What’s Your Wealth Building Long Game?


More often than not, the adage, “anything worth having is worth waiting for,” is true. Think about some of the most important things you would like to accomplish during your lifetime. Maybe you want to build a successful business, attain an advanced degree, become a leading expert in your field, raise a family or sail the seven seas. All of these endeavors take time and are seldom achieved through blind luck or shortcuts. There’s a reason why elite athletes spend the better part of their youth training and why it takes nine months to bring a baby to full term. Likewise, there are no shortcuts when it comes to building wealth. It’s all about your long game, which requires planning, consistency, patience and discipline.


It can take years or even decades to achieve certain goals. To remain focused, you need a plan. Planning provides an understanding of the actions and steps required to move you closer to accomplishing your goals. For an aspiring attorney, your plan may include graduating from college, completing law school and studying for the bar. To hold yourself accountable to your goals, you also need to create a timeline. When will you prep for the LSATs? Will you take time off to travel or work between college and law school? If so, for how long? When do you plan to finish law school, take the bar and begin working in your chosen field?

Planning helps you think through and map out an intentional strategy for pursuing your goals. Remember, if you don’t know where you’re going or when you expect to arrive, there’s a good chance you’ll end up lost along the way, or never reach your destination. Having a long game with a well-thought-out plan can not only keep you on track but help to quickly get back on course if you veer off.


Small, day-to-day actions can also be highly effective in keeping you on track. One of the best examples of consistency is saving for a long-term goal like a child’s college education or your own retirement. Even a small amount of money set aside each month can add up over time, thanks to the power of compounding. If you’re investing that money through a tax-smart education savings account or a qualified retirement plan, it may grow even faster due to tax-deferred compounding. There are other ways you can make consistency work for you as well. You could commit to increasing the amount you save each year, or with each raise or promotion. Similarly, you could direct a percentage of any annual bonuses, tax refunds or “found” money you receive toward your long-term savings goals.

Hasty and impulsive choices are the enemy of consistency. They generally result from focusing on the short-term, rather than your long game. That’s why even small, seemingly inconsequential spending decisions can make a significant difference in how soon you may reach your goals. For example, many people find it hard to set money aside for emergency savings. However, let’s say someone spends $12 a day on two lattes. That adds up to $360 per month or $4,320 per year. Even saving half of that per year would be a good start for an emergency fund.

Consistency is a powerful way to help you move closer to your goals by creating new habits that serve your long-term interests. Those are habits you don’t want to break.


There’s no question that long-term results require patience, discipline and focus, and building wealth is no exception. Understanding the time frame for accomplishing your wealth building goals is also critical. For example, if you’re 25 when you start investing for retirement, your time horizon is roughly 40 years. That can provide ample time to weather the market’s ups and downs as you seek portfolio growth over several decades. And the sooner you begin investing, the faster your money will potentially grow, due to the power of compounding. But what if you get a late start and don’t begin investing for retirement until you’re in your 40s?

Many people may be tempted to push the needle by investing more aggressively and seeking higher returns to make up for lost time. However, following a strategy that’s not aligned with your goals, risk tolerance and time frame can easily backfire. A market pullback close to when you plan to retire could be determinantal if you don’t have enough time to recoup losses when the markets recover. That could significantly delay your plans to retire or reduce the amount of money you may have to support your lifestyle in retirement.

Whether you began investing early or got a late start on pursuing your long-term goals, patience can help you stay on track and avoid the urge to bail at the first sign of turbulence in the markets. The danger in selling when market values are declining is that you lock in losses. In addition, numerous studies have shown that investors often wait until stock prices are climbing again to buy back into the market. That can result in paying significantly more for the same or similar securities. Exercising patience and riding out turbulent markets is generally a better strategy for long-term investors.


As the markets fluctuate, it can be challenging to keep your emotions in check if you are not following a defined, repeatable process. The good news is that a disciplined investment process can help remove the kind of behavioral and emotional biases that get in the way of making investment decisions that are aligned with your long-term objectives.

Keep in mind, there will be times when you may need to make adjustments, such as rebalancing your portfolio to return to your original risk target, harvesting gains in a tax-efficient manner, or taking advantage of new opportunities as market sectors fall in or out of favor. If you’re managing your own investment portfolio, some of these decisions may be difficult to make without access to the in-depth research and analytical tools that institutional managers are able to invest in. That’s where a disciplined investment process combined with professional portfolio management can make a difference. Professional investment managers bring years of experience managing through multiple investment cycles, including bear markets and corrections. They also have the advantage of making decisions devoid of emotional biases. That can be very hard to do when managing your own money, especially during periods of rapid change or increased uncertainty.

However you define success for yourself, your family or business, when it comes to pursuing your long game there’s no substitute for planning, consistency, patience and discipline. Each of these can help to pave the way to the long-term outcomes you desire. To learn more about how a disciplined and repeatable investment process can help support your lifestyle goals, download our complimentary Investment Process guide.