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BTG Terrain Race

'A Unique Journey Every Step of the Way'

Photo of author, Brian Gongaware, CFP®, SE-AWMA™.
Brian Gongaware, CFP®, SE-AWMA™
Director of Advisory Services

This summer I joined five other family members to participate in the Terrain Race. This relatively new action sport includes navigating a series of obstacles through varying terrains stretched over three or more miles. Today we explore the similarities of the journeys of a Terrain Race and our Financial Life.

The First Step
The Terrain Race begins with all the runners immersed in a swimming pool. On the starter’s gun, you propel yourself over the wall and begin your journey along the course already wet and uneasy. Our financial life can begin with the feeling of being in over our head. We must learn new skills and become comfortable making financial decisions.

Along the Journey
One of the challenges of the Race, and life, is navigating varying terrains. There are times where it seems like we are on a downhill coast and others where the climb will never end. By design the Terrain Race is not a smooth, level journey. You are tested to call upon different experiences and strategies to advance. At times you may have to muster all your grit to persevere and maintain focus on the task.

Like in life, no route map is provided prior to or during the Race. You tackle the course as it comes, one step at a time. You can look ahead to plan and adjust accordingly. Sometimes you can see a great distance, other times the you may find yourself in the darkness of a tube or cave.

This type of action sport includes 20+ unknown obstacles to be conquered prior to advancing. The Race includes such obstacles as cargo nets, mud crawls, tarzan swings, tall walls, rope climbs, and even monkey bars. As in life, we face an unknown set of obstacles. They are not equally separated but appear to be more random in their timing. Many of the obstacles demand the support and cooperation of your teammates to overcome.

Not knowing how long the course is and what obstacles await, it can be difficult to pace oneself. We find ourselves unsure as to how many resources are necessary for the entire journey, and how we should manage our reserves for the uncertainty.

The Final Mile
Unfortunately, or fortunately, none of us know where or when we will reach our finish line. However, we will need to successfully navigate such key financial matters as Financial Autonomy, Tax Planning, Estate Objectives, Debt Management, Career & Business, Investments, and Risk Management.

Your professional advisor, as your terrain race teammate, can spot financial blind spots and help you successfully circumnavigate the landscape. With proper guidance, you may be better prepared to navigate economic and financial uncertainties, attack the unknown obstacles that are inevitable, and pace yourself to maximize your resources for the entire journey.

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