It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Yogi BerraYogi Berra, who died recently, was as much famous for his ‘Yogi-isms’ as he was for his distinguished professional baseball career.

Indeed, it could be argued, it was these Yogi-isms that globalised his fame. By leaving his indelible mark on the English language, his influence went far beyond any one sport or country and extended throughout the English-speaking world.

His legacy of wit and wisdom includes, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”, “You can observe a lot by just watching”, and the celebrated, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

This last truism (‘a claim that is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning’) chimes with my own observations of personal finance – in that, the most common reason why a personal budget which someone draws up doesn’t work is . . . because it doesn’t work.

What I mean is that most people put together and start a budget and then – to use a baseball idiom – when an unexpected cost comes out of left field, the budget grinds to a permanent halt. The first thing that goes wrong thus becomes the reason for everything else to follow suit.

The key to avoiding this premature end is planning – specifically, building every cost that occurs over a year into the budget forecast.

Some of the things which are easy to overlook, but oh-so important if a budget is to be sustainable, include car registration, annual insurances, roadside assist, birthday presents, Christmas, haircuts, beauty treatments, regular medical costs – as well, of course, as any debt repayments. The more detailed the planning, the higher the chances of success.

Comprehensive preparation, to borrow from another famous Yogi-ism, will ensure that you finally get to avoid ‘déjà vu all over again’!

David Rankin is an author, public speaker and founder of the personal budgeting service Sort My Money. This article does not offer personal financial advice.