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masters tournament

Masters Tournament® Lessons For Financial Planning

I had the privilege of attending the Masters Tournament® in Augusta, GA this past week, definitely not as a participant, but as a “patron”. It’s not the first time I’ve been there, but as a golfer and enthusiast, every time is special and unique. They’ve changed a few things since I last attended seven years ago.

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

As I think about the Masters traditions, their membership, and changes they have made to the course and nearby facilities, I relate them to the things many of us cherish and value in life, traditions that provide us with grounding, comfort and peace. Holidays are the best example that comes to mind, families that have established traditions from their childhood that remind them of parents, grandparents and friends. In many ways it’s how we honor those who came before us, even if we “tweak” some of those traditions to fit our blended families and changing societal norms.

The Augusta National Golf Club membership is steeped in tradition, and each successive chairman is committed to maintaining those traditions. Some have been in place since the 1930’s when the club was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, and some reflect the personal biases of the current Chairman, Billy Paine, reflecting what he believes to be acceptable conduct. For example, he is known to have a disdain for members who don’t wear socks with loafers or dress shoes, so rumor has it that Augusta staff will distribute proper “hosiery” to those who haven’t worn socks to the club.

Forever Changing & Improving

The membership also isn’t blind to how the golf and society have changed beyond the gates of the club. Whether an increase in the length of many holes due to technology or golfer’s improved conditioning, or public pressure to admit those of color or female members, there have been obvious changes. The Augusta National membership and many golf clubs will always be a lightning rod for controversy, but they provide an interesting profile of how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

What I like most about the Masters, beyond the competition, is that for the patrons who are fortunate enough to win the annual ticket lottery, buying the tickets won’t set you back much by today’s standards. Retail for practice round tickets is $65.00 each, however the secondary market for tickets is dramatically different. Pimento and cheese or egg salad sandwiches are $1.50 or “splurge” and get a grilled chicken and beer for $3.00 each. Try buying similar items at a Super Bowl! Granted, the club makes enough money through the CBS television contract, merchandise sales, etc. that they don’t need to and more importantly, they choose not to charge exorbitant prices. Patrons are greeted everywhere they go with southern hospitality and respect and are shown in every way that they are appreciated. Patrons, in turn, demonstrate their respect. You won’t find any food wrappers on the grounds, no discarded beverage cups (patrons collect those in large numbers and take them home) and no rowdy fans.

Financial Planning & Wealth Management

If there is one takeaway we can gain from the Masters in relation to financial planning, it’s that we also need to continually assess our wealth management strategy over time as external circumstances change.  We often see clients who treat their financial planning in their later years the same way they did in their 20s. As the Masters has updated standards and tweaked traditions over time, we too must be continually evolving, as both individuals and as an organization. Like the Masters, our underlying goal and exceptional attention to service are unwavering, but our strategies and recommendations must adapt to market needs and time.

In more ways than one, Windward is like the Masters. As their tagline proclaims, “A tradition unlike any other.”  We too, are a tradition and an organization unlike any other, and we intend – for your financial  well-being and customer satisfaction – to stay that way.

Eric Hjortness, CPA and I at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA

Eric Hjortness, CPA and I at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA

We’d also like to thank everyone who came out and enjoyed this event with us. We had the opportunity to invite our clients to attend the Masters Tournament as our guests and many were attending for the first time. Each and every one expressed their sincere gratitude for the opportunity and the friendships that were either formed or solidified.