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4 Tips for Successful Investing: You Will Play Like You Practice

I’ve coached park and recreation basketball for fifteen years. Over that time, I’ve come to appreciate the parallels between playing basketball and successful objective-driven investing.

This article will be the first of a four-part series that focuses on tips for successful investing. We’ll explore four tenants that govern every team I coach. Today, we’ll explore the principle titled ‘You Will Play Like You Practice’. 

The remaining three topics in the series we’ll discuss are:

  1. If You’re Going To Do It, Do It
  2. If It Is To Be, It Is up to Me
  3. Pearls of Great Price Aren’t To Be Had for the Asking

The best investment strategies harness elements of transferable soft skills and principles from all walks of life. It’s important to merge skills you’ve developed to become successful in other areas of life with your investment approach.

What It Means To Play Like You Practice

You Will Play Like You Practice is probably the most important standard of excellence for which any of my teams strive. Said another way, outwork yesterday, outwork your opponent. The effort you put in on the court is a direct function of the effort you put into practice for that moment.

I’ve told my players that no team has ever accidentally won a game. Nothing good ever happens by accident. You work to put yourself in a position to achieve greatness. 

It’s methodical, intentional, structured, planned, and driven by a will to succeed and a refusal to accept anything less than the highest standard you can set for yourself. If you approach practice with a half-hearted effort, then you’ll achieve mediocre results.

How Does It Relate To Successful Investing?

Investing is no different. No one ever accomplished a retirement goal by accident. 

You envision a 40-year retirement plan. You’re not going to achieve that goal in one year, so you break it down into manageable, quarterly, attainable goals. 

Just like we break our season schedule into games of four quarters, and the goal becomes to win each quarter by two points. Then it’s structured. 

You commit to a certain dollar amount per month into your 401k. Methodically, you make that investment every month, without fail. You intentionally work with your advisor to remain abreast of economic trends and market factors and proactively manage the account rather than just making reactive adjustments.

You’re driven by the will to be independent one day, on your terms, with the financial freedom for which you’ve fought over your working life. It requires a lot of sweat, effort, mental toughness, and sacrifice.

Achieving long-term goals is a proactive process. Our championship trophies represent moments in time when nets were cut down, and we achieved goals. What you need to realize is that championship moments in time are merely the culmination of hundreds of minutes of practicing like we wanted to play over the previous four-month season.

Every year, every month, every week, every day, the objective is to simply push the bar just a bit higher than the day before. Outwork yesterday. Outwork the opponents of apathy, lethargy, skepticism, fear, greed, and sensationalism. 

Athletes condition their bodies in the gym. Investors should condition their minds by being involved, learning, and engaging with their advisors.

Become One of My Investing Success Stories

You’ll play like you practice. How are you practicing? Are you deliberately, methodically, and intentionally outworking yesterday in an effort to win a championship? 

In this analogy, I see myself as my client’s coach, and our goal is to cut down a retirement net one day. If you’re not on a team, then give us a call, and let’s start working toward your championship.

*David R. Guttery, RFC, RFS, CAM, is a financial advisor and has been in practice for 31 years. He is the president of Keystone Financial Group in Trussville, Ala. David offers products and services using the following business names:  Keystone Financial Group – insurance and financial services | Ameritas Investment Company, LLC (AIC), Member FINRA / SIPC – securities and investments | Ameritas Advisory Services – investment advisory services.  AIC and AAS are not affiliated with Keystone Financial Group. Information provided here is gathered from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. This information should not be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

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