Basketball, Behavior, and BEEF: Breaking Down the Fundamentals of Financial Planning

By Cristina Wiebelt-Smith, CPA, Associate Wealth Advisor


I recently wrote the blog “Tackling the Fear of Financial Planning,” about how that fear can make it difficult for clients to contact a financial planner with questions.

To continue with that topic, I’ve heard several concerns from clients since joining Gertsema Wealth Advisors, such as:

  • We don’t have enough money to need a financial planner.
  • I haven’t saved enough and am not great with money.
  • I thought you were going to tell us we had done everything wrong.

Please know that we don’t expect everyone to have it all figured out. You may be doing everything right.

The Link Between Basketball and Your Finances

My husband is a basketball coach, and I’ve noticed the sport has the same principles as financial planning. He doesn’t expect perfect players to walk through the door, and he doesn’t blame the parents, previous coaches, or player if their form is lacking. For this reason, players and their families trust him as a coach.

He talks to each player during their first session and asks what they want to get out of their sessions. After assessing their goals and abilities, he may have to go back to the fundamentals if the player hasn’t received the proper training or has developed habits that need to be tweaked. With more advanced players, he may find it’s time to take them to the next level to help them stay competitive.

The same scenario goes for your relationship with a financial planner. We don’t expect anyone to walk in having already created their plan. We’ll talk to you about your life, goals and dreams. What do you want from your financial plan? How much help do you need? Maybe you want advice on your 401(k), or you need full-service estate, trust and tax planning along with investing.

I think everyone can benefit from their personalized financial plan no matter your age or how much you’ve saved. The financial services industry is not one-size-fits-all, but the basics are the same. Everything starts with a plan.


Where’s the BEEF?

When I think of financial planning and how it compares to coaching basketball, I think of BEEF – a common acronym used to help players practice proper shooting form.


Does your financial plan offer you a balance between savings, spending and giving in a way that makes sense for your priorities, interests, age and cash-flow needs? Is your portfolio balanced in a way that complements your financial plan?


Keep your eye on your financial priorities, these might include all or some of the following – retirement planning, minimizing taxes, budget management, college planning, investment management, insurance coverage, caring for parents, charitable giving and leaving a legacy.

If retirement is at the forefront of your mind, what are your retirement plans? Do you want to volunteer, travel with family or attempt a new hobby? We like to talk about these priorities to create a financial plan that helps you keep an eye on the target.


If you don’t know which way to point your elbow, the ball will never make it through the net. Do you have a financial plan pointing your family in the right direction? Do you have investments without a plan, or investments spread out between several brokers who don’t collaborate?

Just like all the players on a team need to coordinate with each other to run the same play, you need someone who pulls all the resources together and has a plan that puts those resources to work together in a way that makes the most sense for you and your families’ priorities. The financial plan is where you see how all the pieces fit together and points you in the right direction before we can have a conversation about investments


You will ultimately make the final decisions – just like each basketball player making their own shots. But if you have an excellent coach to instill the correct principles, you are more likely to succeed in meeting your goals. We do our part on the follow through by reviewing your plan and meeting with you on a regular basis to stay updated on life changes, portfolio performance, tax ideas, investment strategies and what’s going on in the market. The financial plan is a living document that is updated at each of these meetings.


Nothing But Net

Having the correct fundamentals and a principled approach is instrumental in pursuing your goals. If you pay attention to your balance, keep your eyes on the target, ensure your elbow is pointed in the right direction and continue to follow through with your plan, you will be more likely to pursue your short- and long-term financial goals.

We strive to make this process as simple, understandable and enjoyable as possible. If you’re currently asking yourself, “Where’s the BEEF?” – call Gertsema Wealth at 816-259-5060 or schedule a consultation at to discuss your plan.

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