Sticking to a Plan: Perspectives From a Triathlon

As financial planners, we often hear things like, “My friend read about this new investing approach…” or “My dad thinks I should invest in real estate with the money I inherited this year…”

Not just a good idea: the right idea for you

It’s tempting to use tactics that have been successful for people you know or read about. But the question Marshall advisors always ask is: is it appropriate for you and will it help you achieve your personal goals?

I have some insight into this on a personal level as a triathlete.

This summer, I participated in a Triathlon that required us to set up our bicycles in the Transition area the night before the race. It was the first time for me, and as I set my bike up on this windy evening I noticed the guy next to me used a bungee cord to secure his bicycle to the rack. I said it seemed like a good idea—one I hadn’t thought of because I never before had to set up the night ahead. He asked me how many races I had been in, because he always had to set up the night before.

Obviously he was an expert! So I asked him if it was safe to leave my flat-tire kit on my bicycle overnight; it is also where I keep some emergency cash. It turns out he never bothered with a flat tire kit, because he would not be able to win a race if he had to take time out to fix a flat. Seemed smart; I took my kit off my bike.

But what about my goals?

But the next day, as I passed a pile of glass shards on the road about 10 miles out, I was wishing I had my flat-fix kit with me. Why? My goals for the event were to finish and do my best based on the training plan I was following. Even if I got a flat tire, I could still finish the event if I had a repair kit. His goal was winning: mine was finishing.

I had let myself be influenced in a spur-of-the moment conversation and made a change to my plan, where it would have been smarter to call my coach. I am certain she would have helped me make the best decision for my personal situation.

I advise my clients to call me when they have questions about big life events– even when it’s not obviously a financial question. Discussing your ideas with an objective person who is knowledgeable about your life can help you stick with your plan and achieve YOUR goals.

Disclosure: 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.

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