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What can a dead car battery teach us about investing? 

During the 2020 Quarantine, my wife and I discovered on a Sunday afternoon that the battery in her vehicle had died. We jump-started her car and drove around for a bit to let the battery recharge before going to our local auto parts store.

The individuals at the store were very helpful. They tested the battery and found it had a bad cell. We would need to replace it. Although the employee at the auto parts store informed us that they could not install the new battery on our vehicle, I wasn’t worried. I had replaced a car battery before, so we were not helpless. The auto parts clerk used his computer to find the battery, brought it up for us, and away we went.

After what took longer than I care to admit to remove the old battery, I realized the battery I removed was much larger than the new one we had just purchased. This exact moment is where experience would have come into play. If the auto parts clerk or I had experience with this car before, we would have realized that the battery chosen by the computer inputs was the wrong size. I loaded the old and new batteries and went back to the auto parts store to get the correct one.

The moral of this story is simple: A computer is a great tool but it’s no replacement for experience! I use my computer daily to run financial modeling situations. Unfortunately, the output given is only as good as the information entered, and it cannot replace the experience learned from years of hands-on financial planning.

If you find yourself looking at your Do-It-Yourself portfolio or even a portfolio constructed elsewhere, and you feel it doesn't fit your current situation then give me a call! One of the services I offer is an investment check-up. This can be done with a single consultation, or I can help provide continual monitoring for your peace of mind. Whichever you choose, I’ll use my experience and your information to get an output to help you meet your financial goals.

John B. Bennett, CFP®


written: 5/14/2020