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August 2021

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Preparation and Risk – Lessons from the 2021 Olympics

Aaron Evans Aaron Evans | Articles

Read time: 3:00 min


“If you fail to prepare, you’ve prepared to fail”

Contributed by , Michael McGraw

With the wrap of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, it’s hard not to think about the spirit of the Olympic Athlete. Minimally, athletes have been preparing and training for their chance at ‘The Gold’ for 5 years and in many cases for decades. The Olympic games are an incredible spectacle of the world’s most gifted athletes, competing against each other and performing at their peak abilities. So, what can we learn from them as it relates to planning for a secure financial future?

“If you fail to prepare, you’ve prepared to fail.”

mark spitz, Former American competitve Swimmer and 9-time olympic champion



Define Your Goals

If you don’t know what financial security means to you, it will be impossible to prepare and make the right plan to achieve it. Your goals should be realistic and specific. Common Financial Goals include: Retirement, Education, Home-Buying, Debt Elimination, etc. Remember there are many free financial tools available online such as this How Much House Can I Afford tool or this Retirement Calculator.


Assess Your Risk Profile

What does your current situation, in the context of your goals, tell you about what level of risk you should or should not be taking and what level of risk are you comfortable with? Managing your risk profile involves understanding, analyzing and preparing for potential risks to minimize losses and maximize profits as you work towards achieving your goals.


Find a Coach

Even the best athletes in the world know they cannot go it alone. For your best chance at achieving your financial goals, recruit the help of trusted professionals. This might mean hiring a Financial Management Firm (we recommend a Fiduciary – HERE is a great article that explains why), a Certified Public Accountant or an Estate Planning Lawyer, depending on your personal circumstances to ensure you have the team in place to help get you where you want to go.


Track Progress & Re-Assess

You know that old saying, “the only thing that is constant is change,” well it’s true. The same strategy that helped you grow your portfolio last year may not be the best option to keep it going. It is so important to continuously track your progress, evaluate changes and re-assess accordingly.

I think nowhere in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were these lessons embodied more than with Simone Biles, American Gymnast who holds more than 30 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles trained for 5 hard years with a staff of Olympic Coaches and a world-class team. In Tokyo, Biles stunned the world by withdrawing from some Olympic events stating that she was “suffering from the twisties,” a mental condition in which gymnasts lose the sense of where their bodies are in midair. Clearly, after assessing the risk to her physical health, Biles had to shift gears to minimize the potentially catastrophic were she to continue with the competition. Now that she is home, many are asking what’s next for the young athlete. Her goals have changed, so must her strategy for whatever the next phase of her life may be.

Chief Investment Officer at Strategic Financial Services, Doug Walters, states, “We are not in the business of predicting, we are in the business of preparing.” Set clear and realistic goals. Identify the level of risk you are able and comfortable taking. Get the right team of professionals to support you. And constantly track and re-evaluate as situations change. These foundations will serve you well as you work towards your “Olympic Gold.”

Content is provided for educational purposes only and should not be used as the basis upon which to make an investment or a financial decision. Strategic Financial Services provides advice and makes recommendations based on the specific needs and circumstances of each client. This material is not intended to provide professional tax or legal advice, which should be obtained from certified tax professionals and licensed attorneys.

About Strategic

Founded in 1979, Strategic is a leading investment and wealth management firm managing and advising on client assets of over $1.8 billion.