Reaching Goals Faster with a Coach: Life Lessons from a Triathlon

As a Certified Financial Planner™, I’ve always seen the value of having a coach to help achieve financial success over the long haul. It’s sometimes frustrating to watch smart friends who would benefit from financial planning tread water year after year, thinking that they can do it “just as well” alone.

The old can-do spirit

Yet, when I started competing in Triathlon at the urging of a friend 4 years ago, I struck out on my own. Heck, it was only a small “sprint” Triathlon (800 meter swim; 25k bike and 5K run). What could be so hard? I trained over the winter for a June event, simply by increasing the amount of running, bicycling and swimming I was doing every week.

There wasn’t a plan, and I wasn’t strategic. Still, the results weren’t all that bad. I finished decently for a first-timer. But when the race was over and I returned to my routine, I felt drained. I lost my enthusiasm for the sport.

The following year—after months away and with much urging from my triathlon friends—I signed up again. My preparation for the event was pretty much the same as for Year One. With the same training, not surprisingly, I got pretty much the same results. Decent finish, exhaustion, and…loss of enthusiasm.

I needed a coach!

The lightbulb went on. Like my own financial planning clients, I needed a coach—an expert to help me achieve my goals for Triathlon. With 2 events under my belt, I now knew that these goals included enjoying the process, improving my level of fitness and competitiveness, and coming away after the event feeling energized and enthusiastic.

With a little grapevine research, and after attending some coach-led workouts, I found Coach Mary. I liked her coaching philosophy and the fact that she had formal training as a USA Triathlon Certified Coach, had many years of experience as a triathlete and was required to adhere to a code of ethics, just like a Certified Financial Planner ™.

She worked with me to set up a plan that included very targeted and specific workouts to help me achieve my goals. To my surprise, the plan included not only hard work, but scheduled rest days, and weeks when I tapered my training to keep me from feeling exhausted.

Working the plan: an ongoing effort

I checked in with Coach Mary regularly to update her about my progress. She came to our conversations with interesting news and ideas to inspire and challenge me. When issues came up, she brainstormed with me to find solutions. With Coach Mary on my side I never lost ground or became frustrated.

And what a difference! Instead of treading the same territory, as I did in the first 2 years, I’m now coming in at the top of my age group, and am now doing my first Iron Man 70.3—a 1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run.

Smarter, not harder

Like Coach Mary, your Certified Financial Planner™ can help you best use the resources you have available to accomplish your goals: buying a home, saving for college, dealing with career transitions, planning for retirement, or creating a legacy. Like Coach Mary, planners help keep you on track and make adjustments along the way as life happens.

It’s a faster, more efficient—and way more fun—approach to handling your financial life.

Interested? Or have questions? I am always delighted to discuss financial planning (and triathlons). Feel free to give me a call


Marshall Financial Group, Inc (“Marshall Financial”) is an SEC-registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.   This newsletter is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to Marshall Financial Group’s investment advisory services.  Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.  References to market indices are included for informational purposes only as it is not possible to directly invest in an index. The historical performance results of an index do not reflect the deduction of transaction, custodial, and management fees, which would decrease performance results. It should not be assumed that your account performance or the volatility of any securities held in your account will correspond directly to any comparative benchmark index.

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