It takes quite a bit of effort to understand the world of golf; it’s a hard thing to learn and it requires a never-ending journey to get better. The same could be said for financial planning…
Like many amateur golfers, I watch a lot of late-night TV on the Golf Channel. I’m often convinced to purchase a new gadget—such as a doohickey that when affixed to my elbow will enhance my swing—only to learn it does nothing and becomes part of the scrap heap of other quick fixes that failed to perform as advertised.
The fact is, there’s only one way to improve at golf, and that’s by engaging a quality golf instructor. Even the top golfers on the PGA Tour have coaches. Why? They’re always looking to be better—and they understand they can’t do it alone.
With respect to the arena of financial planning, I see plenty of people who don’t work with advisors, preferring to read books or newsletters, attend seminars, and gather free advice from anyone they think can offer sound counsel. They do everything but hire a financial coach—and thus they end up with less wealth than they would have if they’d simply paid a professional advisor to provide comprehensive advice.
Your financial portfolio has many moving parts and emotion often goes into making decisions about it. Again, this is like golf, because a golf swing is complicated—it takes a complex movement to get the ball to accurately fly a certain distance—and your game can be negatively affected if you’re tense, unable to concentrate or tired.
People who work with financial advisors gave up golf gadgets a long time ago. They realize that like achieving a great golf swing, putting together all the elements of a successful financial plan—one that achieves optimal results—is very hard for them to do alone. They understand that by working with a coach, they are more likely to build and safeguard their assets, protect and guide their families, and create a legacy.
Coaching works, whether it’s focused on golf, financial planning or any other discipline that benefits from behavior accountability. (Don’t get me started on the fitness industry, which is fraught with quick-fix solutions—when the only real route to success is hiring a personal trainer.)
Whether you want to correct your swing, lose weight, or get your financial house in order and headed down a path that will benefit you well into the future, you’ll be best served by making the investment to work with someone who can provide real value based on your specific needs and goals. Fore!
by Christopher Van Slyke, CFP
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