4 crucial reasons why you need to see financial planning as a marathon, not a sprint

Category: Australia & News

Major marathons are held in both the UK and Australia in the month of April, and both are big highlights of their respective sporting calendars. 

The Canberra Marathon Festival was held this year on 16 April. As is tradition, it featured road races over five different distances and courses, all finishing near Old Parliament House. 

The Canberra Marathon was originally established in 1976. Initially it was held in November, until it moved to its regular slot of April in 1979. 

A week later, on the other side of the world, after a three-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic when it was run in October, the London Marathon returned to its traditional April setting.

It’s hard to miss the publicity and coverage of both. So, with marathons now possibly at the forefront of your mind, discover some key reasons why you should look at the planning of your financial future as a marathon, not a sprint.

1. Marathons and financial journeys both require detailed planning

Even the fittest sportspeople will go through a detailed preparation process before they run a marathon. 

A run over the historical distance of 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km) is not something to be undertaken lightly, even for experienced athletes.

All the best long-distance runners have detailed training regimes devised by experienced coaches that they put their trust in.

The preparation takes time and commitment, with strict six-month training plans commonplace.

Likewise, planning your financial future should not be a simple matter of trusting to luck. You should be looking to work with an expert adviser to devise a plan that’s right for you, and then regularly review it to ensure it remains appropriate to help you achieve your goals. 

It takes long-term planning, and regular reviews to ensure you stay on track to meet your financial goals, particularly when it comes to being able to enjoy the retirement you’ve worked hard for. 

As you’d no doubt find during the running of a marathon, you’re likely to face challenges and times when you think you might be struggling. In moments like that, having the knowledge that you’ve done the hard work of putting a robust plan in place will be invaluable. 

2. Money is like energy: you can’t afford to run out of it

While a respectable finishing-time is clearly important, for thousands of amateur marathon runners the first priority is to have a strategy in place to ensure you finish the course. For many, it’ll be a case of maintaining a steady and comfortable pace throughout the whole race.

In a similar vein, when it comes to your financial future, having long-term plans in place to ensure you always have enough money to support your lifestyle and that you don’t run out in your later years is critical. 

Marathon runners will take every chance to hydrate and boost their energy during a race. Similarly, you should be making the most of each opportunity you have to build and maintain a decent-sized retirement fund, along with other investment assets. 

While your retirement is clearly an important milestone, you shouldn’t see it as the end of your journey. You need to have a clear investment and income strategy in place to make sure you have the means to do what you want, and don’t end up in the unfortunate position of outliving your retirement fund. 

3. Your investment strategy is key to a successful life journey

If you’ve ever run a marathon, you’ll know that both the training process and the event itself are long-term endeavours. 

You should look at investing your savings and retirement fund in the same way. 

In an industry that seems to live on pithy slogans and mottos, one of the most common – and one that should hold most resonance for you – is that “it’s time in the market, not timing the market”.

This means that you aren’t relying on being able to guess when stock values are at a high or low point. Instead, you’ll benefit from long-term growth, as you give your money time to cope with the fluctuations that are a natural part of investment markets.

As in marathon running, a slow and steady pace when you’re investing money can ensure future success. Making regular contributions can often be more beneficial than irregular lump sums. For one thing, monthly amounts are more affordable, and you’ll buy investment assets at different prices.

On a long run, there will be times when you’ll feel great, but also times when you think you’re struggling. The same applies with investing money, so it’s essential to appreciate that – in both – it really is all about the long haul. 

4. You need to be prepared for your circumstances to change

The length of a marathon race means that runners often have time to make up for any mistakes they make or unforeseen accidents that could occur along the route. 

For example, there have been instances of marathon runners falling over and getting back up, while still being able to catch up with the rest of the field.

They also have to cope with “hitting the wall”: a sensation that they have run out of energy and feel they are unable to finish the race. 

In the same way, you may well meet obstacles and unexpected problems on your financial journey. These could include a period of illness, or the company you work for going through financial difficulties. 

In each case, your planning process will be critical to ensuring such events don’t blow you off course. Consequently, it’s important to regularly review your financial situation, check you’re still on track, and make any required changes.

Get in touch

If you have any queries regarding your long-term financial planning, please get in touch with us. 

Please note

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

This article is for information only. Please do not solely rely on anything you have read in this article and ensure that you conduct your own research to ensure any actions you may take are suitable for your circumstances. All contents are based on our understanding of ATO and HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.