The Independent Market Observer

Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Parable of the Turkey

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CFP®

Find me on:

This entry was posted on Nov 22, 2023 10:27:07 AM

and tagged Commentary

Leave a comment

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 the 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.

You've probably guessed the lesson for investors in the poor turkey's fate: When times are good, it's easy to get too comfortable, only to be caught off guard when things change. 

A large part of my job—and that of my colleagues here at Commonwealth—is to ensure that none of us is a turkey when it comes to our investments. As you've heard a million times, past performance is no guarantee of future results, and this parable highlights the truth of that maxim.

That said, we do have much to be thankful for and plenty of reasons to count our blessings this Thanksgiving. Best wishes to you and yours.

the parable of the turkey

This post was originally published in November 2012, but we're sharing it again in the spirit of the season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Subscribe via Email

New call-to-action
Crash-Test Investing

Hot Topics

New Call-to-action



see all



The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.

The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.

The MSCI EAFE (Europe, Australia, Far East) Index is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.

One basis point (bp) is equal to 1/100th of 1 percent, or 0.01 percent.

The VIX (CBOE Volatility Index) measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility across a wide range of S&P 500 options.

The forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio divides the current share price of the index by its estimated future earnings.

Third-party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided on these websites. Information on such sites, including third-party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.


Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®