I grew up just south of Indianapolis, Indiana which means that there is simply no greater race than the Indy 500! Until I went to college, I am quite sure that I did not know that any other races existed. Everything was about Indy. Andretti. Unser. Foyt. Rahal. Luyendyk. Mears. ” Back Home Again In Indiana” sung by Jim Nabors. All of these people and events meant one thing: Indy 500 and the Month of May.
So, it should not surprise anyone that I was sitting in front of the TV this past weekend to watch the Indy 500. And it was incredible. Side by side racing. Double-file restarts. Crazy wrecks. Danica Patrick led again late in the race. Marco Andretti was close to the top.
Then, due to fuel strategy and an unbelievable set of circumstances, a ROOKIE driver, JR Hildebrand was in the lead with a HUGE lead. All he had to do was make it through the final four turns to WIN in his Indy 500 debut – and become an instant legend.
Turn 1 – no issues
Turn 2 – no issues
Turn 3 – no issues
Turn 4 – ummmm … watch the YouTube video HERE or below (skip to 1:30 in the video if you want to save time)
Here are some financial lessons I think we can take from JR’s frustrating end to his race:
- Obstacles will always be present. Even when we are doing great with our finances, we must always be aware because an obstacle can always crop up and wreck our financial situation
- Margin is there to be used! Margin is great (he had a huge lead), but sometimes we need to use that margin to address an obstacle (after all – that is THE REASON we have financial margin in the first place). I’m sure JR has asked himself a thousand times why he did not just back off a little and pass the other car in the straightaway. I’m not sad to spend money from our emergency fund because that is exactly why we’ve saved that money!
- The entire race is important. If you plan your finances, follow the plan, and live a profitable life, it can all be erased if one doesn’t finish well. The end of the race is when you are tired and can become careless. I’ve seen people do well financially, only to blow it all up with one or two terrible financial decisions at the end of their race.
- Own the mistakes. As a huge credit to JR, he answered every question asked of him. He owned the mistake. It was not lost on me and the commentators that this young man had driven an incredible race and put himself in the position to win. The old adage is true. It is better to have been there and wrecked than to have not been there at all. After all, his consolation prize was $1,064,895!
Congrats to the winner, Dan Wheldon, and to JR for providing a thrilling race!