One of my greatest joys, and greatest frustrations at the same time, is a round of golf in the summer.
John Feinstein wrote an incredible book about golf where it accurately described it as “a good walk spoiled” because it is exciting, thrilling, and completely bewildering all at the same time.
For me, a good round always comes down to that 18th hole. I’m typically down a stroke and I’m walking up to the tee thinking, “well, if he chunks it into the woods and I can lay up for par, I can win.”
But the truth is, whether we are discussing golf, investing, or any important decision, it is all about ignoring the noise and hitting the shot in front of you.
I can’t control if my competition is going to hit it into a bunker just as I can’t control if markets are going to go up or down tomorrow.
Whether on the golf course or dealing with fluctuating markets, there are a lot of things that are out of our control. We need to control the controllable and stop altering the plan based on things we cannot control.
When it comes to money, there are things out of our control: the economy, interest rate changes, tax rate changes, and inflation.
We all do our best to anticipate worst-case scenarios, like changes in your tax bracket over time. As a financial advisor, I work hard to plan and project for possible outcomes.
But just like in golf, you must hit the shot in front of you, and sometimes that means hitting a shot from a sand trap. If your ball is buried in the rough, sometimes you must take your medicine, and just keep moving forward.
Remember: there are always things you can control. When it comes to money, you can control your emotions, your level of diversification, your budget, and your expenses.
And just like in golf, where it’s good to have a caddy in your corner to help you measure the next shot carefully, it is good to have a financial advisor in your corner.
An advisor can help you stay unemotional and keep you on track to take the shot in front of you and help you control the controllable.