Friday, May 17, 2013

Golf, Tigers, Bears... and the Science of Winning!

In my previous blog posting I made reference to Tiger WoodsI like talking about winners.  Tiger has recently demonstrated an ability to return to his prior wining form, despite a series of (self-inflicted) personal issues that may have destroyed the careers of lesser men.

Tiger is able to practice his trade non-stop, and focus & concentrate on the task at hand with incredible consistency.  These skills are complemented by 'bullet-proof' emotional control, great athleticism, and a physique obviously suitable for his chosen career, etc.

Let's explore the paragraph above in little more detail.  And furthermore, let's imagine that you are a day trader, because it's similar to being a professional golfer.

All right, I probably just made you spit or cough up your coffee all over your laptop... aghast and laughing at the stupidity of the comparatively ridiculous notion, just uttered in the previous paragraph!

But... consider these questions in relation to the hypothesis above:

1. Are you able to practice, practice, practice… while you work your trade, every day?
2. Can you work to be consistent at what you do well, or when doing the right thing?
3. Are you able to control and manage your emotions?
4. Do you have the required DNA for the task at hand? As in – day traders – are you able to read, write, correctly interpret market data, i.e. do and understand your job?
5. Can you successfully manage your physique/athleticism?

Think carefully about the logic shared above.  You may decide that e.g. 3 needs a little work, 4 may be a little beyond your control, etc.  You may even forget the useful cliché related to 5, aka, 'healthy body; healthy mind.'

The 5 attributes above actually represent a good foundational summary for continued success, which will lead to a healthy lifestyle, the ability to organize comfortable surroundings for you and your family, and even prosperity commensurate with your efforts and ongoing, successful execution of your work!

You see, the difference between Tiger and ‘the rest of the top 10' PGA golfers in 2013, practicing the same craft, is actually quite minimal.  Current PGA stats for this elite group shows that the difference in Scoring Average for Tiger (at #1) and Jimmy Walker (at #10) is 68.52 vs. 70.04, averaged over all rounds of competition played during 2013, to date.  That's a difference of only 1.5 strokes, per 72 holes, respectively!

[In fact, the PGA Scoring Average difference between Snedeker (#3), Rose (#4) and Streelman (#5) is less than 0.1%, respectively 69.82, 69.83 and 69.88]

In fact, for the 'top 8' PGA golfers, the entire group has a Scoring Average below 70.  Winners & losers all... and such a fine line between hero & zero!

Why does Tiger then win more often than his top 9 competitors? Go back to the second paragraph above.  Now consider that you may not even have 9 competitors in your line of business.  And if you do, you simply need to practice a little more than all of your other 9 competitors do, respectively.

Remember the little story about two guys walking in the woods, unfortunately stumbling across a hungry bear? The one guy asked his friend: "Do you think we can outrun a bear?"  To which his friend responded... "I only have to outrun you…"

Survival of the fittest is not implied, in any circumstance.  Survival requires practice, emotional control, consistent & predictable behavior... oh yeah, and also a healthy body supporting a healthy mind.  

Consolidate these above, and you will move from mere survival, to consistent victory.

May your balls enjoy great flight!

Retire or relocate?

Puerta de la Ciudad

Thinking of retiring? Are you in good health? Maybe you are wondering how to make your retirement income last longer. Wondering how to do it? Would you consider exploring a change of scenery, a change in lifestyle or even relocating to a foreign country? 

The first step is to calculate your current cost of living. How much could you really live on? Do you need to downsize to save on cost? If you are planning to live only on the annual interest made from your saved retirement investments, then consider how long will you be able to live on the your investment funds if you made no changes at all?

 If the idea of relocating to a country that offers a lower cost lifestyle and is possible to do so living on only your  retirement income  then now is the time to explore your options.  Keeping our annual budget in mind, the other important points to note are comfort, safety, access to medical assistance, food, shopping, transport as well as a basic understanding of the native language. 

Take a look at Loja, Ecuador:
Where: Loja is located in Ecuador’s Southern Sierra region has a population of about 200,000 people. Loja is known for art and music, and includes two large universities.
Weather:  Temperatures range between a high 73 F and 45 F. Andean climate that is warm with cooler nights. No need for heating or air conditioning.
Language:  As there are very few foreign retirees here, consider this location as a cultural learning opportunity as well as a challenge to explore and a new and exciting lifestyle n a friendly community.
Currency: The official currency is the US dollar.
Transport: Residents can walk the city with ease, or if you don’t feel like walking there are many taxi cabs available that are an inexpensive choice of transport. Loja offers Spanish style architecture and history with attractive town squares. Meet friends at the town square or relax and enjoy a coffee as you watch the people walk by.
Food: Ecuador has a year-round growing season that offers a healthy food choice of inexpensive fresh tropical fruits and vegetables at local markets. Living the Loja lifestyle in a rich culture with modern flair could be convenient as well as unique.

Cost of living:
Based on resources the following cost of living in Ecuador can be about $1,415/m or $16,980/year.
Cost to rent:
2 bed luxury apartment = $500
Utilities = $150
Maid services = $50
Groceries = +- $275
Dining out/ 2 people 8x = $200
Cost to rent:
1 bed apartment = $250
Utilities = $50
Eat out = $10 /$15
Total = +- $850/m or $20,200/y
(Doctor = $30/per visit)

References: Wikipedia, CIA fact file, Reuters. Comments and feedback is appreciated!