As children, we have all heard the story of the race between the tortoise and the hare. However, there’s another race these two had that hasn’t been bound into a children’s story. Yes, there is a race, but the finish line in this story is quite different – it’s retirement.
As in the original story, the hare is faster and flashier than the tortoise. He wants to get to the finish line faster, so he invests his retirement money in the stock market with a portfolio heavy with stocks and stock mutual funds. He is young, so he doesn’t mind the risk.
The tortoise plods along, as in the original story and he makes a slow but steady path to the finish line. He is not looking to get to the finish line in a hurry – he just wants to make sure that he gets there. He is not concerned with the “sex appeal” of his investments – he looks for safe and secure places to grow his retirement savings. Amongst his various investments, he also invests in a whole life policy with a mutual insurance company.
In 1998, the hare, flush with paper profits from his investments (mostly high-tech companies) takes some time off and buys new cars and houses and jewelry (all on credit, as his profits are still only on paper). He can get use to this lifestyle and is contemplating retirement. The tortoise purchases a new pair of running shoes at the discount shoe warehouse – he pays cash.
Back in the race again in 2000 (minus the houses and cars, but not the huge debt), the hare starts to catch up with the tortoise again and is well in the lead in early 2008, rapidly approaching the finish line.
If you have read any newspaper recently, you know what has happened to the hare, so I don’t have to get into the gory details. The tortoise, I am happy to report, has borrowed some money from his whole life insurance policy and last we heard, was lying on a hammock, sipping on an umbrella drink in an undisclosed tropical island.
You know the moral of the story – it’s the same as the original.