Financial Lessons from Ted Lasso

Jul 26, 2021

If you’ve seen the Apple TV show “Ted Lasso,” you may be like me and find it impossible to avoid being drawn into his incredibly funny and uplifting character. So with the recent release of Season 2, it seemed timely to look back on the first season and some financial and investing lessons learned.

Backstory

If you haven’t watched the show, I’ll provide a brief backstory for context (not to worry- no spoilers). Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, is a successful Division 2 collegiate football coach from Kansas City. Surprisingly, he is recruited to be the head coach of a struggling English Premier League soccer team despite having no experience coaching the sport. The new owner is a woman who inherited the team after a recent divorce. Seeking revenge on her ex-husband, who loved the team, she resolved to hire the most incompetent coach she could find to run the team into the ground.

This show provides constant chuckles and feel-good moments as Lasso navigates the culture shock and the seemingly impossible task of coaching a new sport. Some might view it as nothing more than a fun, silly, fish-out-of-water tale. However, this show also provides valuable lessons that can be applied to personal finances and investing.

Don’t let others define your actions.

Throughout the first season’s story, Lasso refuses to stray from who he is. There are several moments where he is under attack from the media, his boss, and even his players. These are situations where it would’ve been easy to give in to the mounting negative pressure and give up. However, he had the mental strength to persevere and keep a positive attitude.

This mental strength and perseverance can also be applied to investing. Think about market downturns and crowd behavior. When the market takes a downward turn, the popular sentiment is often panic selling. While this may seem like a pressure relief at the time, it usually costs investors in the long run, as the decision to buy back into the market is more difficult, and investors often miss out on the most critical points in the rebound. Rather than panic and give in to the negativity of the crowd, be like Ted Lasso. Stick with your process, and don’t let others change your long-term strategy.

“Be curious, not judgmental.”

Lasso takes the time to listen to people around him, putting himself in their shoes so he can fully understand them. This helps him understand how he can bring out the best in everyone. He sums this up when explaining a simple quote he takes with him wherever he goes: “Be curious, not judgmental.”

Similar to how Lasso engages his team and takes the time to understand them, we need to take the time to understand the investments in our portfolio and how they work together. Lasso seems to spend the most time and energy on his most volatile players and personalities. Similarly, our most volatile investments warrant a high level of due diligence. When properly understood and applied, they can provide great returns.

“Be a goldfish.”

A short intro scene to an episode stood out to me as both financial and life advice. Lasso pulls a discouraged player aside after making a bad play in practice. He explained, “Do you know what the happiest animal on earth is? A goldfish. Do you know why? They’ve got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish.”

“Being a goldfish” can be extremely powerful when used the right way. Everyone makes mistakes, and we are often our own worst critics when it happens. As long as we can learn from mistakes as we go, we can do ourselves a huge favor by not letting them impact our attitude moving forward. Whether you made one bad financial decision or one small mistake in life, as long as you aren’t making a habit of the same mistake, shake it off and get back in the game—be a goldfish!

Conclusion

A television show rarely provides this type of perspective. However, when watching the show, I couldn’t help but think that the world would be a much better place if everyone incorporated one or two qualities of Ted Lasso into their daily lives.

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