Broker Check


April 25, 2024

Has anyone ever given you advice, unsolicited, but they seem like they know what they’re talking about, so you go ahead and do it? How often does it work out? How often does it fail and why? 

When I first opened my office, a friend gave me two beautiful Peace Lily plants. I admit that keeping those plants alive is important to me and at times too much of a symbolic concern about the health of business. Admitting that, I think everyone is a little bit superstitious. 

Recently another friend who has a self-reported green-thumb dropped in and checking up on my plant maintenance determined I was doing it all wrong. No wonder, I thought, one of the plants always struggled along a little. She gave me a recommendation to give it a lot more water and move it further into the shade. 

In three weeks, the poor lily was on plant life support before succumbing to the slow drowning it had endured over the past few weeks. Too late I tried to save it from knowledgeable advice by moving it back to its old spot in the sun and withholding liquids, but it was gone. On the good side, business is very good even with one Peace Lily less. 

Why this story on a wealth blog? The point is to be cautious when taking advice from self-reported experts. A friend with a hot stock tip isn’t typically compiling data at a Bloomberg Terminal. Someone with a hunch is only playing with luck. Even the educated and experienced in investments seldom ‘beat the market.’ 

The best advice is simple yet hard to follow. Invest in a diversified portfolio. Good businesses can fade, replaced by unknowns and technology rising from the ranks. Seedlings grow and new lilies emerge. Having many plants growing in your garden is the key.