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What Golf's Most Complicated Hero Can Teach Us About Investing

John Daly once lost $1.65 million gambling in a single day.

The colorful PGA Tour veteran is often viewed as golf's tragic figure. Over the years, he estimates his gambling addiction cost him $55 million. He’s battled alcoholism, chain-smokes, and drinks more Diet Cokes than anyone should.  Now, at age 54, he’s fighting bladder cancer.

Throughout his struggles, and maybe because of them, Daly has remained a hero to most weekend warrior golfers. I’m beginning to think he could be a hero to the everyman investor as well.

Daly is known as much for his blonde mullet, loud outfits, and “devil-may-care” attitude as he is for his golfing prowess. In fact, his golf swing gets highlighted by instructors as an example of what not to do. 

Even so, Daly has reached the pinnacle top of his sport twice. He's a two-time major champion, the same as golf legends Greg Norman and Johnny Miller.

Daly couldn’t be more different than those guys. Miller is so nonthreatening to the establishment that he seamlessly transitioned into a successful second career as a TV golf analyst. Norman is such a household name that he has his own clothing line, and married tennis legend Chris Evert.  

Daly sells autographs at a Hooters in Augusta, Georgia, each year during the Masters.

What can we as investors learn from John Daly?

I wouldn't wish Daly's battles on anyone, but when I look at his career, I see success can come in many forms. In addition to golf, that also holds true in work, life, and investing.

There are many ways you can save par. You don’t need a picture-perfect swing or a country club upbringing. You just need to find what works for you and stick with it.

Applying this principle, there are many ways you can build wealth. You don’t need one, perfect investment. You don’t need to follow the latest trend or swear off lattes. You need to find an investment strategy that resonates so strongly with you that you stick with it when hard times hit. 

And if you achieve the success you desire, you don't need to act a certain way, dress a certain way, live in a certain place, or do anything that isn't true to who you are at your core. You can drink all of the Diet Cokes you please.

The weirdest investing year

If you participated in the financial markets in the last year, you saw some crazy stuff. You saw the quickest bear market in history in March 2020. You saw stocks turn on a dime and soar to new highs by August. You saw Tesla shares go on a tear. You saw Zoom shares…er…zoom. You saw Bitcoin go bonkers. And you saw Reddit users send Gamestop into the stratosphere and shake the foundation of Wall Street in the process.

But you didn’t need to participate in any of these examples in order to achieve your financial goals.

If you’re building wealth by investing your 401k in a balanced portfolio, you’re better off now than you were a year ago. If you’re building wealth by setting a reasonable savings target and hitting it each month, you’re better off now than you were a year ago. If you’re building wealth by owning a home and faithfully paying the mortgage, you’re better off than you were a year ago.

Even if you didn't do any of those things in the last year, you can start now and be better off long-term. You don’t have to be a brilliant financial mind to be a successful investor; you simply need to be diligent and committed. (Shout out to Ben Carlson for the chart below.)

Just like John Daly's success was achieved differently than Greg Norman's, your success is going to be different than those who chase the hottest investing trends on the internet. Tune out what the others are doing and focus on playing your own game. If you want any help with that, hit us up by clicking the button below.


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