Pete’s Path Pt. 2: What I learned from volleyball – You don’t have to be big to play big
This is part two in a series called Pete’s Path where he explains some of the important lessons he learned in sport, and how he applies them everyday with clients.
Like many of my early sports my dad got me into it. Except this time he was coaching someone else. The KC Senior Girls teams of his era were tall, athletic, and strong, and I was pretty small as I was barely 5 years old. Nevertheless I hung around the gym, collecting stray balls, cheering on the team, and sometimes filling in a spot when numbers were low. I distinctly remember their star player hitting the ball from the other side and getting hit squarely in the forehead with enough power to knock over my 4ft high frame. Everyone was worried about it except me. I wondered why everyone stopped playing, I had kept the ball in the air against the best player on the team! I had emulated the best players and put myself in the right position, I was just a little small. I started playing on my own teams and in university I earned a spot on the Queen’s Men’s Volleyball team where we won two Provincial Championships in my four years with the program. Volleyball is a big man’s game and every year except one I was the smallest person on the team. But I always watched how the best players moved, thought, and played the game. I hung with people who were often six inches to a full foot taller than me by being smart and preparing for everything.
As an athlete I’ve always tried to follow and figure out what the best players are doing. Do you know what the best planners, savers, and investors are doing?
The best planners build out strategies to cover their clients for life. Single assumptions aren't good enough. While your situation may change year to year your life goals don't and yoru plan needs to address that. How would a 10% market correction change your retirement timeline? For some people it would be inconsequential because they have a long time to make it back up. For others it would be very dramatic.
The best savers are automating everything and taking advantage of every strategic opportunity they can. Humans are not great at delation gratification and saving for retirement is pretty much the pinnacle of that. When your savings are automatically taken from your paycheque, or happen the same day as deposited, you never have to make the decision to pull money out of your bank account, it just happens. What’s better? Getting your employer to do some saving for you. Employer-matching contributions can automatically increase your savings rate. Take advantage of it! It becomes inspiring to see your investments increase month over month, and to realize that you don’t even have to think about it.
What are the best investors doing? In my opinion they are doing one of two things: they are either selecting stocks like Warren Buffet by purchasing a small list that they thoroughly understand and believe in, or they are buying the market as a whole. In Buffet’s case sometimes the company that you understand the best is your own so he purchases more of his own stock. Most people, especially those outside of finance, don’t have the time to research every individual company and every balance sheet; so they pick large sections of the stock market and do it in a cost effective way. The slow, consistent returns of a dividend-focused mutual fund aren’t sexy, but steady growth always beats a bumpy ride.
Does your plan include a strategy to address a bump in the road? How does it track progress toward your life goals? Have you automated a way to delay gratification? Have you had your employer do that for you? And are you following the strategies of the best investors?
Most of us are not big enough to be big players in most aspects of life. But we can certainly play just like them. If your plans, savings, and investments don’t emulate the big players, let us help you find a way. We want your team to succeed.