What the Olympics can tell us about managing Retirement portfolios

Adrian Mastracci, “fiduciary” portfolio manager at Lycos Asset Management touches on applying Olympian wisdom to your retirement portfolio.

Let’s reflect on the Olympians who recently competed at Tokyo. They deserve praise for braving years of preparation, training, commitments and pandemics.

Striving and competing to be best in their chosen pursuits. Regardless of outcomes.

I especially appreciate long distance events like cycling, running, swimming and rowing. They demand a wealth of endurance and perseverance, much like retirement portfolios.

Athletes often have to reach down deeper to muster more bursts of adrenalin. Just when it seems there is little, if anything, left in the tanks.

My top takeaways

Investors can draw some parallels from hard working Olympians. Wisdom from the Olympiad is relevant and applicable, particularly to long-term investing.

I summarize my top takeaways. Successful athletes require:

• Much dreaming and sketching out of personal goals.

• Setting specific, well thought out strategies.

• Disciplined game plans that realize on their dreams.

• Patience for the roller coaster of setbacks and achievements. Periodic tweaking of their action plans.

• Time horizons to learn and master their quests.

Olympians make wonderful ambassadors for the investing profession. I encourage investors to take a few moments and apply Olympian wisdom to the precious nest egg.

Athletes make choices and sacrifices along the way in their quest for Olympic goals. Investors balance choices between spending for the moment and saving for the long haul.

Risk is an inevitable part of the Olympics, as it is in long term investing. Athletes try different training plans, much like investors try a variety of strategies.

Investors can improve their long term portfolios with these four pearls of wisdom:

  •  Pay attention to issues that you can control:  risks, diversification, asset mix and investment quality.
  •  Ensure that no investment can cause serious portfolio damage: losses are typically your biggest destroyers of wealth.

Buy and sell methodically over time – timing the markets is a low percentage strategy.

Always expect the unexpected – a positive mindset is best for making portfolio decisions. Stick to simpler game plans. Skip the fancy moves.

All the very best to the athletes. May they treasure the accomplishments and cherish the memories.


Adrian Mastracci, Discretionary Portfolio Manager, B.E.E., MBA started in the advisory profession in 1972. He is portfolio manager with Vancouver-based Lycos Asset Management Inc.  




Information provided is intended for educational purposes only. Copyright ©2021, Adrian Mastracci. All rights reserved.

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