March Money Madness - Bracket Picks & Cinderella Stories

By: David Smyth, March 16, 2017

Welcome to another edition of Financial Planning Madness, where instead of just talking about boring financial topics, we'll (hopefully!) help you pick a few bracket busters as you fill out your NCAA tournament brackets. 

(Note to the Family Financial staff: None of these picks reflect my actual picks in our office pool. Or do they...?) 

Whether you're picking a championship team in the NCAA or choosing a good, sound financial strategy for your situation, there are all sorts of experts called either financial planners or bracketologists who will give you free advice up to a certain point about what you should do. Within the financial markets, there are some index fund companies that suggest that active (read: mutual fund) managers don't beat the indices over long periods of time. For the people who say this can't be done, there are active managers that have beaten the first index ever established. American Funds, in fact, recently announced that five of its mutual funds have done just that. Isn't that nice to know?
 
But going back to basketball, it's well known that the higher the seed, typically the longer the team should last in the tournament - right? Most of you think that Villanova, Kansas and North Carolina are very formidable teams, and I'm of that opinion as well. But I question whether Gonzaga should be a #1 despite their impressive 32-1 record. I think they'll get their second loss of the season sooner rather than later - perhaps to West Virginia in the Sweet 16. 
 
The latest scuttlebutt in the Midwest region is what will happen when Cinderella team Rhode Island meets Oregon, with their crazy, adjust-the-color-on-your-screen jerseys. I expect that Rhode Island might move into the Sweet 16 themselves. And if you're thinking, Dave, why would I root for Rhode Island? Keep in mind in the Sweet 16, they could face that unspeakable other Kentucky team to the west of us - the Louisville Cardinals. All of you in Lexington just became Rhode Island fans! If they do make it that far, I suggest we all get together for a lobster bisque cook-off (or some cardinal stew!). 
 
As for Kentucky, who we do expect to advance to the Sweet 16, we'll most likely meet one of two teams - either a rematch with UCLA, or, as seems to happen every other NCAA tourney, another bruiser-fest with Cincinnati. Will our boys in blue survive those thuggish Bearcats? I suspect it will be a lot closer than everyone thinks. 
 
Over in the West bracket, I know everyone loves Arizona to advance, but give some consideration that St. Mary's does play teams tight. If Arizona has an off shooting night, St. Mary's might make a game of it. 
 
Speaking of games, the next few weekends are going to be a great time for those of you who love to sit on the couch and watch hoops. Hopefully there will be plenty of close games to keep you on the edge of that couch - or whatever you're sitting on. And in those rare breaks in action for a few TV ads, you'll likely see some financial companies advertising everything from helping save for your kids' college, to protecting your family with disability or life insurance, to asking if you know how much you'll need to have saved for retirement to meet your goals. 
 
Keep in mind, if any of these ads make you sit up and think, "I wonder what my reality is, and what my retirement goal should be," shoot us a quick email and ask away. We'll make sure to get back to you with answers to your questions - just not until Monday when the games are over. 

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