GUEST POST SERIES ….
Today I am very happy to bring you a guest post from Derek at MillionDollarHacker. Derek started learning about saving money at a young age. He was lucky enough to learn from the best source possible: his parents. Derek is a software engineer by trade, but writes about personal finance in his free time. You can get his free eBook which teaches you how to level up from a beginner to an expert level money saver. Hope you enjoy it and check out Derek’s blog at MillionDollarHacker. Thanks for reading!
I bet you’ve never tried to find lessons on building wealth in your golf game. Golf and wealth have much more in common than you think.
I never played golf much as a child, but I’ve found a love for the game in my early 30s. Golf keeps me coming back for more. I’ve put much more time into golf than any other activity in the past couple years (I’m not sure if I should be proud of that).
Many lessons on wealth building can be learned from the game of golf.
Golf keeps me thinking. The game is such a battle of your mental wits. It tests you around every tee box and green.
Those mental tests in golf have made me start thinking how the game relates to wealth building. Golfing eighteen holes takes quite a long time and the courses are filled with tough challenges.
Isn’t that true of building wealth and growing your portfolio?
You’re constantly bombarded with advertisements craving your hard earned money. Things are becoming more expensive each year and it’s easy to come across new challenges every day.
When you head out to the golf course the next time, I encourage you to think about what you can learn. Your mental approach to golf can translate into success and failure in your life.
1. As you build wealth, you will slice the ball into the woods every now and then.
Imagine you’re standing on the first tee, calmly, and you feel the sun on your face. You can feel the gentle breeze brushing across your arms. Ok, I know, you’re really nervous as hell and you just don’t want to hit anyone.
What you’re really telling yourself, “Hit it straight.”
You didn’t get a chance to warm up on the range. And little do you know, neither the ball nor the club care about what you want. They’ll simply listen to your energy.
As you finally guide the club through the hitting zone, the club makes contact with the ball. You look up in disbelief. Thwack.
The ball starts off straight but quickly veers right like a heat-seeking missile in search of its target. Sound familiar? We’re all vulnerable to the wicked slice every now and then. It pops up out of nowhere.
The same is true when you’re building wealth and trying to achieve financial independence. We can’t hit it straight all the time.
You’ll come across a time where you realize you’ve picked a bad investment. It could be so bad you lose 75-90% of your money. I’m a young guy and I have a stock in my portfolio down 90%.
That’s the beauty of building wealth and why it’s so challenging. It keeps us coming back and striving for me, just like the game of golf. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
2. Hole in ones are tough. Luckily, you can build wealth by working hard.
As most golfers know, hole in ones are few and far between. In your entire lifetime, you may never have one.
You could play thousands of rounds over the course of your life and the illusive hole in one could never reveal its existence. It’s a unicorn.
However, there’s a lesson to be learned.
You can never get a hole in one if you aren’t out there trying. That’s right. If you don’t show up to the golf course, you have 0% chance to find the bottom of the cup.
The same is true for building wealth. If you don’t put your money to work, it can never work for you. For many years, you have to experiment with investments and grind it out round after round.
Do you remember when you played your first round of golf? You were terrible, right? I know I was. I’m guessing your round was filled with duffs, hosel rockets, and you might have even missed the ball a time or two.
That’s what it’s like when you start investing. You have to grind it out to make any progress.
When you start investing and working on your wealth, you’re going to look terrible doing it. Stick with it and get better over time. Put in the work. If you do, you’ll slowly get better and you’ll thank yourself for staying dedicated.
3. Drive for show, putt for dough. You don’t need to make a ton of money to become wealthy.
Have you ever played a round with someone who could knock the snot out of the ball? Then when you get up around the green, they can’t control the speed of their putts or the touch of their pitches.
Driving the ball is raw power. There’s some amount of control involved, but essentially you try to wallop the ball as far as you can.
The details are in putting. There’s so much involved. Speed, reading undulations, firmness, softness, moisture, solid contact, and much more.
People that can drive it far but stink it up around the greens are like high income earners who don’t know how to save. They spend all their time growing their income but they aren’t very good at keeping it.
I’m not trying to criticize these people. Trust me, the game of golf is difficult. However, it seems like a fitting analogy.
There are many golfers out there who hit the ball average distances and dominate the greens. Their scores are low because of it.
That’s the important thing to remember here. Even if you don’t make a lot of money, you can focus on the details of wealth building. You can budget, save, and invest better than those guys that can bomb it a mile.
The game of golf is a marathon, not a sprint. You get rewarded for linking numerous shots together to accumulate a great score.
The same is true of building wealth. Four average shots are better than one great shot and three awful shots.
You will build wealth by working your way around all of life’s obstacles. You can steadily build your wealth regardless of your income if you save properly and pay attention to the details.
4. You don’t need fancy clubs. Fancy new cars are no symbols of wealth.
Henrik Stenson famously won The Open with a club from 2011. While a bunch of guys on tour use the latest and greatest clubs, the winner decided to stick with his favorite.
I’m sure we’ve all been beaten by that guy using antiques. I game a set of Mizunos, but I’ve seen others with clubs older than most teenagers.
You don’t need fancy investments to build wealth. Sometimes building wealth is boring, but it works. And that’s a good thing.
You don’t need to flip houses and you certainly don’t need to invest in tech startups. There are plenty of millionaires out there who have simply invested in index funds. They slowly built their wealth over time. There’s nothing fancy about it – almost boring really.
A great round of golf can be achieved with 20 year old clubs. Will you get the distance of some of the newer clubs? Probably not. Is distance everything? Nope.
Stick to what you know. If you know the antiques market inside and out, you can probably make a lot of money investing in it. If you love and study real estate, you might be great at building a portfolio of rental properties.
Don’t be distracted by fancy, shiny new clubs. Stick to what you know and you’ll be just fine.
5. The guy wearing jeans and a t-shirt might be better than you. Millionaires tend to be modest.
Do fancy clothes reflect a golfer’s skill level? I sure hope not. Some guys who love the game enough don’t have time to shop for fancy clothes.
Looks can be deceiving. The guy with the fancy watch might not be as wealthy as you think. Millionaires tend to keep to themselves and they certainly don’t advertise their wealth.
As they say, don’t judge a book by its cover.
When you’re looking for advice about how to build your own wealth, don’t turn to the guy with a brand new car every year. Brand new cars are expensive. Brand new cars eat into your savings.
More than likely, you can find a modest millionaire in your neighborhood. These are the guys you should turn to for advice.
You can likely use this same strategy at the golf course. Instead of finding the guy with the fancy new clubs and gadgets, look for the guy with the worn down bag and rusted wear patterns on his irons. That’s the guy you want to seek advice from.
6. Nobody cares about your day job. Wealthy people come from all walks of life.
Let’s golf. That’s the mindset of most people when they get out on the course. I know that’s how I feel.
And I don’t care who I’m playing golf with either. Golf is so much fun, why do I care if you’re a school teacher or an investment banker?
Golf is an opportunity to share in a great game we all love. The same is true when you’re investing and building wealth. It doesn’t matter what you do for your day job.
Anyone can build wealth over time using the eighth wonder of the world: compound interest. Once you reach a certain point, your income simply doesn’t matter.
There are plenty of high income earning families who fail to build wealth. And yet, people who practice saving, budgeting, and spending less than they earn can build wealth at a greater pace.
You are not limited by your career. You are only limited by how much you spend and save relative to your income.
That’s exactly like the game of golf. You are not limited by the course you play or the clubs you keep in your bag. You are only limited by how much you practice and practice well. Remember that.
7. Sometimes walking the course is better for your game. Building wealth is a slow process.
When you’re playing golf, do you ever take a cart and feel rushed? Get out of the cart, hit the ball. Get back into the cart, speed to where your ball ended up.
I feel like that sometimes.
That’s why I love walking the course. I get to know the course better. I feel it breathing. As Bagger Vance once said, “See the field.”
Can you see how this applies to achieving financial independence and building wealth?
Sometimes it’s better to go slow and see the details. When you go fast, you might miss something – your field of view is changed. Your mind doesn’t have as much time to refocus between shots.
The journey is important. There’s no sense rushing to your destination if it means you leave your family behind.
8. Don’t compound your mistakes. Emotional investing is bad for your wealth.
We all take bad shots from time to time. For me, I make bad shots pretty much all the time.
As many of us know, golf is hugely a mental game. If you lose focus for one second, the results are disastrous.
If you hit a bad shot and let your mental state fall into a burning fire, there’s a high chance your next shot will be even worse. Don’t let that happen.
When you’re building wealth, don’t let one bad investment lead you to another. Take time to reset and look around. Study your surroundings and learn from your mistakes.
After I hit a bad shot on the course, I like to take a mental note. If I can go home and do a little reading about why I felt like that, it might help me next time.
That’s what you should do with your finances. If you have a bad investment in your portfolio, try to understand why it’s bad. Maybe it’s just having a down year and you should hold on?
Don’t build wealth with your emotions. Don’t get mad and upset with you don’t get results. You won’t build wealth that way.
Instead, invest with objectivity. See the data and act on it. Once you’re focused and clear on what you want to do, then move forward.
9. You will have a terrible round once in awhile. Don’t let bad investments ruin your long term wealth goals.
It happens to the best of us. We have a great round. We’re super excited to get out on the course next time.
Then next time comes. We suck. We’ve got a case of the shanks. Those damn shankopotamus have found their way back.
But, as is golf, you will have a bad round every once in awhile.
As is building wealth and investing, you will have some bad years. It’s guaranteed. Even the best investors in the world can’t avoid them.
When it comes to your finances, just know those years will come if they haven’t already. At that point, simply tell yourself it’s only one year.
For most of us building wealth, we’ve had great years. That’s what should keep you motivated and level headed when the bad years come.
The worst thing you can do is stop in the middle of your round. That’s like pulling your money out of the stock market. It’s almost always the wrong thing to do.
Instead, grind through that bad round. That bad round will teach you a lot about yourself.
As humans, we learn a bunch when faced with fear and adversity. It’s a forced way of seeing how far we’ve matured. Don’t miss out on the opportunity.
As painful as it is to watch the value of your portfolio decrease, stay the course.
Like golf, building wealth is a long game. In golf, you don’t become scratch overnight. And for most of us, you don’t become a millionaire without years of hard work.
10. The price of a course doesn’t always reflect its quality. Building wealth is done through hard work with nothing to show for it.
For most golfers, we’ve played a lot of courses in our lifetime. Although you can find brilliantly kept courses for high prices, there’s a lot of greatness to be found at your budget courses as well.
When you’re focused on saving and building your portfolio, it’s easy to look at others and compare yourself. It’s easy to drive down your street noticing the big house and the brand new car. You might even think those people are wealthy.
In reality, chances are the complete opposite is true. Those people might have a lot of debt on their hands. You may actually have more wealth than them.
Think about the golf courses in your area. Do you find the best golfers at the most expensive courses? I think not. In reality, people who can play expensive courses simply have the money to do so.
You might actually find the best golfers at the average course. These are typically people who love the game and don’t see which course they belong to as a status symbol.
Building wealth is a very personal thing. If you’re growing your retirement portfolio, you care about yourself and your family. You don’t typically care what others think and you don’t need to buy things to flaunt your wealth to the neighborhood.
Golf is a tough game. You might never figure it out. Luckily, building wealth and growing your savings is quite a bit easier.
If you take your time and don’t let your emotions get in the way, you can find ways to build wealth over time. Better yet, you can learn many lessons from things you do every day, like golf.
You can’t always hit great shots much like you can’t always pick great investments. If you could do that, you’d be Tiger Woods or Warren Buffet. Even so, those guys don’t always have the right answers.
Don’t get down on yourself. Keep trucking along. Know that sometimes building wealth will give you nothing to show for it. You can’t always buy that brand new car because you need to contribute that money to your retirement.
Don’t worry. People that always buy new cars typically have a lot of expenses. Instead of saving that money and letting it grow with compound interest, they waste it. You don’t have to be those people.
You can spend less than you earn and save for the future.
And take your time. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy the journey instead of speeding along on a golf cart. Feel the breeze. Touch the grass. Enjoy your wife and kids. It’s no fun walking off the 18th green with a really bad score and all alone.
What lessons on building wealth can you find from your own golf game? Let us know in the comments below.