My wife and I have four kids, who are mostly grown up at this point, mixed between the last year of high school and out working in the real world. Animals have always played a role in our family, and I’ve attempted more than once to limit the number of animals that end up as part of our family. I’ve said things like, “We don’t need a second dog” and “We aren’t going to get a pig” and “We don’t need any more chickens.” Those have all been battles that I’ve ultimately lost.
I was recently killing time in an airport scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across a video of a beaver that had been rescued and was living in someone’s home. The video shows the beaver pulling various things from the house and building a dam in the hallway. What makes that even more unique is that the beaver was rescued when it was just a baby and had never actually seen anyone build a dam. It just knew.
I shared the beaver video in our family text group along with the declaration that “No, we aren’t getting a beaver.” Then it dawned on me that my family might be the one most likely to actually have a beaver live in our house. What had I done?!
Beavers build dams to create a pond of water. They then construct a lodge that has an underwater entrance that provides safety from predators. The inside of the lodge gives them shelter and a place to store food. If trouble comes, they can escape through underwater tunnels connected to the lodge. How does a beaver rescued as a baby know how to do this? Why does a sea turtle head for the ocean after hatching or a dog shake violently when it gets wet? All instinctual behavior, which is pretty fascinating to think about. Humans have instincts too including the drive to survive, fear, and anger among others.
What comes to mind when you think about your financial instincts? Fear jumps out to me when I hear people discuss the stock market. Looking back at US stocks since 1926, various rolling time periods for the S&P 500 are positive 94.55% of the time according to Nick Murray’s Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth. Odds go to 99.7% positive at 15-years and 100% at 20 years. When you look closer, investing in stocks starts to look less like something that requires a fear response.
With money, it’s helpful to have a plan of action which simply tells you what to do just like the beaver does. We need dams and lodges, too, in order to protect our own goals and interests. As of now, my family does not have a beaver. I’ve tried to rely on it being illegal in the state of Tennessee as my main argument. In fairness, none of my past “We are not getting a” arguments have ever worked, so we’ll see…
The opinions expressed are those of PYAW’s Investment Team. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Forward looking statements cannot be guaranteed.
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