Your Coach

Building Trust On and Off the Pitch

December 13, 2018

By Alev Kelter, USA Rugby

Having a good coach is key to success on the field. A good coach has knowledge of the game, a vision for the team and gets the players to buy into a game plan. As a two-sport athlete in college and now a professional rugby player, I have been on a lot of teams and played for a lot of coaches. The best coaches I’ve had were successful because of their ability to build trust with the team.

While I was interning with Penn Mutual, I had the opportunity to learn about the role a financial adviser plays in the lives of their clients. One thing I realized right away is how important trust is when working with a financial adviser. Discussing sensitive topics like money or life insurance can be difficult, and having an adviser that you can trust to help you make the right decisions for you and your family is so important when choosing who to work with.

A financial adviser’s role is very similar to a coach. Like a coach, an adviser can help you set goals, explain difficult or confusing topics and create a plan to help you achieve those goals. Working to create a financial plan that works for you and your family is important and downright impossible if you cannot trust the person you are working with. After all, are you really going to follow through on a plan if you don’t believe in the coach or the plan itself?

Here are three things I learned to look for in a coach, and I think the same ideas hold true in finding a trusted financial adviser.


As someone who was new to rugby, I had to learn the game from scratch. Thankfully, I had a good group of coaches that supported me along the way and taught me the ins and outs of the game. They not only taught me about the larger game, they helped me play the game better – where my skills were strongest, what I needed to work on, and, most importantly, how my talents fit into our overall strategy.

When it comes to finances, you might think you have a good handle on things, but you need someone who can share their knowledge and expertise. An adviser can show you ways to reach your goals while educating you and asking the right questions. What are your financial strengths? What are the areas that need work to provide better balance to your financial life and position you to achieve your long-term financial goals?


Sometimes an individual or team needs help clearly identifying the goals for a game or season. A good coach keeps a team organized and clearly identifies what he or she expects from the team. As a team, we have set goals for the HSBC World Series and our coach has helped us clearly define those goals for the upcoming season.

Similarly, a good financial adviser can help you identify what is important to you and can help keep you accountable in your efforts to reach those goals. Whether you want to buy a house, save for college or plan for retirement, a financial adviser can help you establish goals and keep you on track.


The best coaches always provide a game plan based on the team’s strengths and weaknesses and put the team in the best possible position to win. This means not only knowing the team and its capabilities intimately, but also knowing how the team matches up to the opposition. The team also has to trust that the coach has developed a winning game plan.

While you are ultimately in control of your finances, an adviser can help you create and execute a financial strategy. They can match your strengths and weaknesses against the risks and opportunities you face, advising you on the right financial strategy and the right moves to help you win your financial game.

A coach and a financial adviser have a lot in common. I have trusted my rugby coaches to help get me where I am today. I’ve learned how important it is to trust a financial adviser to get where you want to be in the future.


This story originally appears on Penn Mutual’s Perspectives on Life Blog.

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