As we head into the last week of The Tour de France for 2012, it occurred to me that there are similarities between winning the great race and building wealth for retirement.This years edition is run over 21 days and covers some 3,497 kilometres and like saving for retirement, won’t be won in the early stages but can most certainly be lost if some simple rules aren’t adhered to.
Winning = Part Strategy, Part Tactics
Long before any of the riders arrived at the start line,a team strategy would have been developed over the months leading up to the race. Information from previous events would have been collated, team members given specific responsibilities and the riders would have spent thousands of hours in the saddle, preparing themselves for 3 weeks of physical and mental torture.
There would be different tactics in place for each stage of the race depending on individuals strengths and weaknesses plus allowances would be made for opportuntities and threats from others teams and riders as the race progressed.
Just as in Life, we have various stages we must work through, Adolescence, Young Adulthood, Our first real job after Uni, Purchasing our first home. Starting a family. What you do in these stages with the money you earn can help set the platform for the final run into the Champs Elysee in Paris or in this context, Your retirement.
Even if you don’t get the early stages right, you can always make tactical changes along the way to improve your final position.
Teamwork makes the Dream work.
Relationships make the process even trickier with some being simple sprints and others comparable to a hill climb up the Pyrenees. Both have the opportunity to seal victory early but many end in failure and tears.
Likewise, if you and your partner work towards common goals, you may not be guaranteed victory but you will finish better than if you tried doing it on your own. A rider who leaves the team for another, quoting irreconcilable differences, is likely to realise the pasture may not be as green as he was led to believe and his previous team had strengths that were so good they hid his own weaknesses.
How quickly you can get up and start racing again after a crash will depend largely on two things: having the right people and having the right tools. One without the other will generally lead to frustration for everyone concerned.
Are you protected? Has the team manager put insurance in place in case you’re unable to finish the event, so you don’t end up leaving the rest of the team stranded on the side of the road.
What about you? Do you have the right support network to help your team get a better result than you would have without them? Are they regularly reviewing the assets in the toolbox and upskilling as often as possible? Would Cadel Evans be in a different position with more hill climbers in his team?
Are you the best person to wear all the team responsibilities, or is it time to bring in a Professional so you can get on with the job of riding your bike?
Oh, and be careful. There’s always going to be at least one idiot that wants to throw tacks on the road.