I sat down to write my weekly column when I heard a tapping. I turned to see a small sparrow banging itself against my window. With all the windows in our house, it is not unusual, and practically a daily occurrence, to hear a bird slam against the window and then fly off, and unfortunately sometimes not.
This little sparrow however, was determined. After about 30 seconds of beating against the glass he flew to a branch near the house and looked at the window. I smiled and said to the bird, "I'll bet your little head will be ringing for a while after all that banging. At least maybe you learned a lesson that may save your life one day."
No sooner had I spoken to my little friend than he left the branch and went straight for my window, proceeding to bang his head on it all over again. After some time, he flew back to his branch to assess the situation. Again, I spoke to my little friend and said, "My goodness you are stubborn. If you don't learn your lesson soon, our friendship will not be lasting much longer."
To my surprise the above encounter repeated itself many more times. As I contemplated the sparrow, I thought back to the times in my life when it took me more than a few bumps on the head to finally learn my lesson. Sometimes, like my little friend, we keep making the same mistakes thinking that somehow the results will be magically different. About 30 minutes later, and still beating his head, I said to the sparrow, "Sorry little guy, I admire your determination but it isn't going to change the outcome. Actually, I think I have met quite a few investors who are just like you." And then I knew the message I needed to share.
Financial matters seem to be one of the greatest areas where humans beat their heads against the window. I often counsel with young people who have gotten themselves deep into debt and their solution has been to try and borrow their way out. This always results in a much bigger financial headache.
With age, the tendency to repeat financial mistakes moves to the way people invest their money. I have watched investors lose money because of greed, only to become greedier and end up losing more. I have known many who thought they could outsmart the very challenging options, commodities or the currency markets, and when they take a beating dive right back in hoping the results will be different.
It is human to make mistakes. It is foolish to keep making them. If there are areas in your investing where you have not done well, stop thinking the outcome will magically change. If what you are doing hasn't worked, stop doing it. Continuing to repeat the same mistakes, thinking the outcome will be different, will leave you like my little sparrow friend--with a very big headache, or likely worse.
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of AZ,CA,CO,DC,FL,HI,ID,IL,KS,KY,MA,MI,MN,MO,MT,NE,NM,NV,OH,OR,SD,TX,UT,VA,WA,WY. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services.