Ahh.. it’s spring time here in the Midwest and it’s already warm enough to golf! There’s nothing like whacking that ball and seeing it rise and fall against the bright blue sky (well, that’s the way it’s supposed to happen anyways). I love golf. It’s funny how a goofy game can teach you so much about life – and even personal finance!
If you golf – I hope you will relate to the following. If you don’t – I still hope you’re able to take away a few things that you can apply to your own financial situation (and, start playing – you’re missing out!)
Fairways and Greens
Golf is all about consistency. If you can consistently make the same movement and keep the ball in play, you’re going to do very well. If you stray off the fairways and miss a lot of greens – there are plenty of traps, hazards and junk to mess up your score. Same holds true in personal finance. It’s often about making small, but wise choices, over and over again. When you consistently save, spend wisely and make wise financial choices – you will set a course for independence/freedom.
Bad and Good Breaks
Sometimes called the “rub of the green” – your golf ball may hit a rock, a tree, or your playing partner and end up in the creek OR two feet away from the hole. Good or bad – that’s the way it goes. I’ve had a lot of instances where I’ve been “robbed” of a good shot – but at the same time – been helped by something fortuitous during play. So it goes in personal finance. Sometimes the roof leaks – our car breaks down OR we’re left a large sum of money from Aunt Mabel. These are the breaks. How we weather these rubs of the green will make a huge difference as we continue to play the “game”.
Your Playing Partners
One of the real treasures of golf is getting to play with and meet different people from all walks of life. Some of my best friends have come through the game (including Charlie!). But pick your playing partners carefully. They can really lift your game up or bring you down. Surround yourself with good, encouraging and helpful people in your life. Be around those who encourage, inspire and are financially healthy. These folks have your back at all times and will even help you look for a lost ball.
Ever tried to golf with clubs that are too short, too long or just inferior in quality? Your game will suffer. Make sure you are properly fitted with the right equipment and you’ll play better. Do you have all the right tools in your financial life? A sound budget that is easy to follow? A retirement plan? Are you informed about your options?
Minimize Your Misses
Ben Hogan – who is widely considered to have possessed the most “perfect” golf swing ever – was once asked how many good shots he hit after another excellent round of golf. Hogan held up his hand, showing 4 fingers. Golf is often times considered a “game of misses”. The more you minimize your miss-hits, the better you’ll score. It’s bound to happen that you will make your share of mistakes with your finances too. The key is to not exacerbate them. If you bury yourself under a mountain of debt – cut your losses, learn from your bad choices and get back to the basics of saving and spending within your means.
I could go on – as there are so many parallels to the game of golf and personal finance! Do you see any other things we can learn from this great game?