Roger Federer is the paragon of a champion.
Everything about Roger smacks of measured excellence. After the grueling and record 5-hour match at last Sunday’s Wimbledon Men’s Championship, Federer responded to an interviewer’s exaltation, “Roger, this will be one to remember!” by gracefully saying, “I will try to forget it.”
In addition to this understated humor, Federer has long represented everything that’s right about sports. He is humble, thoughtful, disciplined, yet incredibly competitive. The Daily Telegraph noted he “looks as though he could have been created in a Wimbledon laboratory.”
Shhh..Genius at Work
What can we learn from Federer about investing? Many of the characteristics that have made him great are timeless principles that apply to the long-term health of your portfolio. Here are three:
- Stick to the basics. Just like Federer’s classic one-handed backhand, investing is about those enduring techniques that have worked for decades. Diversification is number one. There has never been a successful substitute for the adage, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” It works.
- Stay disciplined. At nearly 38 years-old, Federer has played and excelled longer than almost any professional tennis player in history. No male player in history has won as many Grand Slam titles (20). Longevity in sport can be attributed to many things, but above all, it takes discipline. Training, eating well, practice, and 10 hours of sleep per night are all keys to Federer’s durability. Likewise, it’s easy to see the analogy to investing. It’s critical to focus on long-term results and avoid getting sucked into short-term thinking. If you simply adjust your portfolio periodically by buying on market dips and selling when prices are high, your discipline will pay dividends.
- Have realistic expectations. If you try to hit winners with every stroke, you’ll hit lots of balls into the net. Federer knows this. He waits patiently during every rally until he sees a high percentage chance to hit a winner. Likewise, smart investors know that long-term market returns are 7-8%. They know that investing is a long-term endeavor and wealth accumulation takes time.
Building a portfolio as durable as Roger Federer is not as difficult as it may seem. By sticking to the basics, staying disciplined, and having a long view, you may not be raising trophies over your head anytime soon, but your children (and your knees) will thank you.