Fantasy football can improve your financial health: Just ask former investment banker and TechWallet CEO Eugene Plotkin. "The skills you develop when you're playing fantasy, things like watching the ups and downs of players and teams and making decisions based on what the numbers say and what the other managers are doing are all tools that portfolio managers use every day on Wall Street," Plotkin says. "If you can be competitive in your fantasy football league, you may be able to apply those skills to the stock market."
With a background in financial analysis at Goldman Sachs, Eugene Plotkin knows a thing or two about successful investments. Here are his rules to approach your investment portfolio the same way you play your fantasy league.
First rule: Play to win
"The goal of fantasy is to win. The goal of your portfolio should be a comfortable retirement. In both cases, you need to have the end in sight with every decision you make," Plotkin notes. "That means keeping an eye on the future. Just as some players have bad weeks, there are blue-chip stocks that will have bad quarters. That doesn't mean you abandon all hope at the first sign of struggle. You evaluate an investment's long-term prospects."
Second rule: Watch the market
"If you're reading the business section, you'll see a lot about mergers and acquisitions. In the fantasy football world, those are trades," Plotkin explains. "In both cases, there are winners and losers. And when those moves get made, they send aftershocks through the system."
Keeping an eye on how other players use the waiver wires and what trades they propose can give you an understanding of how they're playing the game.
"Learning to expect when someone else will want something, such as a new defense or a quarterback for their upcoming bye week, is essentially the same as forecasting the market," Eugene Plotkin says. "Consider the stimulus checks during the pandemic. Savvy investors realized that consumers having more money while stuck at home meant a major boost for tech stocks and cryptocurrencies."
Third rule: Tune out the noise
"It always pays to put in your time and do the research," Plotkin explains. "There are literally hundreds of people who get paid to espouse all sorts of opinions on fantasy football, and consequently, every little thing a player or coach does gets dissected and picked apart even when it's not important. Just because a player posts something odd on Instagram or a coach makes a glib remark during a press conference doesn't mean you have to react. In fact, there's a lot of wisdom in keeping the big picture in mind instead of getting lost in extraneous details. And that's true on Wall Street as well. Not everything you hear on the business news is relevant."
Fourth rule: Look beyond the small
"When you're drafting, it's not the best strategy to snag the highest-ranked player each round, right? You need to address the needs of your roster, even if that means taking a guy that ESPN ranks slightly lower," Plotkin explains. "This principle holds true in the stock market as well. You don't want to simply invest in last year's best-performing companies," Eugene Plotkin said. "You want to invest in stocks and products that make sense for your situation. Consider your risk profile, your liquidity needs, and your time horizon."
Fifth rule: Learn from multiple experts
"You want to balance expert opinions with your own analysis. Listening to just one expert limits the information that you have available and ignoring all experts limits it even further. How many times have you seen a breakout rookie rocket your friend's fantasy team to the finals? Now, maybe they got lucky on that pick, but it's more likely that they learned from a deep value fantasy expert," Plotkin says. "You can apply that to your portfolio. Financial analysts and advisors have a lot of knowledge, and there are really great resources out there to help you understand the market."