The summer of sport is upon us, and the excitement is palpable. Wimbledon is in full swing, and football fans celebrate or commiserate the word over as the Euros kick off in Germany. Meanwhile Olympians across the globe make their final preparations for the Paris 2024 games – launching on the banks of the River Seine – 100 years since the French capital last hosted the games.

As the stage is set and the competitors meticulously prepare, we take a moment to acknowledge what we can learn from these athletes. From commitment and determination to perseverance and endurance, these worldclass athletes exemplify qualities that extend beyond the sports arena. Here we explore key financial lessons we can learn from these athletes and how we can apply them to our own wealth journeys.

It’s a goal!

Whether it’s creating a new personal best, winning a gold medal or breaking a world record, setting clear and achievable goals is absolutely crucial to success on the world stage. This is true in all walks of life and defining your financial goals is no exception. Your goals could be anything from ensuring you’re on track for a buoyant retirement to buying a property, or funding education for your children or grandchildren. No matter what the goal is, the key is to set specific targets that can help guide your financial decisions.

Competitive athletes have a team of coaches and support staff that are dedicated to helping them achieve their goals – when it comes to achieving your financial goals, there’s support available too. A financial adviser can make the complex decisions easier by explaining all your options, putting a plan in place for what is realistic and will give you the confidence that you’re making the right choices to achieve your financial goals.

And remember as life evolves, your goals should too. Whether it’s adjusting retirement plans or reevaluating property choices based on ever-changing tax implications – being open to change will help keep you on the right track.

Get a head start

Many professional ball players and athletes begin honing their skills at a very young age – giving them as much time as possible to develop their professional career. When it comes to saving and investing it’s also important to start as soon as you can. Starting early means you can contribute more to your pensions and other investment accounts over the long term, giving your wealth longer to benefit from compounding and grow in value – which could ultimately provide a better quality of life in retirement.

And if you find yourself in the fortunate position where your retirement plans are suitably on track, you could consider paying any additional income into a child’s or grandchild’s ISA. This will ensure they’re getting off to a good start on their wealth management journey too. If you’re able to instil a strong saving habit into your loved ones from a young age they’ll be much more likely to maintain this throughout their life.

The ball’s in your court – practise discipline and consistency

Staying at the top of your game, consistently working towards your goals and aiming for continuous improvement requires a great deal of discipline. The same is true for staying in peak financial condition – particularly when it comes to spending habits. When you have a budget, stick to it without exceptions. As any athlete will tell you – it’s a slippery slope once you start making exceptions.

Make a plan to regularly contribute to your savings or investments and stick to it. Even if it’s a small amount – consistency compounds over time and can make a big difference over the long term. Staying disciplined with your asset allocation and investments is critical too – remember you’re investing for the long term so don’t get sidetracked by the latest short-cut or shiny new investment opportunity – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Financial success is a marathon, not a sprint

Just like the rest of us, athletes face setbacks – but they don’t give up, they bounce back. The same can often be said for financial markets.

It’s always unsettling to watch the value of your savings slide during times of market volatility but market falls are part and parcel of investing. So don’t panic during downturns. When faced with challenging market conditions, it’s essential to resist the urge to sell investments hastily. Instead, remain calm and resilient and keep in mind that recovery often follows adversity.

And don’t be discouraged if you do go over budget once in a while or if your investments aren’t performing as well as hoped. Pick yourself up, keep going and remember – financial success is a marathon, not a sprint.

Remember though that investment growth isn’t guaranteed – investments can fail to recover their value too. And it’s possible that you could get back less than you paid in.

Build a team that rows in the same direction

Many world renowned athletes owe a great deal of their success to the dedicated team of coaches, agents, medical and support staff they have on their team. Similarly, when it comes to managing your wealth, having the right experts and counsel in place can lead to better financial outcomes. While there’s generally a charge for advice services, this could pay for itself in the long run by way of improved returns on your investments, avoiding hefty and unnecessary tax bills and, importantly, giving you peace of mind that your affairs are in order.

Find out how our financial planning services can help you reach your financial goals.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice. Information is based on our understanding in July 2024.