April 9, 2021

A Great Financial Planner and a Golf Caddy

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In the week that’s in it for golf nerds I thought that I would highlight the role that a great Financial Planner carries out is something akin to that of a what a great Professional Golf Caddy does. For those who aren’t tuned into Sky Sports Golf over the last few days the 2021 Masters is being held this week in Augusta, Georgia and only the world’s best golfers are invited to participate. Included in this year’s golfers are our own Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry.

While the players get all the focus there is also a huge team behind each individual golfer including a Commercial Manager, a Physiotherapist, and a Psychologist in addition to the Caddy. To the uninitiated, the Caddy is the person who carries the golf bag, hands the player his individual clubs, cleans the clubs after each shot is played and rakes the bunker if the player hits a wayward shot in that direction.

But there is so much more to the role of the Caddy. Before each tournament begins the professional Caddy arrives a day or two in advance to walk the course, cross check distances on the course against the official tournament yardage book, identify the best approach on each hole as well as where not to hit the ball. After that, the Caddy meticulously examines the green for slopes and breaks before then checking for local weather patterns and the prevailing wind direction. All of this information will then be used to help the player strategically prepare for each round prior to teeing off as well as making key decisions during the round itself.

With the more personalised TV coverage where individual elite golfer groupings are closely followed it has become more obvious that the Professional Caddy is also there to provide moral and mental support to their player by giving them the confidence to stick to their strategy and process as well as provide reassurance to the golfer during pressure situations. This is where I think we can draw on the comparisons between a great Financial Planner and a professional Golf Caddy.

At a basic level Financial Planners carry out things expected of us like updating a balance sheet and reviewing the performance of investment portfolio. Technically we are required through our professional affiliations to keep up to date on financial regulations and rules, economic outlooks, taxation changes as well as stock market movements and the charges of the various financial products.

But before all that we also need to evaluate any potential risks that may need to be eliminated by insurance protection. I always find that such conversations with a client tends to generate a better understanding of what’s really important to them and their family and so gives them a base upon which to make sound financial decisions going forward.

But, as was seen in the last 12 months of volatile stockmarkets, Financial Planners are also on hand to provide moral and mental support as well as the confidence to stick to a predesignated financial plan especially in challenging times.

Furthermore, when comparing a great Financial Planner and a professional Golf Caddy, when a client hits a proverbial ball into the trees, we can help individuals get out of trouble and back on the fairway. Life is never straightforward and everyone has experienced some period in their life when they or a family member have been thrown a curveball in at least one area of health, wealth, business or career. In such instances a Financial Planner can help clients stabilise and become comfortable with what will become their new normal.

Every now and again as part of our many client reviews, I am asked questions like “Do I have enough money?”, “Will I run out of money?”, and “What if the stockmarkets drop?”

As a key financial adviser, we keep clients focused on their goals and help them steer them away from the emotions that might compromise their goals. In the same way that a golfer can start to doubt their own ability the Caddy keeps them on track and stop emotional biases from impacting on their performance and executing a particular shot.

At the end of the day, we realise that our clients and money are not a game of golf, but we actually do play an integral role in how successfully our clients achieve their goals, live the life they deserve and hopefully enjoy a great financial outcome. After all, what we want is to build a tremendous bond with our clients and enjoy being part of their winning team!

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