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Monday, October 17, 2011

"Daddy, Are We There Yet???"

From our Chief Investment Officer, Brad Reynolds CFA
My rather precocious son JR goes to daycare every Tuesday and Thursday, and has been for a year now. I was driving him to daycare this AM, and despite having made this trip a hundred plus times the same way, five minutes into the drive I hear from the backseat, “Daddy, are we there yet?”
I realize that at three years old JR has an extremely short-term view of the world. He doesn’t see the whole trip and how it leads to our ultimate destination.  He is only concerned with what he sees out the window at any given second. So, I say to him, “No JR, we're not there yet, it takes time to drive to school.” “But why?” This is a question I have learned is best to pretend I don’t hear (parents know what I’m talking about). A little further along in our journey, we come to a stop light and my backseat bellows “I want to go that way” (motioning for a right turn). “No JR, that’s not the way we go.” ”But I want to” (another statement best to ignore). We finally get to daycare, and JR joyfully runs into the classroom for a day of play and envying his classmate’s Lightning McQueen flashy shoes (which I will of course now have to buy him, but that’s another story).
This got me thinking. Despite making the trip twice a week every week, JR (a very bright child) still doesn’t see the bigger picture. He only focuses on what’s right outside the window. I suppose that’s natural. I mean, he doesn’t drive and has never made the journey himself, I have. I know how to get there. Now granted the trip is not exactly the same every day, there are accidents, construction, weather conditions that delay us or even cause a minor detour. (I won’t mention the poor little squirrel that sadly met his end under my tires this morning). But I know how to drive the car, where I’m going, and different routes to get there despite any obstacles or bumps in the journey.
I suppose I could get JR a car and let him drive himself and figure it out, but I suspect there may be disastrous consequences, and he may not get there safely. I need to reassure him that I know where I’m going and despite any detours or delays I will get him there in time for the morning snack.
I can’t help but see the similarities with my professional life, safeguarding the financial wealth of our clients. It is easy to get caught up in the short-term, and focus on the ‘bad’ news of the day. It is our job to see the bigger, longer-term picture. We know the ultimate destination and the best way to get there despite how bumpy it may seem at times. I can assure you we are watching the road, not speeding, and navigating thru all the obstacles, both expected (traffic lights) and unexpected (squirrelly markets). We will do our best to get you to your destination safely and on time, all the while reducing your uncertainty.
Brad