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advisors
May 30, 2017

What attributes of successful sports coaches should I look for in an advisor?

In 1958, the Green Bay Packers played with five future Hall of Famers on the team. Their season record? One tie, one win and 10 losses. So, the team hired a new coach.

In 1960, with basically the same squad, the Packers made it to the NFL Championship Game. Although they lost, their coach told them, “You will never lose another championship game.” And, as long as he was in charge, they never did. The coach’s name, of course, was Vince Lombardi.

Few coaches can ever hope to match the record of “The Pope,” but successful ones share certain characteristics. Given the sports-themed issue, we’ve highlighted below several coaching attributes that also translate to success as a financial advisor, or “financial coach,” if you will.

Successful coaches use the proverbial “big picture” to coordinate strategies and resources effectively. The ability to see and understand all the forces at work, be they in the global financial marketplace or an entire sports league, allows an advisor to help clients broaden their focus from simply “generating alpha” to having a carefully considered, well-coordinated and appropriately-timed plan. It is a plan that utilizes a risk-appropriate asset allocation and glide path, includes tax-efficient planning and investing strategies, optimizes estate considerations and transfers of wealth, and appropriately prioritizes other goals, such as philanthropy, strategic gifting or the creation of a multi-generational legacy.

Effective coaches and advisors leverage the right specialists at exactly the right moment. You can’t win games or bring value to a client unless you have the right team. Every successful sports and financial team consists of specialists working harmoniously for a common goal. It is an advisor’s job to bring together exactly the right combination of talent to make certain you achieve your goals. And, just as a coach takes players in and out of the game based on need, our advisors excel at matching legal, accounting, tax and planning specialists with the unique goals, needs and preferences of each client.

You can’t win games or bring value to a client unless you have the right team.

Winning coaches and advisors plan for the long term, not just the immediate play. While players limit their focus to executing each play with precision, coaches also have the vision to see not just two or three plays out, but how the whole game may play out.

Astute advisors are therefore ready when their best-laid plans do not go as planned. And, like a good coach, advisors are prepared to help their clients negotiate the losses across any scenario, from regular market corrections to catastrophes like 2008. They present viable alternatives that, from the onset, anticipate downturns because… they plan for the long term.

Coaching a team or a client successfully requires keeping emotions out of the game. It is a coach’s job to teach players to manage their emotions—and an advisor’s job to help clients control theirs. Seeing the worth of one’s investments go down will, of course, trigger an emotional response. How could it not?

While all advisors should monitor and highlight material events that may necessitate a plan or strategy change, effective advisors more often need to help prevent their clients from acting on roiling emotions. They encourage taking a step back and sticking with the original plan and strategies that anticipated such periodic losses.

Someone once said that, if you turned off your television in 2008 and turned it back on in 2011, you would have thought nothing had happened to the stock market. A top advisor, a real financial coach, helps clients turn off the television… and keep it off.

All investments carry some level of risk, including the potential loss of principal invested. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Saugatuck Financial is a marketing name for Justin Charise, Alfred Schor, and Colin Thomas and is not a broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, federal savings bank, subsidiary or other corporate affiliate of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company including its subsidiaries, nor is it a legal partnership or entity. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM), and its subsidiaries. Charise, Schor, and Thomas are representatives of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company®, NMWMC Milwaukee, WI, a subsidiary of NM and limited purpose federal savings bank, and registered representatives of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (securities), a subsidiary of NM, registered investment adviser, broker-dealer and member FINRA and SIPC. All NMWMC products and services are offered only by properly credentialed representatives who operate from agency offices of NMWMC.

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