Lessons from Lawn Care

Three or four years ago, I gave up cutting the grass, which I wasn’t too happy about because I really liked seeing a physical change to my yard after a few hours of work.

I love my job, but at the end of a year, the numbers on a screen may have changed, but they are still numbers on a screen.  It’s simply not as inherently satisfying.

In any case, we had a Memorial Day party yesterday in our front yard and the grass was long, so I cut it on Sunday.

As I was mowing, I was looking at the trees that we planted five years ago.  When we moved in, there was nothing but honeysuckle.  Over time, we took that out and put in a lot of trees and bushes.

Even though I see my yard literally every day, I haven’t inspected it carefully for years like I did on Sunday.  I was surprised by how much the trees had grown in a relatively short time.

For me, this was a reminder about how markets work.  I check my account balance every day, which is way too much.  It’s my job to know what’s going on with our portfolio, so I have to look every day, but cutting the grass and looking at the trees reminded me that portfolios take time.

It’s a simple lesson really, but it’s easy to forget in the everyday shuffle.  It was nice to be outside and get a little perspective.  (This reminds me, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the movie Being There starring Peter Sellers to see just how much we can learn from yard work)

That said, there’s approximately zero chance that I’ll give up portfolio management for lawn care – I was pretty sweaty and it isn’t even June.