I’m a Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Washington, DC. I work with a small group of families to help them accomplish the things they want to do in their lives. Fortunately for me, that often includes horses. These are regular people, often professionals, who are looking to accomplish things in their lives that require money to achieve them. We provide the financial planning and investment advice around goals like retirement, education, philanthropy, and taking care of family members — including the four-legged ones.

The financial markets and riding are surprisingly similar: You have to handle the basics or the more advanced things will never go well. You have to have a disciplined training program, but you don’t want to get caught in a rut. You need a plan but you have to be flexible enough to handle what life puts in front of you.

People ask me how riding ties into this, and I walk them through some of our event preparation: practicing individual skills, schooling over jump courses at home, walking a jump course at an event, and then having the competition course be a smooth and effortless partnership. But we’re also well prepared so it’s not a major issue if our approach isn’t exactly what we had in mind, or the footing is a little soggy.

Like with my riding efforts, my clients have a training plan for what they want to do. We make as many parts as possible happen automatically so they don’t get overwhelmed. That’s like making your lower leg solid underneath you so you’re always balanced. We know what our intentions are, like the order in which you intend to take a course. But we also know that life has a way of shifting underneath those plans, so we work on being prepared for the contingencies too, like wearing studs in your shoes in case the ground is slippery.

From a financial perspective, I help my clients figure out what their financial priorities are, show them how to practice the skills they need, get them organized so they aren’t distracted from the job at hand, and keep things as simple as possible.

In my experience, it’s the best way to make progress. Both at riding and investing…