We all know Aesop’s fable “The Hare and the Tortoise.” In the tale, the tortoise, weary of the hare’s constant bragging, challenges the hare to a race. The arrogant hare readily accepts.
As soon as they hear the crack of the starter’s pistol the hare is off like a shot and, in no time, is far ahead of the tortoise who plods on at the same steady pace. Finally, the hare is so far ahead of the tortoise that he decides to stop for a nap.
Upon waking, the hapless hare realizes that the relentless tortoise is about to cross the finish line. He races toward the tortoise with everything he’s got, but it’s not enough and the tortoise breaks the tape, easily winning the race.
From its first telling by Aesop somewhere around 600 BC, this little tale has lived on in various iterations – from Caesar Augustus to Ecclesiastes to Shakespeare and even Bullwinkle’s Fractured Fairytales – for nearly 3,000 years. And it’s done so because its moral continues to ring true.
Slow and steady wins the race.
And it’s the same with investing. Getting rich quick is so tempting. So, you come out of the gate like a cat with its tail on fire and you take a lot of risks. And it works. Until the markets catch you napping. Then all of a sudden you wake up and find out that you’ve got to cover twice the distance in half the time. And that is a very hard thing to do.
That’s why investor impatience is in conflict with Cadinha’s style. Rolling the dice and hoping for the big fortune that rarely comes is a hard way to go. Our approach: managing risk combined with thoughtful investing over the years builds real wealth you can count on down what is most certainly a long and winding road.
The Roman Emperor Augustus, who built Rome’s first standing army, thought there was nothing worse in a leader than haste and rashness. Accordingly, his favorite adage was festina lente or “make haste slowly.” Another was, “Better a safe commander than a bold one.” We can get behind both of those thoughts and add this: There are bold investors. There are old investors. But there are very few old, bold investors.
“I’ve never seen stocks go up as fast as they go down,” says Harlan Cadinha. “When it turns bad, it disappears quickly. And you think about the amount of dollars and the time it took to earn those dollars, it’s gone in a breath. And it’s twice as hard to get back.”
So, when you’re considering an investment strategy, talk to the tortoise and he’ll tell you, “Festina lente, baby, festina lente.”