Derek Jeter will go into the record books as one of baseball's greatest players. He's amassed a record that is the envy of peers and a model for new players.
In the span of Jeter's career he's accomplished everything from winning Rookie of the Year to collecting five World Series rings. He has also amassed a net worth of more than $175 million.
That kind of success doesn't come overnight -- and it doesn't come without hard work and sticking to a few core principles. And while we don't know a lot about how Jeter manages his money, we do know plenty about his path to becoming a standout baseball player. It's those lessons that we can emulate in order to improve our own investment returns.
1. Focus on forward momentum
Jeter is one of the most successful baseball players of our generation. After scoring 104 runs and batting .314, he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1996 and never looked back. Over the years, Jeter has enjoyed countless honors, including five gold glove awards and 14 All-Star appearances.
Yet despite his success, Jeter never let his past wins (or losses) distract him. Instead he remained laser-focused on winning the next game.
Approaching your money with a focus that isn't rooted in yesterday's great decision or mistake may help you stay focused on making smarter, more thoughtful decisions that will help you achieve your goals, too. You'll inevitably have ups and downs, but through it all, maintaining the discipline to focus on your goal is far more valuable than applauding past successes or fretting over past failures.
2. Be happy with base hits
Jeter wasn't a swing-for-the-fences type player. He only hit more than 20 home runs in three seasons. Instead, he was a hard scrabble contact hitter that notched more than 200 hits eight different times.
Over his career, Jeter amassed a lifetime batting average of .310 during the regular season and an even more impressive batting average of .306 during post-season play, leading fans to nickname him Mr. November.
Jeter's day-in-and-day-out performance allowed him to remain one of baseball's best players for 20 years and his likely future Hall of Fame induction speaks volumes about the value of consistent performance.
Delivering consistent performance when managing your money means remembering that time and time again it's been shown that thinking long-term is better than thinking short term. That means that instead of following the herd, you should be making decisions that you can understand and easily explain. Decisions like using low-cost mutual funds as well as dollar-cost averaging -- a strategy that allows for regular investment contributions at specific intervals -- to build up your retirement nest egg are two examples.
3. Commit to your winners
Jeter could have left New York for other teams, but he remained with the Yankees for his entire career because he knew that the team was likely to be among his best chances for winning over the long haul.
That meant that Jeter didn't chase a bigger paycheck in the short term at the expense of a potentially smaller paycheck down the road.
Discovering rule-breaker-type companies that can help you reach your long-term financial goals means thinking about where a company will be in five or 10 years, rather focusing solely on where it is today. That kind of approach will help you find great companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), priceline (NASDAQ:BKNG), and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) early on, but importantly it will also help you stick with them even when they stumble. After all, even game-changing companies like these have faltered at one point or another, but that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't stick with them.