Mile News

Retirement investing: your sub-4 minute Mile

January 09, 2014

For serious retirement investors, the far better sports metaphor lies in the story of Roger Bannister, the first man sub-4 minutes in the Mile

By Mitchell Tuchman, MarketWatch

Read enough about investing and eventually you run into this entertaining hockey metaphor: "Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is."

This arrestingly simple piece of advice was supposedly uttered by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky (a claim thoroughly debunked ). It lives on, on countless websites, many dedicated to investing advice.

"Skate to where the puck is going" makes sense, at least for the type of investor interested in market timing, that is, in trying to guess in advance which way the markets will move.

For serious retirement investors, the far better sports metaphor lies in the story of Roger Bannister, the young English physician who, with surprising little training, was the first person to clock a sub-4 minute Mile, in 1954.

Bannister set out to beat the Mile after a personal failure: Insufficiently prepared, he didn't medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics in the 1500 meters. So he set his sights on the Mile.

Other runners in various countries were closing in on the 4 minute Mile barrier, so Bannister had to train fast. He finally did it on a track at Oxford University, and he had company: Two runners helped Bannister set his pace along the way, a standard practice for the sport.

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