The Boston Celtics, A Super Fan Named Carol and Retirement: The Surprising Parallels

The Boston Celtics are the NBA Champions for the 18th time!!  WooHoo. A world record. Wowza.

As a life-long Celtics Fan-atic I’ve been dreaming about this day for a while. My late mom, Carol, dreamed about it too. I will never again be able to think about the Celtics without thinking about my mom. A basketball player herself back in the 50’s and a HUGE Celtics fan. Perhaps their number one fan. She referred to Jayson Tatum as “Her” Jayson.

Last season, the Celtics (and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston), kept my mom cheering and going strong until she gave in to her battle with Ovarian cancer last April. During the 22/23 season, Jayson’s number one fan endured a blockage in her kidney, a blockage in her stomach, two surgeries and stays in four different medical facilities. Throughout all of this my hero mamma NEVER missed a game! The Celtics were her medicine. Her dream was to see them win the championship last year. Neither the Celtics nor my mom, however, could pull it off.

But alas, the Celtics came back with vengeance for the 23/24 season and are now the NBA champs (with a little help from an angel in heaven named Carol). I think she was on the rim at the Garden Monday night. I also think she’ll be watching from above as banner number 18 is raised to the rafters.

My mom was fortunate to have witnessed years of Celtics games and championships. She was also fortunate and grateful to have had a long happy and mostly healthy life. She retired early at 58 and enjoyed a 30-year retirement! A life and retirement like this doesn’t just happen. Just like an NBA championship doesn’t just happen. It’s all a battle from the start.

The battle requires strategy, perseverance, commitment, consistency and teamwork. A little luck from an angel helps too.

So, let me break it down and see what lessons we can learn from the Celtics’ championship (and my mom) that you can apply to your own life and retirement.

  1. A Strong Game Plan

Boston Celtics: The Celtics didn’t just stumble onto the court and hope for the best. They had a well-thought-out strategy, focusing on both offense and defense. Every play was designed to maximize their strengths and exploit their opponents’ weaknesses.

My Mom: Divorced at 38 with four kids, my mom figured out a new strategy for her life. She had good offense and a good defense. She was one tough lady.

Your Retirement: Similarly, your retirement plan should be strategic. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 48% of Americans have calculated how much money they need for retirement and the average retirement is over 20 years in duration. Creating a detailed financial plan, which includes budgeting, saving, and investing, is crucial. Just like the Celtics, you need a solid game plan to ensure you’re financially prepared for the long run.

  1. Consistent Training and Adaptation

Boston Celtics: The Celtics’ success didn’t happen overnight. It took years of training, adapting to new players, and learning from losses. They kept refining their skills and strategies to stay at the top of their game.

My Mom: Lucky for my siblings and I, my mom had a career as a school teacher, which meant a reliable income (albeit small for a family of 5) and a retirement pension. Leaving our family home with kids in tow, she was the queen of adaptability. She was both a dad and a mom for many years, honing her skills on the job. Her plan: to get through each day, one day at a time and focus on being a good mother.

Your Retirement: Retirement planning is a long-term commitment. Saving significantly for retirement takes consistency and starting as soon as possible. Learning about money, finances and retirement early on is critical. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your financial plan is essential. Keeping up with changes in the market, adjusting your investments, and ensuring you’re on track to meet your goals is essential.

  1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Boston Celtics: Basketball is a team sport. The Celtics’ victory was a result of excellent teamwork. Each player knew their role and worked together seamlessly, from the starting five to their incredibly talented bench. The team is steeped in talent.

My Mom: She kept us all close and we learned what it meant to function as a family team. We all chipped in to make daily tasks easier, we appreciated what we had, and every day ended with love and a smile.

Your Retirement: Your retirement plan should also involve teamwork. Financial advisors, accountants, and even family members can play vital roles in your retirement planning. According to a study by Vanguard, working with a financial advisor can add up to 3% in net returns on your investments. Surround yourself with a supportive team to help guide you through complex decisions and keep you motivated.

  1. Staying Healthy and Prepared

Boston Celtics: Physical fitness and injury prevention are crucial for NBA players. The Celtics maintained peak physical condition to ensure they could perform at their best throughout the season and playoffs.

My Mom: Physical and mental health was a priority for my mom, throughout her life. While not an exercise fanatic, my mom always took good care of herself and her kids. She had a good balance and instilled an active lifestyle in all of us.

Your Retirement: Health is equally important in retirement as it is in all the years before retirement. Medical expenses are a significant concern as we age, with Fidelity estimating that a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2023 may need about $315,000 for out-of-pocket healthcare costs in retirement. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle now can reduce future medical expenses and improve your quality of life.

  1. Handling Pressure Like a Pro

Boston Celtics: Performing well in high-pressure moments defines championship teams. The Celtics excelled under pressure, making clutch plays and rising to the occasion when it mattered most.

My Mom: The term cool as a cucumber was coined in my mom’s honor. JK. Seriously, my mom faced some pretty high-pressure moments in her life, but she handled these moments mostly with calm, courage and practicality. She always told us, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Your Retirement: Retirement planning can be stressful, especially when facing financial uncertainties or unexpected expenses. However, staying calm and making informed decisions under pressure is key. Diversifying your investments, having an emergency fund, and planning for contingencies can help you handle financial and retirement pressures like a pro.

  1. Celebrating Wins Along the Way

Boston Celtics: Every win during the season was a cause for celebration and motivation to keep going. The Celtics didn’t wait until the championship to acknowledge their successes.

My Mom: Celebrations in our family were a regular occurrence. Birthday parties, Christmas, and even everyday life, my mom was celebrating life and being grateful. My mom celebrated and appreciated the smallest things in life. A sunset was one of her favorites.

Your Retirement: Celebrate your retirement planning milestones too! Whether it’s hitting a savings goal, paying off debt, opening a Health Savings Account or making a smart investment decision, recognizing your achievements can keep you motivated and on track.

Conclusion

Winning an NBA Championship, being a single mom, fighting cancer, or planning a successful retirement all require determination, strategic planning, courage, teamwork, and the ability to adapt and perform under pressure. By applying these lessons from the Boston Celtics’ championship run, and from my mom Carol, you can set yourself up for a victorious and enjoyable retirement. So, lace up those sneakers—and let’s get her done.

Remember, whether you’re aiming for a championship ring or a comfortable retirement, the journey is just as important as the destination. Here’s to enjoying every season of life. Happy planning!

If you’d like some help with your financial plan for retirement, reach out to us. We can hook you up with a team of experts: retire@herretirement.com.