5 Personal Finance Lessons I Learned at the Race Track by Courtney Crone

Racing is exhilarating. As you zoom around the track at high speeds, it requires extreme discipline, strategy, and a desire to succeed. Mastering your finances shares a lot of similarities with racing. You must be focused and committed, but with a little time and effort, you can race towards your financial goals with ease. Professional race car driver Courtney Crone shares the five most important financial lessons she’s learned from her racing career.


1. Set clear goals

“Like the way race car drivers need clear objectives to achieve success on the race track, setting specific financial goals is my winning strategy. I’m working on saving a specific amount of money each month as an investment in my future.”

No matter if you’re a racecar driver or biology major, setting goals is important. Having clear financial goals makes it easier to stay motivated, especially if you follow the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goal-setting technique. Your goals could be short-term, like paying off $250 of credit card debt by Labor Day, or long-term, like saving for a down payment to buy your first home. It doesn’t matter if the goal involves buying, saving, or investing. Just make sure you set a clear financial plan, so you can confidently race towards the finish line.


2. Invest in yourself

“From a young age, my personal investments have had an impact on my financial decisions. They’ve helped me be smarter about saving money for the future rather than spending money on unnecessary items. This also helps me stay focused on managing my personal resources to remain competitive the entire year.”

Similar to Courtney Crone’s racing strategy, staying ahead in managing your finances requires looking after your mental and physical well-being. If you want to be on top of your money management game, you need to invest in yourself. Take time to focus on personal investments, such as your education, skills, or health. Additionally, spending time improving your financial literacy will help you make better money decisions and ensure lasting financial success. Remember, the more effort you invest, the more positive outcomes you will achieve.  


3. Focus and control

“Driving at top speeds requires your undivided attention and control, just like your finances. Stay disciplined, avoid impulsive spending, and take control of your financial future.”

Distractions can pull you your eyes away from the road, but the financial goals you set can help you stay focused. You’ll be less likely to splurge on impulse purchases or stray from your budget if you have a reason to save money. As for control, you cannot predict the future but you can be prepared for unexpected expenses. If you maintain discipline and manage your finances with undivided attention, you’ll be more inclined to stay on track to meet your long-term financial plans, like retirement savings or building a nest egg.


4. Have patience and discipline

“Patience and discipline determines your success on the race track. Financially, these qualities are equally as important. Remember, financial success does not happen overnight.”

While some races are short, you need to play the long-game with your finances. You won’t be motivated and enthusiastic all the time, and that is okay. As long as you stay consistent and endure the race, you are still making progress towards your goal of a strong financial future. Longer-term financial goals, like starting to save for retirement or paying off your student loans, can loom in the distance. Yet, as soon as you reach a smaller milestone, your excitement and drive will come rushing back. Achieving financial success takes patience and requires consistent effort. 


5. Celebrate milestones

“It’s important to celebrate your financial milestones. It’s the small wins that make the difference at the end of the season. Whether it's paying off debt or reaching your monthly savings goal, acknowledge yourself for your financial achievements.”

Just like celebrating a personal record (PR) behind the wheel, it's important to also celebrate your financial achievements with the same enthusiasm. You can break down your bigger goals into short-term financial milestones. When you reach a checkpoint, reward yourself with a small treat. For example, if you made your goal of achieving a credit score over 700, you should get dessert at your favorite ice cream shop. For larger goals, you could invest in a bike, an easel, or another hobby item that you would use in your free time. These mini celebrations can keep you motivated; just be careful to make sure they don’t throw you off course.

The path to financial freedom is not always straightforward. Sometimes, you may need to adjust your financial strategies or deal with unexpected obstacles along the way. Yet, by staying persistent, you will ultimately succeed. In racing and in managing your finances, adaptability is key. Whether it’s a blown tire or budget, you can bounce back from any setback. Finally, remember that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror because progress is made by moving forwards and not dwelling on the past.

We’ll leave you with these final words from Courtney: “Apply today for a 1st Financial Bank USA student credit card. 1st Financial is your checkered flag to reaching your financial dreams.”


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