In Florida, our daughter took us to an alligator farm containing a large swamp that could be crossed by walking along a wooden pathway. Multiple signs were posted warning the swamp contained dangers including alligators and poisonous snakes that lay hidden in the murky waters. The signs cautioned people to stay on the path.
I took a beautiful picture of the elevated pathway that shows it winding into the trees and then turning out of sight. As we followed the pathway we could never see very far ahead due to the trees and winding of the path, but we were confident in reaching our destination as we had studied the map before entering the swamp. Because of our concerns for the dangerous creatures that were hidden in the swamp, we were careful
to stay on the path.
During our journey we came upon a mother and her daughters walking along the path. One of the girls was horsing around and in the process her little plastic flip flop fell off into the swamp below the pathway. “So much for that,” one of us said. Then, much to our surprise, after scolding her daughter, the girl’s mother lay down on the path and squeezed the upper part of her body through the railings and with outstretched hand reached down for the floating flip flop.
As we gazed upon the scene we began to imagine the potential outcomes. We marveled at the mother’s decision to reach her hand, arm and part of her body into the weeds and darkness of the swamp below the pathway. Did she not read the warnings? Was she not aware of the danger she was putting herself in over a two-dollar flip flop? I imagined the headline the next day saying, “What was she thinking?” Fortunately, the event ended without incident.
Like my picture of the path through the swamp, life is a beautiful, though often unknown journey, with many turns along the way. We don’t know what lies around the corner ahead and there are certainly dangers lurking, but our highest likelihood of success comes from finding a good path and staying on it.
I am not totally sure what my walk through the swamp has to do with investing but somewhere in my picture lies a message for investors. In the picture there are no alligators or snakes visible, but surely they are there. The final destination is out of view beyond the trees, but if you stay on the path you have a really good chance of getting there. It was foolish for the lady to reach into the unknown waters, but it is amazing how many investors I have seen do the same. Some even leave the path entirely, or worse, they try to cross the swamp without one. Hopefully this new picture, that I will frame and post in my office, will remind investors to plan a good path, then stay on it, and be especially careful what they stick their hands into.
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.
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