Fribble The Financial Diet

September 22, 2000

Two cups of Kibbles and a half of a small can of Mighty Pup dog food. Day in and day out, that's what my faithful companion eats. Oh, and the occasional biscuit or pig ear.

Meanwhile, I'm one quarter the way through my current weight loss plan. After the initial weeks of big losses and the excitement and challenge of preparing new foods and packing meals (no more slam-dunk donut breakfasts and huge burger lunches), things have settled down considerably. The scale still inches down (barely) each week and I've decided which combinations of fruit and sugar-free gelatin I like the best. Despite what I might wish for, I know that a slow and steady weight loss will be the healthiest for me.

Sound familiar? It should. In a rushed, often frantic frenzy we research companies, stocks, mutual funds, portfolios, and brokerages. With great anticipation we plan our trades using complex spreadsheets, databases, and financial planning software. We herald our "buys" with fanfare and begin to anxiously track every move of our portfolios.

In the end, it's a lot like that diet -- if we stick with a sound plan long enough we will get solid results. Oh, we're often tempted to try to "enhance" our success: a couple of days on the grapefruit diet, a few shares of that hot IPO, the latest wonder pill, dabbling in a little day trading.

But the bottom line is that we're in this for life. If we want to be healthy we need to change our eating habits. And if we want to realize our financial goals, whatever they may be, we have to be disciplined in our finances, follow our plan, and let time, market growth, and the economy take their course. There are no magic pills, no shortcuts.

Excuse me while I dish out some more Kibbles, gelatin, and compound dividends.