Are you focusing more on your golf than your finances?

Is the chance to spend time on golf or a hobby leaving your finances in a hole? Carlo Lourenco discusses upping your game on the green and better money matters.
Published 20 August
4 mins

Even for those that think golf is a good walk spoiled, the question as to whether I should spend my free time on a golf course versus spending time on my finances remains a divisive one.


On the whole, the UK, as an example nation, finds the topic very dull. According to the Financial Times (FT), Brits would rather vacuum or change the bed linen than review their pension1. The lack of focus is often compounded by the number of demands on our time. As such, estate or retirement planning tends to be at the end of a long list of other to-dos. Some demographics have it particularly tough: women with young children (again according to the FT) have less than 17 minutes of ‘me time’ a day. And yet, we always seem to manage to make at least some time for the things we really enjoy.

However, before you stop yourself indulging in a round or two, I believe that there are some interesting lessons in golf that can be applied to managing your finances.


The average game of golf takes four hours and I can easily double that time travelling to and from the course, as well as the connected socialising. So what are the lessons to learn over those eight hours?


The first of these is that bad shots happen. Every one of us will hit a number of bad shots during a round and, while this is something we can limit with practice, the main approach should be to focus on the next shot and not let yourself be distracted. The volatile nature of equity markets over the past couple of years will have flagged to every investor that markets go down, as well as up, and you may get back less than the total you originally invested. What is key, however, is that you don’t focus on what’s just happened and divert your attention from your long-term objectives.

Another tip I have picked up is that professional players go through a routine before making a shot. This routine is designed to help them think through the shot and achieve a better performance. Investors too can develop a routine ahead of any financial plays. As such, any decisions you act on will have been properly thought through, and are made with your overall financial strategy and risk tolerances front of mind. And they might lead you to work out that a stock tip shared on a green could be too good to be true.

As you become better at golf, you realise that every shot you make is down to getting the fundamentals of grip, stance and alignment right. Small issues such as too tight a grip or knees that are too straight can throw off your swing. Fundamentals play a big part in finances too. Some of these fundamentals are ones that only professional investors may use to their advantage – such as rolling three-year stock price averages – but others are easier to check off. Are you taking enough risk, for example, to achieve your financial goals over the long term? Lots of investors worry a lot about market risk and perhaps not enough about longevity risk. Once you identify any potential problems with the fundamentals, you can make any necessary adjustments and get back on course.

Finding your own ‘zone’ can also help. When a professional golfer is playing well, they have often blocked out the noise of the crowd by being in their zone. Despite the ‘quiet please’ notices, there is always going to be some noise to cause distraction. Investors also need to be able to shut out the noise of the financial news headlines, most of which are there to sell newspapers and drive advertising rather than inform decisions. It is important to focus on the substance of the fundamentals and not the noise.


Last, but not least, even after all of their success, top professional golfers still regularly work with their coaches and listen to their guidance. And while many investors think they are at the top of their game, it is still worth continual conversations to ensure that the effects of their personal biases are minimised, identify long-term aims and develop a bespoke wealth plan to help them reach their financial goals and objectives, without taking too many cut shots.

These lessons may not make the grade as far as my wife is concerned, but if I can convince her the time spent on golf is helping our financial affairs too, then I will hopefully be able to play a few more rounds – before getting all the DIY jobs done.

Clients of Nedbank Private Wealth can get in touch with their private banker directly to understand how wealth planning can help them achieve their financial goals and objectives, or call +44 (0)1624 645000 to speak to our client services team.

Source: (1) FT, 1 June 2018

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with wealth planning support, please contact us on the same number as above, or complete the contact us form using the link below.


Any examples of investments and structures used are for illustrative purposes only. The inclusion does not constitute an invitation or inducement to buy any financial investment or service. None of the content constitutes advice or a personal recommendation. Individuals should seek professional advice, based on their jurisdiction and personal circumstances, before making any financial decision.

about the author

Carlo Lourenco

Carlo Lourenco

Carlo joined the London office in 2010, and has over 20 years’ experience managing the complex affairs of high-net-worth clients. He takes pride in developing close relationships with his clients and intermediaries by listening and always placing their interests and needs at the forefront of his thinking.


Prior to joining Nedbank Private Wealth, Carlo worked for 10 years at Coutts & Co.  He is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

Access more of our insights

Money management

This is not just lending. This is bespoke lending.

16 Mar

   |   3 mins

For high-net-worth clients with more complex borrowing needs, Chiraag Patel explains how private banks can offer a more tailored lending solution.


Never mind the gaps: plan for financial independence

9 Mar

   |   3 mins

With a theme of #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day 2023, Anna Slater discusses what it means and the significant role it can play in understanding and meeting women’s financial needs.

Money management

Seize the moment with Lombard loans

31 Jan

   |   6 mins

Sometimes an investment opportunity arises that’s simply too good to miss. By borrowing against your liquid financial assets, Lombard loans offer the flexibility to diversify your portfolio when needed, without having to sell any of your existing assets or investments or disrupt your long-term plans.

Money management

Our top 10 insights from 2022

24 Jan

   |   2½ mins

No new year can ‘officially’ start until our obligatory list of top articles and insights! For many of us, 2022 continued to be a challenging year. Amidst the ongoing coverage of conflict, climate concerns and more, there were, however, some brighter notes during the year.

Get in touch

If you are interested in becoming a client, please complete the form via the ‘become a client’ button below. Alternatively, if you are already a client, or if you have a question about how we help clients in particular circumstances, please use the ‘contact us’ button.


We will get back to you as soon as we can during office hours, which are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm (UK time), except for UK public holidays.

Become a Client

Thank you for your interest in Nedbank Private Wealth. Please call us on +44 (0)1624 645000 or complete the requested information and one of our team will get back to you soon. We look forward to speaking with you.  Please note: If you are an EU resident, we are unfortunately unable to offer our services to you at present.

* Required fields

Contact Us

Please call us today on +44 (0)1624 645000. Our office hours are weekdays from 8am to 8pm (UK time), except for UK public holidays.


Or please complete and submit the below form and one of the team will get back to you as requested.

* Required fields

Search suggestions