Almost seven years ago, Deb and I drove 7 hours to Kanab, Utah to adopt a border collie pup from the Best Friends Animal Shelter. After paying the fee and leaving a small donation, we were heading out the door with our new, adorable puppy, when a voice from behind us said, “Good luck with that one.” We could have turned around and went back for an explanation, but we had already had 5 other dogs in our marriage, so we figured this wasn’t our first rodeo and that we could handle most anything. Owning a border collie has been different than any of our other dogs. There are times when I wonder if the dog is trying to do me in. Riley has demonstrated some important lessons that can be applied to life and finances that I want to share with you.

1) Protect what you have. Border Collies tend to be protective, and Riley is certainly that around our (his) house. If the door bell rings, he is up and barking. Drives me nuts! The dog is barking and I’m yelling at the dog to stop. The poor person at the door is freaking out wondering what hurricane is coming to answer the door. But he is simply trying to scare off the offending party and warn us that someone we may or may not want is near. Protecting what we have, whether its our home or our investments is important. The use of insurance and investment techniques such as diversification and rebalancing help us do just that.

2) Always stash a little away for a rainy day. Riley is a sock thief. And he prefers socks that have just come off our feet. (Dogs have no taste). He grabs them and runs around the house with them in his mouth and then disappears into our bedroom. When I go back to the bedroom to retrieve the socks so they can hit the laundry, there is typically only one sock on the floor near where he is lying. Riley has placed the other sock carefully in his toy basket, thinking that no one will find it there and he will have the sock for another day. You would think that he would know that I know this because after retrieving the sock near him, I go to his toy basket and grab the other one. Riley willingly stashes away ½ of what he steals. We should all have such a high savings rate.

3) Always keep your goals in sight. Riley is a frisbee dog. He loves to chase and catch the frisbee. So much so that we MUST DO IT EVERY NIGHT! I’m out in our backyard at about 5:45 pm every night, rain or shine. Winter, summer, doesn’t matter. We’ve played when the temperature was 106 and when it was
-3. We even play in the dark. I actually bought a flood light for our backyard so I could play frisbee with the dog! Once we start, Riley’s eyes never come off the frisbee. I can pretend to throw it and he’ll take off running. When it doesn’t arrive he turns around, looks up then side to side. Then he sees that I still have it in my hand and comes running back watching the frisbee until I send it airborne again. I can pull that trick once each night, but after that his eyes never come off the disc. That’s what we need to do with our goals. The world is full of distractions and wrong paths that pull us away from our goals.

4) Never be the pioneer (because you’ll end up being the guy lying face down on the trail with arrows in your back.) Riley loves to hike and wants to be in the lead, but when something unfamiliar comes in to view, he immediately drops back behind me to gain a safe look at what lies ahead. We witnessed this again the other day when on an early morning hike, we encountered a coyote about 20 yards ahead of us. Riley fell back behind us and watched as the coyote watched us for a few seconds and then moved on. It is better to stand back and observe and then move forward. Don’t jump on every investment craze. Give it some time to see if it will work over the long term and then get in.

5) If it doesn’t feel right or you don’t understand it, don’t invest in it. Riley, like most dogs loves bones. One time Deb found a Yak bone at the pet store. (Yes, apparently it came from a real Yak) It was big and she brought it home for Riley. She proudly set it on the floor in front of him. He got up looked at it, sniffed it, tucked his tail between his legs and high tailed it behind the couch. We though we’d try it again, so we moved it to where he was cowering. This time he didn’t even sniff it, He pulled his ears back, tucked his tail, jumped over it and ran directly into the bedroom. We found him with his head under the bed. I’m sure his whole body would have been under it if he could have fit. That Yak bone didn’t pass Riley’s smell test.

6) Be content. Contentment is not what you have but how you appreciate what you have. When we got Riley, we bought him a stuffed skunk toy and a stuffed gopher toy. The skunk pretty much looks like roadkill now as all the stuffing is out, and gopher is almost unrecognizable, but these are still the toys he runs to first. We’ve gotten him others, but he is content with skunk and gopher…

…and we are content with Riley.

These are the opinions of Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.

Mike Berry is a Registered Representative offering securities through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Legacy Wealth Management, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated. Cambridge does not offer tax advice.

Copyright ©2021 Mike Berry. All Rights reserved. Commercial copying, duplication or reproduction is prohibited.