Putting your finances first: Why a financial adviser is like a golf caddie

In the first article in his new series, Wellesley Adviser Harry Clewley discusses the unique partnership between a player and their caddie, and why he aims to create a similar relationship with his clients.

It’s no secret among my colleagues and clients that I enjoy a good round of golf, but what some people might not know is there are a surprising number of similarities between the beautiful game and personal finance – with consistency, planning and taking advice all coming to the ‘fore’.

Ahead of the Masters teeing off in under three weeks at Augusta National, I’ve been thinking about the parallels between the close golfer-caddie bond and the relationship between a good financial adviser and their client. There are more parallels than you might think!

 It’s all in the preparation

Caddies play a vital role before, during and after every game – offering strategic advice, support and confidence to the golfer. They wear many hats, and I’m not talking about their array of flat caps!

They do a lot of preparation before each tournament to help the player make informed decisions as he or she plays. And, where a caddie would walk the course before a tournament to check for targets, dangers and any influencing factors, a professional financial adviser will do the same when planning your financial future.

In golf, a small misstep can have a huge potential ripple effect (beyond ending up in the lake!), and the same can be said for a bad investment. Both a caddie and a financial adviser will therefore go into minute detail in their planning, taking into account all potential factors – for a caddie this might be a prevailing wind; for an adviser it could be the tailwinds of the COVID-19 storm.

 Emotional discipline

“The person I fear most in the last two rounds is myself.” – Tom Watson

We’ve all been there – our blind optimism turning to blind fury, as a rare albatross sighting turns out to be nothing more than a common bogey. Indeed, no matter how detailed your game plan, it can all come to nothing if you don’t allow for the human who has to play the shot – and the same can be said for your investments.

In a professional setting, emotions can run especially high, and a player’s emotions can win or lose a game. A caddie will be on hand to offer support, and ensure they stay calm during high-pressure situations. If a shot doesn’t go to plan, they will help the player dust themselves off, get back to the original game plan and, ultimately, up their game.

In golf, it’s all about making tiny adjustments to your game, and the same can be said for regular financial check-ins. 2020 showed us that unforeseen events can rock what we thought was a stable financial footing, and it’s easy to see how emotions can end up dictating your financial decisions. A financial adviser is there to help their clients adapt to unexpected events – giving them the confidence that they can still achieve their goals.

Looking long-term

While preparation and ongoing support are key factors, arguably the most important part of a caddie’s role is their relationship with the golfer. Take a look at current Masters champion Dustin Johnson and his caddie (and brother) Austin, as an example of a close player-caddie partnership – and also Tom Watson and his caddie Bruce Edwards.

By becoming their confidant and having a close bond, the caddie develops a deep understanding of the golfer’s game style and future goals – a good financial adviser will do the same. By building a long-term relationship, we can anticipate our client’s wants and needs, have a likeminded view, and set goals that are tailored to the client as an individual.

The word ‘long-term’ is key, as it’s about building trust and understanding over time. A recent report showed that “big life events” can trigger clients to seek advice. But by having a long-term adviser-client partnership, if you experience a so-called “big event” later down the line, you and your adviser can evaluate its impact in the context of your long-term goals. After all, golfers don’t just get a caddie for one major tournament!

 Putting your finances first with Wellesley

In summary, the similarities between financial adviser and caddie are clear to see. By building a close long-term relationship with a client, an adviser will help you play the long game – from preparing for life events that are ‘par for the course’ to reacting to unexpected bunker shots.

Like a caddie, we can help provide the emotional discipline required to ensure your financial plans are acted upon by providing guidance, reassurance, support and stability to help you stay on course to reach your goals. It’s you that needs to play the shot, but you need someone by your side that you trust in the important moments!

Don’t stray into the rough when it comes to your financial planning – speak to an expert.

Contact us today

If you have a question about taking financial advice or would like more information about my services, please contact Wellesley Wealth Advisory on 01444 244551 or via email at info@wellesleywa.co.uk.

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Author: Harry Clewley
Author: Harry ClewleyAdviser
harry.clewley@sjpp.co.uk