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What golf can teach us about retirement planning
money ladder

If you’re a golfer, you know the joys (and occasional frustrations) of the game. But you might not realize that some of the lessons you learn on the links can carry over to other areas of your life — such as retirement planning.

So whether you’re already retired or are planning to retire in the next few years, consider the following:

• Try to overcome the "yips." When you miss those short puts — the ones you know you should be making — you might be in the grip of the "yips." It’s not easy to shake this problem, but many golfers have benefited by working to improve concentration, especially by adhering to a strict pre-shot and in-shot routine. When investing for retirement, or managing their portfolios during retirement, many people can get the investment "yips" — that is, they get nervous during market downturns, and then make mistakes, such as selling quality investments when the price has dropped. (Remember: Buy low and sell high.) The solution is the same as for golf: Maintain your focus and concentrate on making appropriate moves, such as building and maintaining a diversified portfolio that’s suitable for you.

• Forget about that hole-in-one. It’s every golfer’s dream: a hole-in-one. When you tee up on that tempting par 3, you might want to go for it — but when you do, you could end up overshooting the green. Many investors also try for a "hole-in-one," in the form of pursuing that one "hot" stock that’s going to make them rich. However, by the time they hear about such a stock (if it even exists), it may have already cooled off — and, in any case, it might not be right for their needs. Instead of looking for that one-time winner, look for solid investments that you’d be comfortable holding for the long term.

• Study the course. The more you know about a course you’re going to play, the better. You can plan the approaches you’ll take on various holes and think about how to avoid the sand, water and rough. When planning for your retirement, or even when you’re living it, you also need a strategy, one that addresses questions such as: How can I structure my investment mix to provide a long-term income stream? How much should I withdraw from my portfolio? When should I take Social Security?

• Visualize. Consider these words from World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Faldo: "Visualization is the most powerful thing we have." If you can visualize what you want to do on each hole, you are on your way toward a successful round. The same holds true for retirement planning: If you can envision the type of retirement lifestyle you want, you’ll be more likely to achieve it by sticking with appropriate financial strategies.

So, there you have them — some ideas that play well on the links and in retirement.

This article was written by Edward Jones and provided by Evans, your local Edward Jones financial adviser.

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