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CFA, CFP, Team USA: Investing Tips From Olympians

Ted Murphy
Wealth Manager, Merrill Lynch, Mill Valley, Calif.

Ted Murphy(left) after winning a silver medal in 2000.

His sport: Rowing

His Olympic career: After a storied rowing career in college (Dartmouth), Murphy sets his sights on the Olympics. Although he came up short at the 1996 games in Atlanta, he took home silver in a pairs event at the 2000 games in Australia.

His big Olympic moment: Grabbing the silver, especially given the injuries that Murphy and his rowing partner, Sebastian Bea, sustained in the months and weeks leading up to the games. (Murphy alone broke a rib earlier in the year.) Murphy describes the victory scene as one of “pure joy and elation.” He also remembers what he told his partner after the race: “Put that on your resume!”

His financial career: There was little doubt in Murphy’s mind that he wanted to be in money management, sooner or later. “I was the guy who opened an IRA as soon as I had my first job,” he says. A Certified Financial Planner, Murphy now works with about 50 clients at Merrill, managing $60 million.

How the Olympics and investing intersect: Murphy says both are about honing a “growth mindset every single day.” But he doesn’t mean growing your assets. He means growing your knowledge base (which, in turn, helps an investor grow a portfolio). At the Olympics, the growth often came from learning on the fly – for example, when Murphy broke a rib, he had to figure out how to adjust his stroke so that he wasn’t in pain but was still moving the boat along at the requisite pace. Similarly, Murphy says, an investor has to be prepared to learn from a sudden shift in the market. “Hey, 2008 happened,” Murphy concludes.



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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.