08 August 2019 | 2-mins read
This mix of excitement, anxiety, and uncertainty in football matches is not unlike the financial world – no one can perfectly time market moves, nor can we ever expect to make profitable investment decisions all the time. However, a good investment philosophy is a balanced one; one that takes calculated risks and pays dividends in the long run.
There is no absolute "right" way to play the beautiful game. Football teams are set up differently in accordance to their strengths (e.g. available players) and external factors (e.g. opposition’s tactics) - so do investment strategies.
Spain popularised the possession-based game, commonly known as the "tiki-taka", while England plays a direct style, finding the fastest way to the goal. Holland used to boast the concept of "total football" with an all-out attacking approach, while Italy had the most stubborn defense in the past. (Both teams failed to qualify this time2).
The truth is that the best teams are never formed by all defenders or all attackers.
So, for investors, the basic questions are always:
The answers lie in having a clear financial objective – whether it is wealth preservation,
With a clear goal in mind and an astute evaluation of our current life stage, we can then find the right balance in our portfolio between defenders (low risk, low returns) and attackers (high risk, high returns).
International coaches spend most of their time watching potential players at the club level before calling them up to the national squad, but when you can only pick 23 players, it is not easy to decide between an experienced player or an in-form youth who has no experience on the international stage.
Similarly, when it comes to picking an instrument to invest in, there are various companies who have strong business fundamentals and steady growth. There are also opportunities like tech start-ups who might become the next unicorn and present unexpected returns.
Is there room in your team to make a small speculative bet on the young player who might cause a storm on the international stage?
Quick fact: only Brazil and Italy have won back-to-back World Cup titles1. It's nearly impossible for a team, even the very best, to win all the time. And that is because things are never constant; strong winds could alter the flight of the ball, and the opposing team could make substitutions and change their tactics.
In the unpredictable market winds, how do we know when to hold onto our investments and ride the storm, or when do we cut our losses and seek better opportunities? is the ability to tap on his/her expertise in making the informed decisions based on research and insights.
Identifying financial investments requires a great amount of research – from understanding business fundamentals and identifying macroeconomic trends to detecting nuances in global politics. Just as managers scout opposition teams to study their tactics, we need to understand the industries and businesses that we invest in.
These three teams are (or were) the perennial favourites to win the World Cup. Each team is overflowing with incredibly talented players such as Neymar, Messi, and Kroos. However, it is impossible for these players to win games single-handedly for their team all the time – underdogs could easily cause upsets if they are able to stifle them.
Brazil's wingbacks are known more for their attacking prowess than defending, leaving possible gaps in the wide areas. Argentina might be compelled to rely on Messi and he could find himself double- and even triple-marked most of the time. Germany lacks a traditional forward and if the attacking players do not come up with the goals – they might not have a plan B.
Is your portfolio too reliant on one type of investment? Are you taking on too much risk? Or do you have a well-diversified portfolio that can appropriately withstand specific market changes?
In many ways, football is a perfect metaphor for financial planning. It's always easy when we are winning.
The challenge is how do we deal with adversity – when we are two-goals down, what do we do to turn things around and come out tops? After we lose a match, how we learn from it and improve as a team for the next match?
Market movements can be volatile but a financial consultant helps his/her clients to stay on top in the long run.
No manager works alone; he/she builds a staff team with experts in various areas like fitness, technical training, nutrition, psychology etc. Neither should you try to navigate the complex markets alone.
These insurance products are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 198002116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment. There may be high costs involved if you terminate the policy early, and your policy's surrender value (if any) may be zero or less than the total premiums paid. Buying health insurance products that are unsuitable for you may affect your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. This advertisement is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract.
This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC web-sites ( or ).
We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or its Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.