Investing Is Like Playing Golf

by Jeff C. Johnson

A golfer putting

I’m not much of a golfer, but, ironically, I enjoy watching the sport on Sunday afternoons. Maybe it’s my understanding of how difficult the game is that causes me to enjoy a relaxing afternoon watching the professionals.

Golf can actually be easy for some people, some of the time. They hit the ball so crisply, in such a relaxed way, and right on target. Putts roll straight to the hole as if the ball has eyes. Other times, the same players hit poor shots that miss the fairway or the green or even find a sand trap or water hazard. They can’t seem to make even the easiest of putts.

What I’ve realized is that, like investing, golf can be a real “head game,” where the players’ level of play rises and falls based on their poise and focus on the game. I think every teaching professional tells students not to get rattled by the last shot or the high score on the previous hole. Forget about it, they say, and concentrate on the task at hand, the present shot, and your strategy on the fairway you’re playing now.

Investors make some of the same mistakes, as you can probably imagine. They invest by looking in the rear-view mirror rather than looking out the windshield at the road ahead. They consider only the recent past and recent headlines, without developing and following a well-thought-out, repeatable strategy.

Because golf is not natural to me (I’m a natural at pie-eating contests!), I play better golf when I see my teaching professional, Mike, regularly. It keeps me focused on the important parts of the game, for me. He knows me, and he has been giving me instruction for years. I always play the game consistently better and enjoy it more when I have coaching sessions at regular intervals.

Your wealth adviser can support your investment and planning results in the same way, keeping you focused on the best path for you and your family going forward.

Industry resources tell us that much of the investing public is not that thrilled with the advice they get from their financial professional, and that many would like to change. The problem is, to whom do they go?

In my newly revised and expanded The Eight Points of Financial Confidence is a detailed action plan on how to identify, interview, and retain the adviser of your dreams. It’s available for sale on this website for less than the cost of a box of golf balls.