05 Feb 2016 Keep Pounding
For those of you who are not inclined to pay close attention to sports headlines, the Super Bowl is this Sunday. It is the 50th Super Bowl to be played, and will find the Carolina Panthers facing the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, California. Even if you care nothing for the game of football, it promises to be an event worth watching.
If you do watch it, you will almost certainly see and hear the following two words serve as a rallying cry for our very own Panthers: Keep Pounding.
The phrase harkens back to NFL great Sam Mills, a linebacker who played for the Panthers in the mid-90s and later served as an assistant coach for the team. Mills was diagnosed with an aggressive form of intestinal cancer at the beginning of the 2003-2004 NFL season, but continued coaching with the Panthers, who that season ended up fighting their way into the organization’s only other Super Bowl appearance. In the team’s first playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys that year, a physically weak Sam Mills delivered a legendary speech which has become the banner the Panthers proudly fly:
“When I found out I had cancer, there were two things I could do — quit or keep pounding. I’m a fighter. I kept pounding. You’re fighters, too. Keep pounding!”
These were not just words. They were a way of life for Sam Mills, who would pass away in 2005 at the young age of 45.
And they would become a way of playing the game for Panthers teams. On the field, Keep Pounding embodies the idea that a football team can do so much more together than they can as a disjointed collection of individuals. Keep Pounding means when one of your teammates is struggling or perhaps is injured during a play, you step up and fill the void. Keep Pounding means you stick with the game plan even in the face of adversity. Keep Pounding means you don’t let losses distract you from the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
At Beacon, we think that investing can be a lot like football. Like football, investing is one of the ultimate team sports. By investing in an entire equity index, like the US Total Stock Market, we ensure that there are Offensive starters and 2nd stringers and even 3rd stringers, so that if one of the star players (people think of Apple and Google and Facebook, or the Panthers’ own Kelvin Benjamin) gets hurt or isn’t performing, the team as a whole can still score points because there are other players who will do what they can to fill the void.
Conversely, we realize that the Defensive side of the ball is just as important. To us, investing in the 7-10 Year US Treasury Index is like investing in a really good defensive squad with players like Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman and Thomas Davis. The purpose of a good Defense is not to score points (though that will happen sometimes, and in very key moments), but rather to keep you in the game, even if the offense is struggling.
Perhaps most importantly, just as a football team without a common goal is likely to fail miserably (regardless of its roster), investing without intention is a recipe for defeat. This is where the analogy breaks down some, because the goal of every football team is obvious: win a Super Bowl. But the goals for every individual and family are completely unique and often require some digging to discover in the first place. However, when we take the time to explore those goals, we find what lies at the heart of Keep Pounding: Perspective.
Perspective is invaluable. It helped Sam Mills to fight the hardest battle of his life. It helps successful teams throughout long, grinding seasons full of injuries and losses. And it is the foundation of what we do here at Beacon. As I was writing this, I put out a question on Facebook: “What does Keep Pounding mean to you?” My friend Kyle wrote these words:
“Overcoming short term obstacles is the key to achieving long term goals.” This is the bedrock of winning football teams. This is the key to being successful with your money over time.
So, Keep Pounding.