11/23/12 – The Parable of the Turkey

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on Nov 23, 2012 6:13:10 AM

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Once upon a time, a turkey hatched in the dead of winter. He lived in a nice warm coop, had plentiful corn and seeds to eat, and spent much of his poult-hood playing with all of the other little turkeys. When spring came, he and his friends ventured out into the yard and played some more; they continued to have corn and seeds to eat and shelter from the rain. The summer brought more of the same, along with nice people who regularly cleaned the coop, refilled corn and seed stores after the turkeys gobbled it all up, and chased away scary critters like foxes and cats when they got too near.

“How lucky are we,” said the turkeys to one another. “Surely we have the best of all possible lives. We are fed and taken care of, and all we have to worry about is having fun.”

Summer faded and fall arrived, but still the turkeys lived the good life. When the weather got colder, the farmer turned on the heat in the coop, so the turkeys always had somewhere warm to return after playing in the yard. Of course, since it was cold, they went outside less and less, and they slowly got fatter and fatter. Still, they said to one another, “How lucky we are,” and agreed that they would take it easy during the winter months so they could play hard again in the spring.

And then came Thanksgiving.

The moral? Don’t be a turkey.

I could expand upon this quite a bit, but I’ll just note here that a large part of my job—and that of my colleagues—is to ensure that none of us is a turkey. Past performance is no guarantee, as you’ve heard a million times, but this parable is probably the best illustration of the potential difference.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

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