Put Me in Coach
Published On: July 26, 2021
Written by: Ben Atwater and Matt Malick
A good financial advisor should be a coach to his clients.
Wikipedia says, “Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance.”
We like this definition, and we think the word “experience” looms large in it. The journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000-hour rule, which says it takes 10,000 hours of study and practice to master complex skills or a body of knowledge.
Because financial planning and investing is more art than science, you need extensive experience to develop the intuition to help people with their financial decisions.
Sports coaching and psychological counseling are like this. As people present thousands of scenarios to you, seeing those scenarios play out and witnessing how they tend to resolve themselves is the source of the intuition you need to give people good advice.
Much like an experienced coach or counselor, with each passing day, we feel even more prepared to help our clients with their financial decisions.
The other pertinent part of this definition is the idea of using our experience to help clients reach their personal or professional goals. It is our duty to have a good sense of your goals and to put a plan together to coach you toward accomplishing those goals.
With the coaching theme in mind, here is some important advice to help you build long-term financial success.
Time is everything:
Timing can help us or hurt us, but it is beyond our control. Rather, time in the market is key.
Keeping your time horizon front and center is vital. UCLA basketball coaching legend and ten-time NCAA National Champion John Wooden said “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.”
Having your money in the market through all cycles is the only historically proven road to wealth in financial markets. Up or down, everyday counts. You cannot miss days trying to anticipate the market’s direction. The same goes for savings. We need to save regularly and systematically and invest our savings in the same manner.
Keep it simple:
Do not search for the Holy Grail. It is right in front of you. Invest simply and understandably. According to four-time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coach Chuck Knoll “If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them day in and day out.”
In other words, you will get extraordinary results by doing ordinary things repeatedly for a long period of time. Stop looking for shortcuts. John Wooden reinforced this thinking: “You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”
French football player and coach Thierry Henry noted that “Average soccer players complicate the game, great soccer players simplify it.” The same is true of investing and planning.
As you work to save every day, your investments will be working for you, but not without setbacks. Right now, things are easy, but they will not always be.
Inaugural Super Bowl champion and Green Bay Packer coaching icon Vince Lombardi observed that “It’s easy to have faith in yourself and have discipline when you’re a winner . . . You got to have faith and discipline when you’re not a winner.”
Investing is, after all, an act of faith. Faith that American economic history will largely repeat itself. Without this faith, you will not succeed as an investor.
Do not sell when times are tough or when you are predicting times will be tough. “The measure of who we are is how we react to something that doesn’t go our way,” says San Antonio Spurs Coach and five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich.
Your savings and your investing should be repetitious and repeatable. We designed our investment process with these traits.
John Wooden said “I’m not a believer in meetings or so-called chalk talks or blackboard drills. I believe in learning by repetition to the point that everything becomes automatic.”
One of the ironies of financial advice is that people tend to ask, “What will you do if such and such happens?”. The answer you want to hear is not a clever solution to the hypothetical scenario, but rather that you will do what you always do.
Learning how not to be heroic, but rather how to be wise while executing your financial plan is another way to offer you the consistency that will serve you well. Thirteen-time NBA Champion Phil Jackson believes that “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.”
No doubt time, simplicity, faith and consistency will reap rewards. The secret is to keep moving forward with these mantras. Perhaps the world’s first life coach, Confucius, said “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” It is our goal to continue to offer our expertise and help coach you toward accomplishing your financial goals for the very long-term.