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Your Health & Your Wealth: The 1 Thing That Will Improve Your Golf Game

This is a guest post by John Praino, Co-Owner of Training for Warriors Mahopac

Spring is finally upon us!

Spring is a time for new beginnings, new flowers start to grow, trees begin to fill with leaves and people start to take part in outdoor activities. One of those popular activities is golf!

How did your golf season go last year?  Did you get better or was it an inconsistent mess?

Are you going to have a new fresh start to your golf season?

Are you Golf Ready?

I figured out how you can get Golf Ready and have a more consistent and successful golf season!

Golfers often seek to improve their game by buying new equipment, playing more golf, or taking lessons. Although these are some possible solutions, there are many times our golf game is not a reflection of our skill as a golfer or the equipment we use. It is actually a reflection of our body’s physical limitations.

How can someone expect to drive the ball further or have a consistent swing when his or her body lacks the proper foundation to swing the club and play the game?

My Approach to Being a Better Golfer:

When Tiger Woods debuted in 1996, a component to the game rarely talked about emerged: physical conditioning for your golf game.

Since then, the idea of working out to become a better golfer was something that became common.

My question is, how do we work-out and what parts of the body do we train to play better golf? What exercises and muscle groups help the golf swing? Can certain exercises and muscle groups hinder the golf swing? Is there a different routine for different types of golfers?

My answer.

No

In my opinion the average golfer doesn’t need to be focusing on accute muscles and movements via sport-specific, complicated exercises.

You want to be a better golfer?

Get stronger. The end

Recreational golfers don’t need to complicate things.  You simply need a workout routine that incorporates the right kind of strength training and flexibility exercises that will give you that extra edge to stay in golf shape year-round.

If I’m being specific, rotational power is the key to improved golf performance. To hit a golf ball with power and accuracy, you need to strengthen the muscles used to putt, drive, and swing. The keys would be to strengthen your legs, abdominals, hips, back, arms.

Here’s a good idea…

Strengthen your ENTIRE body. Just get in better shape!

For golfers, I emphasize a full-body approach developing strength of both bones and muscles, which can of course come from a comprehensive weight lifting program.

The bottom line is this: By developing stronger muscles and bones throughout your entire body, you will increase fitness and play better. A simple, safe and short routine will accomplish this task.

Strength Training:

When you start a strength training program you are adding resistance to your body (muscles, tendons, joints and bones) in the process making them stronger.

Strength training has many benefits.  For instance, if you suffer from low back pain like so many golfers do, strengthening the hips, core and low back will help reduce the pain that you get as you go through the course. You can accomplish this with simple exercises like squats, deadlifts, pushups, planks, weighted carries, sit-ups crunches and various other core exercises.

Here are some other key reasons why focusing on strength will improve your golf game:

  • Better Balance
  • More Strength
  • Boosts confidence
  • Decrease body fat levels
  • Reduce incidence of Injury
  • Positive effect on bone density
  • Better sleep: exercise enables a better sleep pattern to develop
  • Decreased stress: you are doing something for YOURSELF
  • Range of motion and flexibility increases

Strength Training Misconceptions:

Unfortunately, golfers have traditionally avoided weight training for muscle strengthening and injury prevention.

Many feared that it would reduce their joint flexibility and decrease their club speed.

These assumptions are completely untrue.

Let me just debunk a MYTH that I hear all the time from most athletes that play Baseball (FYI I played baseball in HS, College and Semi-Pro).

When they inquire about strength training here’s the question:

“I need to stay loose to be able to swing and throw, I don’t want to be muscle bound, doesn’t working out with weights make you tight”?

THE ANSWER IS NO!! It takes a whole lot of dedication nutritionally and in the weight room to put on muscle and get totally jacked up. If you follow a comprehensive strength program that includes flexibility and mobility the end result will be a leaner, stronger, more flexible, better golfer.  Would you sign up for that?

How You Should Get Started:

If you’ve never lifted weights or it’s been a long time since you’ve lifted weights don’t let that stop you, if you find a qualified coach (like the one’s here at Training for Warriors Mahopac) they should explain each exercise, progress you through the workout and build your confidence.

  • The basics of setting up a program:

    • Start slowly. This will decrease your chance of injury and soreness.
    • Start with single sets and work your way up to multiple sets.
    • Use the correct weight amount.  Using too much weight will increase your chance of injury because your form will suffer. However if you’re not using enough weight your muscles will not be challenged and you won’t experience the desired benefits of weight training.
    • Give your muscles time to rest and recovery.  You should wait at least 24 – 48 hours before you train the same muscle group once again.

 

  • Weight training doesn’t have to be boring

    Switching up your routine monthly is the perfect way to receive strength gains and to decrease boredom. Keep your routine interesting by using the machines, free weights, bars, bands, kettle bells, med balls and even your own body weight.

 

My best advice if you want to have a better season is not to complicate things. Get started on a solid program now and have fun out driving all of your buddies!

How to Take Advantage of A Down Market

This article was originally published on NerdWallet.com

You’ve heard the old saying about investing success: Buy low and sell high. It sounds easy, doesn’t it? The problem is, no one knows exactly where the peaks and valleys are until after the market has reached them. That’s why it’s important to have an investment plan and stick to it.

How can the average investor find success in buying low and selling high? Here’s the secret: continually contribute to a diversified portfolio and rebalance it when your portfolio’s allocation falls outside its target range.

The Secret: Dollar Cost Averaging

Dollar-cost averaging is the key to a long-term investment strategy. It means contributing a set amount of money to your portfolio on a regular basis.

If you contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, you’re already doing this; every time you get paid, a certain percentage of your paycheck is deposited and immediately invested into your portfolio. There’s no consideration of market conditions. It doesn’t matter if the market is up or down; your money will get invested.

Here’s where the magic happens with dollar-cost averaging: When the market is down, it’s like getting your investments at a discount. You get to buy more shares of the same investment for less money.

Compare that to the alternative — a lump-sum portfolio, in which a larger sum is invested at one time, without regular additional contributions. With lump-sum investing, the available cash has already been invested, and taking advantage of sale prices becomes more difficult.

How Do I Benefit When the Market Recovers?

When you’re contributing regularly to your investment portfolio and purchasing shares at a discount during a bear market, you increase your upside potential when the market recovers.

When you take a lump sum of money and invest it, you initially have many more shares in a given investment than you would have if you spread those contributions out over a longer time. When the market declines, your lump-sum portfolio declines with it, but you’re not buying any additional shares at a discount like you are with your dollar-cost-averaged portfolio. You could end up with the same number of shares in both portfolios, but the average price per share in the dollar-cost-averaged portfolio will be lower.

This is why your 401(k) and 403(b) portfolios will seem to perform better than your lump-sum investment portfolio. In fact, they often do perform better because, over the long term, you end up purchasing your investment shares at a lower overall cost per share. So when the market recovers, you can be proud of yourself for buying at the bottom.

Stay Invested for the Long-Term

Dollar-cost averaging gives you an advantage over lump-sum investing, but in either case it’s important to stay the course and stay invested. Heading to the sidelines during market volatility greatly reduces your chances of long-term investment success.

The key phrase here is “long term.” If you are investing for the short term, market volatility is not your friend, and frankly, you probably shouldn’t be investing at all. Having a short-sighted view of the market causes many to abandon ship at the worst possible time and potentially end up buying high and selling low — the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

If you do have a lump-sum investment portfolio, don’t fear. You can still take advantage of market downturns by rebalancing your portfolio. What this means is that you move money out of the best-performing asset classes — whether they be stocks, bonds or Treasuries — and into the underperforming asset classes. This allows you to maintain your target asset allocation and helps you avoid being “overweighted” in an asset class that has performed well but may decline in the future. This is the essence of buying low and selling high.

Be the Tortoise

Although market downturns are no fun, they’re inevitable. The reason you have the potential to receive higher rates of return on your investments is because you take on the risk of losing money.

The best advice is to be the tortoise, not the hare. When you’re in the accumulation stage and building your nest egg, practice a slow and steady approach to investing. Stay the course, no matter what the markets are doing.

On the other hand, during the decumulation stage of your portfolio, you may need to minimize your exposure to equities to protect yourself from not having the money when you need it. Most importantly, during this stage, make sure your retirement income plan accounts for the inevitability of market downturns — and follow through on that plan.

I hope this gives you the confidence you need to stick to your investment plan no matter what is happening in the markets. If you don’t have a plan, start building one and set the goal of seeing it through.

For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!

Top Money Posts: Week of March 7, 2016

My Recent Posts on Nerdwallet’s ‘Ask an Advisor’

From Around the Web

  • Market downturns can have an adverse affect on a retirement income plan. Here are my tips for dealing with this inevitability.
  • Here’s a quick look  at your other options for college savings besides a 529 plan.
  • Retiring at 40 is a tough goal to achieve. Learn 5 lessons from people who actually pulled it off.
  • Many people have concerns about paying for traditional long-term care insurance policies since they may never use them. To combat these concerns, insurance companies have developed hybrid LTC policies that combine life insurance with long-term care. Are they right for you?

Great Resources

  • Need a simple and easy to use tool to help you keep track of your budget. Take a look at youneedabudget.com (YNAB). Great for people who love tech that can help improve their life!
  • Got taxes on your brain? The IRS has a pretty good YouTube channel. It’s particularly worth checking out their videos on ID theft.
  • Use our retirement Check-Up tool to see if you are on track with your retirement savings goals.

If you like this post, you might also like my FREE report: “8 Steps to Organize & Optimize Your Financial Life”. Check it out here!

Is There a Magic Number For Your Retirement Savings?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t believe in the ‘magic number.’ Unfortunately, your wants and needs along with the unpredictability of life cause your ‘number’ to change over time. If you are not regularly assessing your financial situation, having a single number stuck in your head could be counter productive to your success.

So What Do I Do Now?

Instead of focusing on your ‘magic number’, I recommend building a solid retirement plan, setting a goal to save 10% -20% of what you make, invest your money, and regularly review and update that plan. In order to more accurately determine how much to set aside for retirement, you need to have a clear idea of how much you are spending annually to support your current lifestyle. Next, you will need to think through how those expenses may change in retirement. Will you move to a less expensive location? What about commuting expenses? How often will you need to purchase vehicles?  Once you’ve thought through those possibilities, or any others, you will want to think about the lifestyle you hope to have in retirement. Do you want to travel or are you a homebody? Do you want to join a club or take up a new hobby? Think about how much each of these activities may cost and work that into your plan.

What Else Should I Look At?

The next piece of the puzzle is to take a look at any guaranteed income you may have from Social Security, pensions, or annuities. The more guarantees you have the less you’ll need in savings to replace your income during retirement. Also, it’s a good idea to think about whether you will continue to do some type of work to assist in meeting your income needs. My final recommendation is to factor in your health. Are you relatively healthy or do you need to plan for additional medical costs during retirement?

Run the Numbers

Truthfully, the closer you get to retirement the more accurate your projections will be. However, when you are younger you can still work with approximations and run monte-carlo simulations on your numbers. Just be sure to revisit those numbers on a regular basis to account for changes in your income, spending habits, and lifestyle. As a rule of thumb, you will typically need to replace 70%-90% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your pre-retirement lifestyle. But, keep in mind, this is merely a rule of thumb. Your personal needs can vary depending on the factors I just discussed.

How much you’ll need for retirement is directly dependent on the lifestyle you envision. If you are willing to make some sacrifices or have enough guaranteed income you may not need to save as much. On the other hand, for most people, if you want to maintain your current lifestyle you’ll need to save and invest regularly and monitor and adjust your retirement plan on an on-going basis in order to create the retirement lifestyle of your dreams.

Want a quick assessment of where you stand for your retirement? You can use my Retirement Check-Up tool to see how you are doing right now and if you might need to make any adjustments to your plan.

For more financial planning tips download my free report: 8 Steps to Organize & Optimize Your Financial Life. It’s packed with helpful advice, useful tips and valuable resources.

To learn what I can do for you visit www.weiss-financial.com.