Lesson From The Lottery: Finding The Right Advisor

Abraham Shakespeare did not have much luck finding a financial advisor.

The dead body of the Florida lottery winner was found in 2009, in the backyard of Dee Dee Moore’s boyfriend’s house. Under a slab of concrete.

This month Moore, who served as Shakespeare’s “advisor,” will be on trial for his murder.

Shakespeare did not undertake an extensive search to find his advisor. After learning of Shakespeare’s $17 million lottery jackpot win, Moore asked a policeman to trace Shakespeare’s license plate tags and used this information to make contact with Shakespeare.

I’m writing a new book, titled, “Life Lessons from the Lottery.” Lottery winners have the same problems average people do, but those problems are magnified greatly by the large amounts of money they receive.

People who get lousy financial advice usually don’t wind up dead. But they frequently wind up broke.

I have a simple rule for finding a financial advisor: Don’t be that person’s most important client.

If you get $100 million, find an advisor who has worked with $150 million.

It gets complicated finding an advisor outside of the financial field.

You can’t easily quantify whether a person is a good teacher, plumber or ballet instructor. The same is true for financial advisors.

I spent most of the Christmas season in the hospital, and while there I made a list of things to do when I got better. Playing golf was one of them.

Self-taught as a teenager, I went through long periods during which I didn’t play golf at all. Eight years ago, I decided to give up the game completely.

Coming back at age 53, I was not going to golf in public until I could play without embarrassing myself.

That is when Clay Hamrick came into my life.

I’ve been working with Anne Parton, who runs a personal assistant business called IAssist, which has entrepreneurs as its primary client base. Anne has been a personal assistant to several high-powered people. I hired her to help me coordinate my last book tour.

I kept her on to organize the rest of my life.

Anne sat down with me and developed a comprehensive list of what I wanted to do as a golfer and how much time I needed to schedule to achieve that.

Then she went out to interview golf professionals. She came back with Clay Hamrick.

I would never have found Clay on my own. He is the head pro at Battlefield Golf Course, a small public course outside my hometown of Richmond, Kentucky. This would not have been the first spot I looked for the ultimate golf guru.

It turns out that Clay has an incredible background, including being the head pro at a top 100 public course. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University, married a woman from a prominent local family and moved back to the region to raise their children.

A lucky break for me.

On the surface, Clay and I could not be more opposite. He is incredibly intense, handsome, in perfect physical condition and impeccably dressed. I’m none of the above.

But as it turns out, we have a lot in common. He is incredibly well read, a deep thinker and an absolute student of the game. He espouses a concept called the “Stack and Tilt” system, which is perfect for a middle-aged man getting back in the game.

Under Clay’s high-strung exterior is a deeply caring man with the heart of a lion.

He is a passionate advocate for how golf can improve my overall well-being and physical health. He gets truly excited when I make progress and posts films of the results on my Facebook page.

He uses every type of modern technology to analyze and improve my game.

He also had a revelation that changed my golf swing. Clay’s uncle, Dave Tomlin, was a star relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds during the “Big Red Machine” era of my youth. Clay looked at me and said, “Imagine my uncle is pitching to you. Now hit the ball to Dave Concepcion.” (Concepcion was a shortstop for the Reds.)

Once I developed that visual picture, I started whacking the ball.

I played my first nine holes at the West Baden resort in French Lick, Ind. Not an easy course, but I knocked in two birdies.

The last time I had two birdies in a round, Bill Clinton was president.

I was so excited, I called Clay from the middle of the golf course.

He, Anne and I have an extensive plan for improving my game over the next two years. It also relates to how I am starting to lose weight and doing something that does not involve an easy chair.

Clay has made a big impact on my life and has become a good friend.

The key was figuring out what I wanted, and finding a top-notch person to help me get there.

If Abraham Shakespeare had done the same, he might still be alive, enjoying his lottery winnings, instead of having met an early death.

Don McNay, who lives in Richmond, Ky., is an award-winning financial columnist for Huffington Post Contributor. You can learn more about him at www.donmcnay.com.