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Going to an NBA Finals Game Will Cost Us More Than $6,000 — Here’s Why That Doesn’t Worry Us

We’re going to see the Celtics play the Warriors for Game 5 on Monday, June 13th in San Francisco and will be spending more than $6,000 to make that happen. Right off the bat, these are our costs:

  • Flights $1035
  • Hotel $803
  • Tickets $4603

Total: $6441

It’s going to cost us more than that to actually go (Ubers to and from the airports, food while we’re gone, etc.), but those are the core costs.

We sold our Boston tickets for $8,000. BUT we had to spend the $6441 before we get that money because we had to lock in our flights and the tickets in order to know for sure we could go. Waiting would mean the prices were likely to go up and that the flight timing might not work because we’re bringing Dean and had to modify our nanny’s hours to make this all work optimally for us.

Here are some lessons we’ve learned related to this:

Timing of Cashflows Is Everything

It doesn’t matter how much we sold our tickets for, if we didn’t have the money to pay for the San Fran travel and tickets from our personal accounts BEFORE we got the other payout, we couldn’t go. That’s why having healthy financials is so important. Not needing to transfer or pay for it from business account to fudge the numbers. Or shift around or max out credit cards. Maybe you wouldn’t do that for a Celtics v Warriors finals game, but insert what you care about here. Last minute vacation deal, a spot that opens up with a coach you’re dying to work with, a home reno that becomes more pressing than it was originally, etc. In some cases, you might want to wait for money to come in before you book or do something you want to do, but If you NEED to wait for money to come in before you can do things you want to do- your business isn’t giving you the freedom you deserve.

That $8,000 Fell From the Sky

Yes, we are Celtics season ticket holders, but the Celtics haven’t made the finals in over a decade. We knew if they made it to the finals we’d get charged $800 per game for the tickets, but we didn’t expect them to get there. And we had options. Fly to Boston and go to the game in our seats. Sell our tickets and use the money we netted for something else. Sell the tickets and go to Golden State. Or sell the tickets and do whatever we wanted with the money. There are a million options in between. But the bottom line is, we didn’t NEED the Celtics to make the playoffs and for the tickets to net us that money for our financial security. Period. It was a windfall. And because we didn’t need the money, and spending it isn’t going to hurt us financially we’re free to experience something we may not get the opportunity to ever experience again. That is the benefit of financial security

People Always Talk About Freedom as Entrepreneurs

The game we chose is game 5 because we were fairly confident there would be one (and now we know there is). It’s on a Monday night in San Francisco. Being able to book flights, accommodations, and tickets to a game with less than 2 weeks notice for a Monday and Tuesday trip is the kind of freedom and flexibility I wanted when I started my business. In order to do that you need systems around your business operations, flexibility with regard to your client schedule, and systems and flexibility around your personal and business finances. You need all of them. Because if you have time freedom, but you don’t have the money or if you have the money freedom but can’t take the time, you don’t really have true freedom.

I’m Not a Fan of Strict Budgets

One of the reasons I generally hate strict budgets is that they typically either take away your ability to actively change your mind about what kind of spending makes you happy or they are constantly being tweaked and changed thus defeating the purpose of the budget to begin with. We never would have had a spending category in a traditional budget that had an extra $6500+ for a two day trip to go to a game. We never would have predicted the Celtics going to the playoffs and if we did we would have had no clue what to budget. We’ve seen flights to San Fran for $98 round trip from San Diego pretty regularly- but they were 10x that last minute for the dates and times we need. We’ve seen playoff tickets where we like to sit for $1000 per ticket, but not for the finals at Golden State (we actually got seats that weren’t as good as we usually get because we were unwilling to spend more than we did on tickets, but still wanted to go). Bottom line, you can’t plan for everything. I’d venture to say you can’t specifically plan for most things that will pop up that you spend money on in your life and business. I certainly can’t. I could rattle off at least a dozen things right now that I’ve spent significant money on this year that I never would have been able to predict even 6 months ago. Circumstances can and should change your behavior. You are allowed to be flexible with your money- it makes things more enjoyable. Your values should be relatively inflexible and your BIG goals should be relatively inflexible. And those two things can be used as a guide for your day to day spending decisions that can have flexibility. The constants are that we save and invest for big future spending categories, our personal and business growth and development, and family experiences. Ancillary details of those constants is that we max out retirement and consistently invest for Dean’s future. The specifics of how much goes into 529 versus general investments for him and how much is in individual fun stocks versus passive indexed portfolios- those change. We change our minds and our opinions. Great systems and guidelines allow flexibility so that you can change your mind without having to reinvent the system every time circumstances change.

You Are Allowed to Make Different Decisions When You Have New Information

If you asked me if I would spend $6k+ to go to a Celtics game in San Francisco last month, last week, or last year I’d have said no every time. I would have pretty confidently said that IF they made it, we’d hop on a plane and go to Boston and sit in our $800 seats that are worth $8k. Bobby would have said the same thing. Of course we’d fly home for a game, it’s just a plane ticket. But sticking to that would have been incredibly stupid- we weren’t factoring in the true costs. Really, It would have cost us more time and more money (on the flights we needed, hotel nights, etc) to go home. When we found out what we could get for our tickets and talked through the decision, we booked the trip. The only things that changed were the money and the perspective.

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