The crash came around 10:30 Saturday night.
Not a metaphorical market crash, but the real, actual, literal crash of a tree during a thunderstorm.
We were lucky. When the storm finally passed on Sunday morning and I had a chance to assess the situation, aside from a broken deck railing and a dented gutter, we seem to have avoided any major damage.
The yard, however, was a mess. There was debris everywhere: broken limbs, hundreds of sticks, and more than 40-feet of poplar trunk.
We live in the woods – as you may have guessed – so I own a chainsaw, despite the belief in my house that eventually, a self-inflicted incident it will cost me a finger or two. In the past, I’ve used it to trim branches and take down smaller scrub tress. It was ideally suited for that job.
However, my 14” chainsaw is no match for the trunk of a decades-old tree, especially where it snapped near the base.
Basically, I don’t have the right tool for the job and have a couple of options: 1) use the wrong tool and try to make it work the best I can or 2) pay for the right tool, either by renting it or hiring someone who knows what they’re doing – an expert in the field.
My choice is pretty simple: do what I can with the tool I have at my disposal, but when the job gets too big, it’s time to bring on an expert who, while not my cheapest option, I trust to do the job the right way.
There are – of course – parallels to the investing world. There are many “jobs” that most people, given the right tools, can do themselves – early investments into a 401(k), for example.
As the task gets bigger and more complex, though, hiring an expert can make a lot of sense. Paying for experience and knowledge not only can save an investor time and stress, it can help avoid self-inflicted injuries to a portfolio as well.
And much like a financial windfall, an actual windfall has beneficiaries as well.