Susan Polgar and I have offices all over the world. For years, we used those special meeting rooms to plan our research about how the strategies of chess could be applied to improving our investments.
Where are our offices? You’ve seen them on the corners of most major cities: We sat in Starbucks, since I like coffee almost as much as I like chess.
The most important thing that Susan said
Along with analyzing how we could apply chess tactics to making better financial decisions, we played the occasional game of chess. I was a very, very consistent player– I lost every game. When we did our post-mortems, analyzing the mistakes that led to my doom, she always repeated these five words: “Look at the whole board.”
That became my mantra, both in writing the book and giving financial seminars.
Change the way you invest
When Susan told me to pay attention to all the pieces, she also coached me about how to do that. It’s not simple to keep track of 64 squares on a chessboard. The specific chess techniques she taught me aren’t relevant right now. What’s more important is the fact that I had a coach helping me improve, and I didn’t work on my own.
Susan coached me.
She became a second set of eyes for me, a sounding board, and a teacher. Now I understand why she’s rated the #1 coach in the country.
If you want to handle your money better, you need to have a coach, too. Though having a professional financial advisor might be the best choice, there are other ways you can have a coach.
Can your spouse, child, or friend be your financial coach?
Why not? Believe it or not, a coach doesn’t have to be an expert in the field he’s coaching. After all, in all sports, the players are normally better performers than the coach. If you use a family member as a financial coach, you can still occasionally seek the advice of a financial planner. Look for the following qualities in a financial coach:
- A coach creates a safe environment where you can discuss ideas, think through issues, and feel comfortable talking. If your spouse criticizes you every time you want to make an investment, or if your child humiliates you when you talk about budgeting issues, then look elsewhere for a coach.
- A coach asks pointed questions, challenges assumptions, and talks about developing processes for making smart decisions.
- A coach helps you clearly define your goals.
- A coach helps you develop good financial habits.
- In short, a coach helps you look at the whole board!
Should you choose a financial advisor to be your coach?
The benefits of having a professional advisor as your coach is that he speaks to many people and can bring all that experience to every conversation that he has with you. However, you have to make sure you choose a good advisor. I wrote an article about choosing an advisor, which you can see in full here. Here’s one of the most important points:
If he’s basically a salesman, walk away. Many advisors may want to wow you with their credentials, background, or possibly even their investment track record. They’ll tell you all about themselves and focus on their clients’ investments. They’ll tell you why their funds are better than others, and they’ll talk about how they were able to predict the market’s movements. They’ll also give their opinion on the global economic situation, politics, trends in technology, and the current world crisis. You don’t need that. If you want someone to guide you, make sure that he’s more of a teacher than a salesman.
Bottom line: Make sure that your coach trains you to “look at the whole board.”
If you want to learn more ways that you can use Susan’s “look at the whole board” philosophy, click here to attend the online webinar. I have already presented these ideas in seminars to 100 people, and I believe it changed the way they invest. And it’s all based on Susan’s five words.
“Look at the whole board!”
Douglas Goldstein, co-author of Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You A Grandmaster of Investing, avid chess fan, international investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)