As the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week, the coaches of the world’s greatest teams will be on tenterhooks, waiting to see whether the many seasons of intense preparation will propel their talented athletes to victory.

“The value of a good football coach is similar to that of a good financial adviser. It’s about their understanding of strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to put a strategic plan in place that will deliver winning goals,” says Lizl Budhram, Head of Advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance.

“The right sports coach gives you insight into both your growth potential and your limitations, and will also help you identify and take advantage of all the opportunities ahead. Similarly, the right financial adviser looks at the reality of your finances – including the risks and barriers to reaching your goals – and helps you gear your money toward wealth creation and peace of mind.”

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Budhram says that in the same way that a coach would not send you into a game unprepared, a good financial adviser would not encourage an expensive holiday when you are struggling to manage debt repayments.

“Honesty is key in these relationships. When a coach asks players to disclose injuries, it is to prevent further harm. It’s also why financial advisers need to have the full picture of your financial status and goals – expenses, debt, income and financial aspirations.”

Budhram believes a good financial planner should never be afraid to advise you “coach-style” when you need improvement – and it’s something you will work on together. “Your adviser should be willing to address areas like unnecessary debt and excessive expenditure. Through authentic financial mentorship, they can be a genuine partner in your financial journey.”

She adds that hearing objective and truthful advice on your financial status can sometimes be challenging and difficult to confront. “But this only means that the advice is that much more valuable – it’s an honest relationship on a long-term journey toward your financial wellbeing.”

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Not all sports games are World Cups, of course, and not all decisions are life-changing. “Good coaches, however, understand that ‘practice makes perfect’,” says Budhram.

“In life, the better you know your own money habits and the more committed you are to achieving your financial goals, the more prepared you will be for any financial season – come World Cup tournament or friendly match.”