As a keen golfer, our CEO has made us all very aware that August is National Golf Month.

Which, apparently, was started by the PGA in 1993.

That got us talking about something a little fun – thinking about the rest of your life through the lens of your personal finances is a bit like standing at the first tee box thinking about the championship course that lies in front of you.  

In golf, a well-planned strategy and consistent practice are key to navigating your way successfully through the course and lowering your handicap.

Many of the same principles apply to achieving long-term financial success and living the life you want.

In this blog, we’ll draw parallels between your golf and your lifetime financial planning to help you understand the importance of a well-thought-out financial plan in achieving and living your ideal life.

Setting Goals

In golf, you might have short-term or long-term goals.

 Short-term goals might be “on course” goals, like breaking 90 or hitting a 260-yard drive.

Long-term goals might be things like breaking 80 consistently or averaging 240 yards off the tee.

In life, the same thing applies.

Short term goals might be things like “I want to fit out my house with a new kitchen next year” or “I want to take 3 weeks off work to go on a dream holiday next summer”.

Long-term goals might be things like “I want to have enough to retire by age 60”, “I want to buy a Porsche when I retire”, or “I want pay for my children’s education”.

Whether it’s golf or life, avoid vagueness when it comes to goal setting – you should be able to visualise it clearly and your goals need to be SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound

Once you have identified your goals and have a clear picture of your ideal future life, it becomes much easier to construct an accurate Financial Plan, to plot a course and start to navigate your way towards that version of the future.  

Choosing the Right Clubs

In golf, players select different clubs based on their objectives on the course.

You wouldn’t use a putter to drive a 300-yard hole.

Nor would you try to hack your way out of a bunker using a driver.

If you do that, you’re going to make life much harder for yourself!

Choosing the right tool for the job is just as essential when it comes to your financial planning:

You wouldn’t invest money you need in the short term, nor would you keep money sitting around in cash if you’re not going to need for 5-10 years+.

Use long term vehicles (like investment accounts) for long term goals and short-term vehicles (like cash accounts) for short term goals.

Similarly, you might invest more aggressively within your pension because you know you it’s going to be the very last pot of money you touch, or maybe you set up a trust for leaving a legacy for future generations.

With a clear Financial Plan in place as a roadmap towards your ideal future, you can then ensure you are using the right financial tools to get you there – much like selecting the right club for each shot on the golf course.

Control the Controllables – Consistency

There’s lots you can’t control when it comes to the golf course – the weather, the terrain of the specific course you’re playing, the list is endless.

But it’s important to control the controllables, remove as many variables as possible, and tilt the odds of success in your favour as much as possible.

The best golfers spend hours practicing their swing to achieve consistency.

They have a specific pre-shot routine that never changes.

Just like golf, investment markets can also throw up sunny weather, stormy weather, difficult terrain, and plenty of other things beyond your control.

But the same rules apply – control the controllables, remove as many variables as possible, and set yourself up for success.

Saving regularly and consistently is vital to achieving your long-term goals and financial freedom.

Your pay day routine should be robotically consistent, just like a pro-golfer’s pre-shot routine. Automating things can be a great way of achieving this level of consistency – for example, establishing an affordable monthly savings amount and then setting up a standing order so that it automatically goes to your investment account every month.

Regardless of the variables, consistently saving to pensions, investment accounts, or goals-based savings accounts is by far the biggest contributor to wealth building, allowing you to grow your money over time and achieve your goals.

Avoiding Hazards

On the golf course, you need to avoid hazards like bunkers, water, or roughs to keep your score low.

When it comes to your financial planning, identifying and mitigating the risks is equally essential.

Whether it’s diversifying your investment portfolio, mitigating the impact of inflation, building an emergency fund, avoiding high fees, or identifying liabilities that need to be covered by insurance, there is plenty to think about.

A golfer assesses the layout of the course ahead, and so too does your financial planning. You’ll also need to carefully analyse your current financial situation, and your relationship with risk.

Conventional wisdom might suggest higher risk investments offer higher returns, but they also come with increased volatility – that can be suitable for lots of people, while others might prefer to slow down and take an extra couple of shots to go around the water rather than over it. It might be slower, but they enjoy a smoother experience, know they won’t land in the water, and feel much more comfortable about it.

Patience and Persistence: Navigating the Back Nine

As you progress through the back 9, you must stay the course and remain patient and persistent to secure a good score.

Likewise, long-term financial planning requires steadfast dedication to staying the course.

As mentioned earlier, plenty of variables, or banana skins, will be thrown your way. Market fluctuations, economic uncertainty, or unexpected expenses will present short term challenges from time to time, but good planning will allow you to stay focused on your long-term objectives, ride out these storms, and remain on course. 

You know that you won’t win a round of golf with one great shot – it takes strategy and consistent play.

Similarly, financial success doesn’t happen overnight.

It requires discipline to stick to your plan during challenging times, and patience to remain committed to your goals. But by doing so you increase your chances of long-term success and living the life you want.

Seeking Professional Guidance

In golf, the best players have teams of professionals around them -– from coaches, to physios, to caddies – to provide valuable insights and help them to make informed decisions, to maximise their game, and achieve the best possible results.

Similarly, working with a Financial Planning firm can prove incredibly valuable when it comes to crafting a robust Financial Plan. A qualified Financial Planner can help you to analyse your current position, offer personalised recommendations, and guide you through the complexities of asset structuring, investing, and tax strategies.

Just like a caddy helps a golfer to pick the right club and advises on shot selection, a Financial Planner can provide guidance on asset allocation, tax planning, and risk management.

Ultimately, an experienced Financial Planner is there to help you make sense of complex financial concepts, simplify things for you, ensure you have a financial plan in place to achieve the life you want, and work with you over the long term to help you stay on track.

Adjusting the Game Plan: Adapting to Changing Conditions

In golf, we have to adjust our game plan based on weather conditions, terrain, and – more often than we’d like to admit – our own performance!

Just like golf, we also have to adjust our game plan when it comes to our finances too – life events, changes in personal circumstances, rule changes, and plenty of other things may necessitate changes to your financial plan.

Life is full of twists and turns, especially as an expat – marriage, parenthood, career changes, divorce, repatriation, or relocation – your financial plan needs to be flexible, and you need to have the ability to accommodate and adapt your plan based on your changing circumstances.

Your financial plan is a roadmap for the future, and just like any roadmap, it’s important to check in on where you are every now and then. Reviewing and updating your financial plan regularly ensures you remain on track to reach your goals and live the life you want.


In summary, lifetime financial planning and golf share many similarities.

Both require clear goals, good habits, discipline, consistency, risk management, patience, and an ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Just as a golfer envisions the perfect round before teeing off, visualising your financial future and creating a well-thought-out plan will set you on the path to financial success and ensure you live the life you want.

Whether you are a seasoned pro or a novice golfer, the principles of golf can serve as a blueprint to your financial journey.

Embrace the challenge, seek professional guidance when needed, and keep your eye on the fairway – you’ll soon find yourself making strategic financial decisions with the confidence of a seasoned golfer making that perfect swing on the final hole.

By Technical Team @ Abacus

Please keep in mind that, whilst we aim to update these articles periodically, the content could be subject to future rule changes. Always make sure to speak to a qualified professional to ensure you have the most up to date information and are taking regulated advice around your specific circumstances.