What better way to start the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) annual meeting in Baltimore than having hometown sports hero Cal Ripken Jr. take the stage to talk about what he learned about perseverance during his 21-year career? For those who don't know, (though more than one FPA member who professed an ignorance of sports knows who he is) Ripken was a 19-time baseball all-star who played in a record 2,632 consecutive games, and upon retiring went straight into a post-MLB career promoting youth baseball across the country. (For related reading, see: Why Your Next Broker Could Be an Olympic Athlete.)

Here are some quotes, stats and highlights he recounted in his opening address to over 1,800 FPA members:

- On personnel and tough decisions (sometimes involving personnel): “Never delay the inevitable.”

- The best contributors to business cultures are “...people who want to be at the table when there’s a problem." Referring to his consecutive game record, "You can’t do anything if you sit on the bench.”

- On personnel, hiring and identifying talent: “Nothing replaces really smart, talented people, but you want to get the smart, talented people that fit with your culture.” “It’s all about the people… what we used to call chemistry. It’s important to check your ego; everyone has special talents.”

- On keeping up with change: “You learn how to hit, field, throw, but you need to keep learning, especially as your talent declines... Have the courage to change the things that aren’t working.”

- “Preparation gives you the best chance to succeed. Without it, it’s a crapshoot.”

- On dealing with the media: "Make yourself available in good and bad moments. If you don’t talk, negativity builds.”

- On what he learned from teammate Eddie Murray’s paycheck: When Ripken was a rookie, making the league minimum of about $40,000, he asked Eddie Murray for a look at his biweekly paystub (Murray and Ripken had the same agent but Murray was an established star and was already earning). He saw that he and Murray had the same sum deposited into their bank accounts each pay period—about $1,000 every two weeks. An allowance, more or less. The difference was all the balances Murray’s statement showed in investment and savings accounts. He learned to live a frugal lifestyle… and to do it as long as possible. Put the rest away.

- On fearing Goose Gossage: Early in his career, he said that he saw the Yankees fireballer hit Dodger Ron Cey in the head with a pitch. Ripken said he thought he saw Gossage smirk—like he meant to do it. He flailed at Gossage’s pitches at a subsequent at bat. Later on, he learned that a teammate who was friends with Gossage was meeting him after a game at a “rib joint five minutes from my home.” He found his way there and learned what a good guy he was. “We closed the place down and the next day I got three hits off him.”

- On retirement: Following back surgery and rehab, Ripken realized that the Orioles were facing another rebuilding period. Rather than wait it out until the end of the season, he retired in June 1999, which afforded him a big stage and lots of goodwill as he transitioned into his post-baseball career. “It gave me the limelight to help launch the baseball,” he said. (For related reading, see: Pro Athletes And Their Bad Money Habits.)

FPA Announces New Leadership

During the annual conference, the FPA announced that Frank Paré has been voted as 2017 president-elect of the FPA. Shannon J. Pike will be president in 2017, taking the reins from Pamela Sandy. Paré will succeed Pike. It also announced five new members to its board of directors, which sets the FPA’s strategic direction. Each will serve a three-year term beginning Jan. 1. They are:

  • Molly Balunek, founder and president of Laurel Tree Advisors in Cleveland.
  • Ann Reilly Dowd, vice president and chief editor at Fidelity in Boston.
  • D. Tony Mahabir, CEO of Canfin Investment Group in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
  • Albert G. “Skip” Schweiss, managing director of TD Ameritrade Institutional in Denver.
  • Martin Seay, assistant professor of personal financial planning at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

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