowl Champ, but I was close to getting a current NFL player. Unfortunately because of publicists and other people who like to control content and limited lead-time, it fell through. Fortunately for me, I always have a back up plan, and I was not without a blog today. I think it is actually a great reminder, though, to not be afraid to ask for something. Who knows, maybe with some time and planning, this football player will soon appear on this blog.

A week in the life of a typical NFL player

Instead of interviewing a football champ on work out routines, I found the next best thing, a blog written by Matt Bowen, a 7 season NFL defensive back who played for multiple teams. On the Bleacher Report, Matt shared an inside look at game week for an NFL player. Although, the fine details may change from team to team, the essence of their schedule is as follows:

  • Monday: 2-3 hours spent on film review of the previous game to analyze successes and failures, lifting and training and correction drills if necessary.
  • Tuesday: Scheduled day off
  • Wednesday: Over eight hours of practice on game plans and first and second down plays.
  • Thursday: Another long day of practice, particularly on third down conversions.
  • Friday: A lighter day of practice, but it is focused on the intense game time situations, red zone, goal line and two-minutes plays.
  • Saturday: Walk through of game and travel.
  • Sunday – Game Day


Work ethic of champions

I think that whether you follow football or not, this is an impressive schedule. A typical NFL player works at least six days a week during the regular season, and during these practice sessions, they work on a number of different skills and strategies. Even the “bad” teams go through this rigorous schedule. Each team plays four pre-season games, sixteen regular seasons games (with one week off) and 3-4 post-season games. Each year, 32 teams subject themselves to this tortuous routine in the hopes of making a trip to the national championship, the Super Bowl. They all have their eyes on the big prize, and work hard each week to make their dreams a reality.

I am always impressed with the work ethic of professional athletes. They truly put themselves through a version of torture to accomplish life goals. I encourage my financial planning clients to strive for this level of commitment to their finances. When my clients put in the type of schedule an NFL player puts into his practice, they will absolutely achieve their financial dreams. The first step is making sure you are in the right frame mind. I shared my thoughts of this on Monday. Now that you have the mind of a champion, here is the game week strategy for a financial champion.

4 Game Week Strategies to Implement

1)    Game Plan – The first full day of practice for the week for an NFL player is the review of the game plan. The game plan is what the team will utilize to secure a win. For my clients, the game plan is your budget. This is the plan that you will utilize to win your financial success. Many of my clients have negative connotations to budgets, but this is just because budgets have a bad (but not deserved) reputation. Once you stop thinking about your budget as inhibitive and realize that it is the true plan to financial success, you will think differently about your budget. Once my clients go on budgets, they actually feel less stressed and more focused since they now have a plan in place for how to achieve their financial goals. If you don’t have a budget or game plan, how are you going to achieve your financial goals?

2)    Practice – Despite the fact that NFL players are professionals and in great shape, they still practice actively at least 3-4 days a week. Financially healthy habits do not come easy to most of us. Therefore they require practice. There are a number of workouts that you can utilize that will make you financially healthier. If you need help getting in shape financially, try a few of these practice routines:

  • No spend days – Challenge yourself to not spend any money during the day. You should try this at least once a week.
  • Cash only days – Put $20 in your pocket and commit to only using this amount of money during the day/night.
  • Hide your credit card – Put your credit card(s) in an envelope and hide them in your drawer for a period of time.
  • Spending caps – Create a spending budget for the day/week, and commit to it.

3)    Strategy – Just like each team needs to review and understand their opponent for the next week, you should understand your financial opponent and strategize on how to defeat it. For some of my clients, shopping is an opponent. For others it is going out. For some clients, their children are their financial opponents. When you analyze and understand what you are working against, it makes it easier to come up with a game plan and practice.

4)    Review – I love that the first day of practice for a team consists of reviewing the game before. We can always learn from the past, and we learn as much from our successes as we do our failures. The most important part of learning is making it part of your practice. I advise clients to create calendar reminders to review their financial picture and their progress or lack of progress to goal. We review the previous month or months and determine what worked and what we need to work on to make the next month successful.

The ultimate message I would like to share is that financial health, just like physical health does not come easy, and it does not come without hard work and dedication. Each year, 32 football teams work their butts off to make it to the championship, but even if they don’t make it, they will start next season fresh and work just as hard for another shot at the Super Bowl. They never stop working toward achieving their dreams and neither should you.

Do you put work hard into becoming a financial champion? What is your routine like? What do you think you can improve in your routine for greater success?

Previous articleMusic Mondays – The Champ
Next articleTop Ten Super Bowl Commercials
Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

Leave a Reply