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What sports coaches and investment advisors have in common

Your financial advisor can be a coach during the steady times and a lieutenant during the tough times. But finally, the journey is yours and yours alone to traverse

July 02, 2021 / 10:58 AM IST

In the last few weeks, sports fans have been treated to some exciting and memorable moments. In tennis, the French Open probably witnessed one of those transitional moments in history, when the baton gets well and truly passed, with the eventual winner finally getting his nose ahead.

India and New Zealand played an epic game of cricket over 6 days to determine the first-ever World Test Champion. New Zealand pipped India at the post, but were deserving champions, and finally gave credence to the belief that nice guys don’t always have to come second.

And just when we are recovering from these events, the great football spectacles of the UEFA European Football Championships and the Copa America are separately unfolding, with some great battles underway.

These three sports are completely contrasting in the way they are played, in the intensity of the games, the importance of the team versus the individual as well as the interplay between the players and the coach.

In this article, we will focus on just the last point and look for some significant differences and learnings that we can apply to how we manage our money.


Games, coaches and investments

Cricket, particularly test cricket, is a game that is a test of both nerves as well as patience. You will have long periods where nothing happens, though, in the end, it matters that every over and every session is played well. The captain and the coach spend time together understanding the conditions, the team’s strengths and weaknesses and then prepare a meticulous plan that allows the team to put its best foot forward. Importantly, while the coach and support staff are closely involved in the making of the plans, the captain is the person in the driver’s seat, executing the plan and over the period and taking the crucial decisions.

Your long-term journey with managing money is something that should be similar. While it can test your nerves once in a while, it definitely is a game of patience over long periods of time. Having a financial coach or advisor who will help you put a plan in place, which can then be executed over time as well as reviewed periodically, means that when those tests of nerves come, you stay prepared.

Football, on the other hand, is a game that is fast and furious, and where the game lasts for a mere ninety minutes. There is literally no breathing space with every move or pass being potentially game-changing in nature. And while the playing captain is the leader, keeping his flock composed and in shape, it’s the coach, even though in the sidelines, who is directing his team’s game, gesticulating furiously, warning players of potential problems/gaps as well as advising them on how they are doing, taking responsibility at all points in time.

In your wealth-creation journey, while having a plan that guard-rails you will follow carefully over time is important. There come those times when, all of a sudden, either something that you didn’t plan for happens, or the need to take a detour from the plan becomes necessary. In such a time, it’s your advisor who helps bring in that objective “big picture” view of a football coach, understanding implications, assessing pros and cons and ultimately guiding you towards what needs to be done and what must not be.

Financial advisors can avert mistakes

Tennis is probably one of the most intense individual sports one can encounter, with the player having to manage long periods of time completely alone, with no guidance whatsoever allowed. While the coach and training staff are an integral part of the training and planning, they cannot step into the player’s shoes. The player who wins in the end is the one who not only endured for longer physically, but also is the more resilient in the mind.

Similarly, your financial advisor can be a coach during the steady times and a lieutenant during the tough times. But finally, the journey is yours and yours alone to traverse. And in the end, apart from your actual actions, it is your behavior that will hold you in good stead as you move forward in life, trying to achieve your financial goals. A good financial advisor may be a barrier between you and your money mistakes, but at the end, it is your behavior, your habits and your actions that will determine whether you decide to heed the barrier or cross it.
Girish Ganaraj is Co-founder, Finwise Personal Finance Solutions
first published: Jul 2, 2021 10:54 am

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