On 2 October, professional and amateur runners will take on the London Marathon, navigating 26 gruelling miles around the capital.
As a professional athlete yourself, you can no doubt sympathise with the task these individuals are taking on. A marathon is a test of physical and mental endurance, pushing your body to the limit to achieve the best time possible.
In many ways, managing your money is exactly like a marathon: it is a long-term undertaking where preparation and execution are vital to your success.
So, read five financial planning lessons you can learn from the London Marathon.
1. You need to properly prepare before you begin
To start with when running a marathon, you need to properly train and prepare. There are many hours in the gym and miles on the road in the months leading up to the race before you take on the real thing.
Money management is just the same. You should start making preparations for your money before you make any decisions. This ensures that you make informed choices with your wealth, rather than hitting the road blindly without having completed the necessary groundwork.
Just as you need to put a fair few miles into your legs before you can take on the main event, failing to prepare your finances often means preparing to fail.
2. It is vital to have a strategy for the entire race
Next is the importance of having a race strategy. No matter how much training they do, if a runner turns up at the start line of the London Marathon in October with the belief that they can simply start running and succeed, they are in for a long afternoon.
Runners know how vital it is to pace themselves, understanding when to push and when to take a breather, as they make their way around the course. They need to have done their homework and prepared a race strategy, ensuring they are ready for what will be around the corner at every twist and turn.
When it comes to your money, a plan or a strategy can be invaluable. You should look to work out how to make the most of your wealth, choosing the most appropriate methods for you and balancing them carefully.
This plan needs to be personalised to you. Your financial situation is unique, so how you save, invest, and manage your money needs to suit your lifestyle and attitude towards risk.
Setting goals for the future can be transformative here. Find out more in the next point.
3. Keep your end goal in mind
Whether a professional or an amateur, every runner will have a target time they want to meet by the end of the race.
This could be a grandiose aim, looking to cross the finish line under the coveted four-hour mark. Or it may be as simple as completing the race without stopping at all.
Whatever it may be, runners have all kinds of goals, each personal to them. With this end goal in mind, it can help them to stay focused and keep going.
Just as a runner has set themselves a target time, you should set goals for what you want to achieve out of life. That way, you can make financial decisions in line with those aspirations.
Having ambitions for your money is of immense value. It focuses the choices you make with your wealth, building a plan around what you want to achieve.
It becomes easier to make changes to your financial strategy if you can see that you are not quite on track to reach those goals, too. For example, you might realise that you are not saving or investing enough to hit your targets, and so you need to adjust accordingly.
4. You need to keep your eyes on the road, even when things are tough
As runners progress through the course, there will be pitfalls and bumps in the road. Physical and mental fatigue, cramp, and dehydration can all affect a runner as they approach those tricky middle miles. This is often known as “hitting the wall”.
Runners need to be prepared for what they will do when they hit the wall. Their race strategy needs to include considerations for how they will respond to difficulty.
You should build similar contingencies into your financial strategy so that your money can remain on course and moving, no matter what happens.
For example, no one can ever truly predict how the stock market will behave. So, you need to include the possibility that your investments might fall as well as rise in value over time in your strategy.
The key here is to keep your eyes on the road and not let short-term disruption distract you. Just as a runner has planned for the wall, you should plan for volatility and various ups and downs.
Accept that these things are going to happen and include them in your plan. That way, you will be prepared for those harder middle miles.
5. Working with a professional can help you achieve your targets
Many of the runners at the event this year will certainly run the London Marathon without working with a personal trainer or a running coach. But realistically, they are likely to perform better on the day and achieve their target time if they do.
Trainers and coaches have been there and done it all. They know the challenges that would-be marathon runners face, and can design personalised training plans that help them beat the obstacles in the way of them achieving their running goals.
In the same way, working with a financial professional can offer similar benefits when you are managing your money.
A planner can build a financial plan for you based on your goals and ambitions for the future, putting you on the road to success.
Crucially, unlike a running coach, your financial planner will be alongside you every step of the way. They will be on hand to answer any queries you have throughout the process, and offer reassurance when things are tricky.
All in all, they can put you on track towards your goals, and ensure you remain there throughout the entire marathon of money management.
Get in touch
If you would like help getting on the road with your money, please do get in touch with us at DBL Asset Management.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01625 529 499 today to find out what we can do for you.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.