How to be a Master’s Champ in Investing

Apr 2024

The Master’s golf tournament is arguably one of the best sporting events of the year.  As a long-time golf fan and amateur hack, I look forward to it every year, and this year’s tournament didn’t disappoint.  The winner, Scottie Sheffler, won his second green jacket in the past three years.  He’s unquestionably the best golfer on the planet (although female PGA pro Nelly Korda might take exception–she’s won five tournaments in a row!) and has been for the past few years.

Sheffler’s talent is well-known, especially if you’ve watched him play, and he attributes much of his success to the team around him, which includes his manager, golf coach, caddie, family, and friends.  Listening to him speak after victories teaches humility and gratitude.  His calm demeanor rarely sidetracks him when competing, especially after a poor shot.

As I thought about Sheffler’s talent and demeanor, I realized there are excellent parallels to successful investing.  Investors would be wise to study Mr. Sheffler and the way he conducts himself on the course, which leads me to consider a few lessons investors can take away from The Master’s Champ:

Assemble your team.

Like Sheffler, who surrounds himself with people who serve only his best interests, investors should consider assembling their team. An investor’s team may consist of a financial advisor, CPA/accountant, and estate planning attorney. Each professional plays a vital role.  Taking the advice of experienced professionals is far better than attempting to go at it alone or taking advice from social media, CNBC, Google, or some other outlet.

Don’t get sidetracked

The rollercoaster of emotions that investing can have on us is enormous.  When times are good, we feel invincible and believe the success will last indefinitely.  Of course, we know it never does, and when it doesn’t, we begin to feel nervous or frightened when markets are declining.  Even the most well-thought-out investment strategy, ideally suited to one’s situation, can succumb to market fears and cause people to make changes they later regret.  Learn from Sheffler: this is your time to stay calm and focused.  Like a bad golf shot, if you’ve made a wrong decision, you have time to make changes to help improve your situation.

Patience is paramount.

Pros don’t expect to win every major tournament because it is unrealistic.  However, there is nothing wrong with finishing in the top ten or twenty.  Similarly, investors should not expect to beat or match the market annually.  It is impractical, and attempting it might result in too much risk, often leading to poor outcomes (losing money, having to retire later, etc.)

Consistency is key

Golf pros spend hours practicing and fine-tuning their skills.  Investors should strive to get more involved in their finances, develop excellent savings habits, formulate a sound financial plan, and reach out for help when they feel anxious and concerned that they might not be moving in the right direction.  Many people don’t spend enough time formulating or consistently sticking to a plan.

Key takeaway.

Being number one in professional golf, or any sport is a tremendous achievement.  It represents success at a very high level.  The tricky part is staying number one.  Fortunately for investors, they don’t have to be number one to succeed.  Staying calm during good and bad markets, adhering to a sound investment strategy, and seeking professional help when the time is right, are traits of a successful investor.

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