Howe Team Newsletter Revival - FORE!

George V. Howe |

Hello friends of the Howe Team at US Wealth Management, or should we say, “hello, again!” Many of you may recall the “Around the Green” weekly newsletter, our team’s attempt to provide financial updates and personal insights – the title being a play not only on George’s obsession with golf but on the color of money so essential to our financial well-being. The last of those newsletters was published in 2019, eventually falling victim to the rigors of writing and publishing novel content on a consistent timeline. We could easily blame COVID here, but it has already shouldered enough blame for the ills of modern society! 

Despite the extended hiatus, we felt it was time to revive the newsletter. If anything, the world has only become more complicated and anxiety-producing over the past 6 years. Spurred on by global chaos and an increasingly shorter news cycle, it’s more difficult than ever to remain focused on the practices and habits that help to ensure our financial futures. By communicating on a more consistent monthly basis, our hope is to provide guidance on current financial issues – and add some levity where we can through our personal anecdotes. A tall order, to be sure, but much like a golfer’s optimism once warm weather returns, hope springs eternal! 

So, before turning the page let’s get caught up on a few family matters: my daughter Cali is now 14 and a freshman in high school (yes, read that again), Nolan is in 6th grade and a recent OCYFL PeeWee Division 2 Super Bowl Champion (more on that later), Tanis continues to swim, bike and run throughout New England and hasn’t aged, and our beautiful rip-snorting, drooling bulldog, Bogey, is 5 years old. And although golf remains my primary vice, a recently torn plantar fascia tendon (and recovery) in my right heal rendered last year’s golf season “out of bounds”. Oh, and I no longer have a need for shampoo…the hair loss is real!

So let’s start with the hair and the golf, neither of which are related and only one of them is coming back. I have two very specific goals this year, 1) no injuries and 2), lower my handicap index to 0, or what us weekend hackers call “scratch golf.” As most golfers know, this is no easy task as there are always competing priorities like kids, sports, coaching, work, and New England weather.

First, some understanding how a handicap index is calculated according to the United States Golf Association which, by definition, is already a bit ambiguous and will drive my engineer friends crazy: a handicap index is a numerical score that measures a golfer’s playing ability or “potential”. Ok, easy enough thus far. So, what they’re saying is, if “par” for a golf course is 72 and I shoot a 75 it’s easy to conclude that I am a 3 handicap? Ugh, not so fast. Other factors like Course Rating and Slope Rating are also part of the equation, in addition to things like abnormal conditions, exceptional scoring, and maximum hole scores for handicap purposes. Suffice to say, 2 + 2 does NOT equal 4, and since Al is already rolling his eyes I will try and keep a real-life example short.

I recently posted a 75 at a golf course whose Course Rating was 75.3 with a Slope Rating of 139. For my aforementioned engineers, here is the formula: (Score - Course Rating) x 113 (standard slope) / Slope Rating = Handicap Differential. And for those keeping score at home: (75 – 75.3) x 113 / 139 = 2.4, which oddly enough is within .3 of my current handicap index of 2.1. So, in order to get to that magic number of 0, I will likely need to score a 73 or below for each round of the 2024 golf season. Goals are achievable…I keep telling myself this.

So, how do I really get there you ask (and are you really asking)? I either have to practice more, play more, or take lessons, all of which are on the table or at least “Around the Green”.

Enjoy the beginnings of Spring, and we’ll catch up with you in a month.