My golf swing, like many others, is an imperfect one. If I fix one part of that swing, the other parts that were compensating tend to contribute to a poor outcome. To effectively improve a golf swing and other parts of their game, a golfer needs a full renovation and a lot of practice to implement changes and consolidate these into repeatable actions.
Although I’ve managed to get my handicap down to single figures, I know I’m not capable of giving meaningful – or more importantly – correct advice on a golf swing to my friends. I can tell someone what worked for me and how I improved, but I can’t diagnose faults and I can’t instruct how to fix them (I know, I’ve tried with my son). So, I avoid giving golf tips, because I know I can’t help. I also know I’m likely to make things worse so I bite my tongue (although there may be some cheeky banter on the greens during putting if a wager is on the table).
This is where financial advice and golf do align. Many people take advice from their friends and family on wealth management and investment strategies. Mostly, these friends (also see “armchair experts”) are only sharing what has worked for them, either through good management or more likely, good luck. Only actions that worked are the ones shared. People don’t talk about the times they lost money or made mistakes….similarly, we rarely hear from punters backing horses that run last.
Generally speaking, others don’t know your financial situation well enough and won’t have the expertise to correct your “swing”. Yet people still take advice and sometimes even act on it. As is often the case with golf, seeking expert financial advice becomes too hard and instructions given are quickly forgotten. Invariably, people revert to what they’ve always done and inertia takes hold.
When I want to improve my golf game I go to a PGA Professional who has all the video equipment and resources along with a trained eye built on years of experience to help. We establish a plan, we implement the strategies he has designed for me personally to implement these changes. I go away, and work on these techniques through practice and repetition in an effort to make this permanent. When my progress falters, we meet to review and talk about the challenges of not consolidating them effectively and tailor the plan if necessary or just revisit the little gold nuggets of wisdom. All this in a desire to accomplish my personal goals.
There’s a moral to this story. When I want to improve my golf, I go see my coach. If people want to improve their financial situation, think about consulting a professional with access to a toolkit to assist you.