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Every year, before stepping foot on the field, every NFL team spends hours (yes, really) going over their playbook. Each team member studies and studies each play until they know every single one by heart. When the team huddles and the quarterback calls the play, every player immediately knows exactly where he’s supposed to be and which direction he needs to move after the ball is snapped.

Unfortunately, there’s not really a “playbook” for taxes (wouldn’t that be nice??) but the good news is: there are still some things we can learn from the NFL.

Here are 5 things the NFL has to teach us about taxes:

  1. Play offense. NFL teams spend hours and hours reviewing footage from past games. They find the weaknesses in their opponents’ defenses and they take advantage of them. They analyze and learn the strengths of their own teammates and they use those strengths to their full advantage. They make decisions about what type of game they’re going to play, before the game, so they can practice the right plays for that game. Plan ahead. Work with a tax professional now, before you need the help, and stay ahead of the curve.
  2. Don’t neglect your defense. The best offense is a good defense, right? NFL teams spend just as much time practicing defensive plays as they do on the offensive ones. That way, when they’re on the field, they can take those known and practiced plays and tweak them based on what the other team is doing. Know where the attack is coming from. Do you have weak investments that it’s time to reconsider? Do you have a soft-spot for start ups that’s gotten you in trouble in the past? Analyze your finances and find the holes, then take the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your finances moving forward.
  3. Keep your options open. Every play in an NFL playbook gives the quarterback a few options for where to throw the ball. After the ball is snapped, the quarterback takes the time to analyze his options and throws the ball to the person who is most likely to be able to catch it and make a successful play. Likewise, you’ll want to keep your options open when it comes to your finances. You know the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If you invest all your money in the same company and then that company tanks, you’re left with nothing. Have something to fall back on.
  4. Know when to hold onto the ball. Every good quarterback has the ability to quickly decide where to throw the ball after it’s snapped, but then there are those times where there’s no good play. Nobody’s open, the defense is on top of you, and your only option is to hold onto the ball and run for it. Knowing when to hold onto the ball is just as important as knowing when and how to let it go. When you invest, whether in stocks, in a new start up, in real estate… it’s important to do a regular inventory so you can make a wise decision about when it’s time to let go of that investment.
  5. You can’t do it alone. No quarterback can singlehandedly win a game. Neither can a running back or a lineman. The quarterback needs the receivers, the receivers need the linemen, the linemen need their coaches, etc. Teamwork is everything, If you’re trying to keep track of your finances by yourself, to put it bluntly, you are probably doing a bad job. Building your team now and surrounding yourself with people who know the tax laws better than you do – we promise, you won’t forget it.

By planning ahead and preparing yourself now, you’ll avoid costly surprises later and set yourself and your business up for success. For more help, contact us today for a referral to a qualified tax professional.

5 Things the NFL Can Teach Us About Finances

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