How to Be a Better Golfer and Achieve Financial Independence

by Alexander Green, Investment U Chief Investment Strategist
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Alexander Green

Bob Toski’s classic book, The Touch System for Better Golf, could make you rich. But for those of you who haven’t read it yet, I’m happy to give you the gist of it and how it can set you on the path to financial independence…

As a senior in high school, I was captain of my golf team. I had a great short game. My iron shots were pretty good, too. The problem was my driver. Oh, I hit a long way. But too often the ball ended up beyond the white stakes or deep in the elephant grass.

That changed after I read Bob Toski’s book. Toski pointed out that most golfers get on the tee, aim down the middle, and then try to hit the ball as far as they can…

Big mistake. The driver is just like any other club, Toski insisted. You need to aim for a target. You can’t just point it down the middle. You need to select an exact spot in the fairway and hit to it. When you do, you quit jumping out of your shoes and swing more smoothly. Your driving accuracy – and distance – improves immediately, just by having a definite target in mind.

What does golf have to do with achieving financial independence? Everything, really…

How Golf and Financial Independence Go Hand-in-Hand

In my former life as a money manager, I would ask prospective clients what they were trying to achieve with their investment portfolios.

“Well, I’m trying to make a lot of money,” was the typical reply.

“By what date?” I asked.

“The sooner the better.”

There’s an old saying: If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not likely to get there. This is especially true in investing.

You need a definite goal (an exact spot in the fairway). Then you can put together a plan to achieve it.

“I’d like to be rich,” is not a goal.

“I’d like to have a $1 million net worth on my 65th birthday.” Now that’s a goal.

Once you have a goal, making a plan is easy. For instance, let’s say you are 25 years from retirement. How much do you need to save every month? Well, get out a financial calculator. (Or visit Investment U’s ROI calculator.) If you save $750 a month – and do no better than the stock market’s long-term annual return of 10% a year – you will have $1,003,418 in 25 years.

You want to have $3 million when you retire? Increase your savings… or your rate of return… or your number of years working… or all three. The important thing is to know where you’re going so you can devise a plan to get there.

Your First Steps Towards Achieving Financial Independence

If this sounds awfully basic, rest assured it isn’t. Studies show most Americans don’t have a clue how much to save for retirement.

The recently released 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey, conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), reveals that 42% of those polled are just guessing how much they’ll need in retirement and have no confidence in their retirement plans.

Fretting doesn’t change a thing, however. Money compounding does.

So get out the financial calculator…

  • Play with the numbers.
  • Adjust the amount saved.
  • Vary the annual returns.
  • Consider different retirement dates.

Keep it realistic – and decide what you need to do.

Take Bob Toski’s advice and aim for something specific. That’s your first step toward financial independence.

Good Investing,

Alex

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