My investing behaviour has evolved much like my running career. In my youth, I was a sprinter. Back then I didn’t have the patience to run more than two laps. Now I run half marathons and 10-kilometres races for fun.
With my money decisions, it was similar. In my youth, everything that I earned in my part-time job in a supermarket, I directly spent on clothes or parties on the weekend. Savings? Not a chance.
As I got older, I developed more stamina, both in running and investing. Today, at least 10% of my salary goes into an appropriate savings account, just as George S. Clasen recommends in “The Richest Man in Babylon.” As a result, today I’m managing to build my wealth and achieve my investment goals step by step.
And it’s the same with running. In the past, I was only ever concerned with quick wins. I didn’t think more than one season ahead. I lived from competition to competition, pushed myself in training, went out partying on the weekends, and was often injured as a result.
Today, I train more sustainably. Running is a hobby that I want to pursue intact and with joy into old age, so it’s important to think long-term.
The following 5 strategies I have developed for running, but they can also be applied to investing.
As a runner, you know how important it is to have the right equipment. It starts with running shoes, which must suit your feet, your speed and the surface you’re running on perfectly. It continues with the clothing: it must not chafe against your skin, otherwise, you will run yourself bloody on long distances, and it must be waterproof and breathable at the same time. The right equipment is, therefore, an important condition for running.
It’s the same with investing. Obviously, here it’s not about the clothes or shoes, but about the right framework in which you invest, like finding the right partner bank. This step is important, therefore it makes sense to spend enough time to figure out which investment environment feels good and fits you.
I ran my first half marathon at the age of 24 without much training. Of course, I went jogging from time to time, but I never went longer than 13 kilometres in preparation. I thought: Well, it’s only 8 kilometres more, how bad can it be?
It was bad! The first 15 kilometres of the run went well. I started fast, had good music in my ears and was motivated. At kilometre 16, I collapsed. At kilometre 19, I was crying. I made it to the finish line in 1:55h, but it was torture.
This August, I am going to run my fifth half marathon. I know that it will be painful again, but in the meantime, I grew smarter. Much like the stoics, I now train and prepare for the “worst”. I eat and hydrate properly, do long runs and tempo sessions, chat with like-minded people, and so now manage to achieve great results while (mostly) enjoying it along the way.
It’s the same with investing. If you just blindly invest in anything that is being hyped without much training aka knowledge, it can be painful. It’s better to approach investing with a cool head and a strategy and only jump into the race when you feel ready. Like this, tears can be avoided.
After running solo for a long time, today I consult coaches for my running preparations. And this is so much better! Since I have a coach, a proper training plan and a running group, I have improved my half marathon time by a full 20 minutes.
It’s the same with investing. Sure, you can certainly achieve a lot on your own. But with the help of an experienced financial advisor, you can often improve your game from good to great.
Good days, bad days
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running, it’s to go with the flow. Some days you feel great and everything feels easy. On other days you might have heavy legs or stomach aches and feel powerless.
Today I know that bad days are temporary – just like the good days, unfortunately. Eventually, the only thing that matters is the bigger picture, not so much the ups and downs. If you keep that in mind, you can get through the bad times better and more relaxed.
It’s the same with investing. Stock markets can fluctuate a lot, which can be nerve-wracking. But if you keep your long-term goals in mind and stay true to your investment strategy without making emotional short-cut decisions, you’ll end up making better investment decisions.
Running contributes to better health – if you do it right. If you overdo it, you can injure yourself or even suffer a heart attack.
It is the same with investing. Knowing your money is in good hands is reassuring and can reduce your perceived stress. However, if you make investments that are very risky, your stress level can increase. To keep the stress level in check, you have to find out your individual willingness to take risks, and then decide on an appropriate investment strategy that suits you. Like this, investing can help you to reduce your stress level.
Running and investing have a lot in common, be it preparation, mindset or appropriate coaching. The important thing is: you will only succeed if you set individual goals and then pursue them in a healthy way – together with the right partner, be it a coach, or a bank.
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