5 Ways Golf is like Financial Planning
1) Prepare and Plan. Good golfers approach each round with a plan. In preparation for this they look at variables – the course conditions, the weather, how they’re feeling, and how they’re hitting the ball, among others. In preparation for our meetings, I tell my clients to do the same: identify as many variables as they can. They can anticipate, for instance, sending their kids to private school. They might know about the potential of a rise or a fall in salary due to a change in job or career. Prepare for the future and make a plan. It’s what good golfers do, and it’s what good financial planners do, too.
2) Goals. Before I had three kids I had time to play golf. I regularly shot between 75 and 85. If I got on the course tomorrow, however, I don’t even think I could shoot my weight. I might be out of practice but I am still in the habit of making a goal. Before my round I’d lay out the holes in my mind and set a target score for day. It brings focus to the day and gives me something to shoot for. It should be no different when you do your finances. Think about the fairways and the greens ahead of you, so-to-speak. Set realistic goals that you can stick with. Say you want to move to a neighborhood where the houses sell for no less than $600,000. That sounds like a goal to me. Just make sure you have a plan in place that will get you there. If that plan is not realistic, modify the goal so it is attainable.
3) Resources. In golf, the touring pros keep notes on difficult holes and greens and yardages and other data. Great pros remember every shot and angle and distance and they store it all in their head and in these books. Likewise, you need information to plan your finances. Collect those magazine articles, or any good advice you find on the Internet, or advice from family and friends. It can all be taken into account when planning. And think of your financial planner as your caddie. Your caddie is someone who knows what you’re capable of. Your caddie helps you interpret the data and advises you on how to approach difficult shots. Your financial planner should be this for you, too.
4) Acceptance. There are some things you just can’t control. Golf is a capricious sport. Your best day on the course can be followed by your worst. Same with the financial markets. One day they’re up, another day they’re down. There’s only so much you can do about these things. If you want to stay in the market, you have to learn to live through these wild swings and look for ways to preserve balance in your portfolio.
5) Camaraderie, knowledge, competition, and friendship. I want all of these when I play a round of golf. I want all of these when I’m working with a client on their finances. I want to get to know my clients. I want to learn from them, teach them, help them. Golf partners strategize together and it really helps. I look for the same kind of collaboration and the same results in financial planning.
Listen to our podcast below as Win Damon and I review this topic on wnbp.com. I am live with Win on Radio 1450 AM / wnbp.com every Tuesday morning at 8:30.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012