And other good advice from a classical tale.
Next time your clients come to you with stories about what their friends and the financial gurus on radio and television are saying about investing, you might want to have a great big ball of wax on hand so you can plug some of it into their ears.
Then you might want to lash yourself to the nearest mast so you can listen (and know what your clients are hearing), but not act on what you hear.
It worked for Odysseus in Greek mythology. It might just work for you and your clients.
True, Odysseus' adventures across the stormy seas can be dismissed simply as legends. But they also can have lessons for today's investors. Indeed, by treating Homer's Odyssey as a metaphor for your journey through the tumultuous seas of the markets, you might find guidance to help you and your clients steer the right course. You may even stop viewing Odysseus simply as the main character in a Greek myth, but as the world's first documented risk manager.
After all, although the trip was anything but smooth, he arrived safely at his appointed destination-which we cannot say about all our investments over the last few stormy years.
So, like Odysseus, take a firm grip on the wheel and guide your clients through the dangers that lie all around those who would find their way through the market turmoil. Here are some guideposts for the way.
Warning No.1: Avoid the temptation
to listen to the Sirens sweet singing.
The warning to Odysseus was clear. "First you will come to the Sirens who enchant all who come near them," Circe told him. Draw too close, she warned, and your wife and kids will never see you again.
Financial advisors will recognize the Sirens' enchanting voices as similar to those that, at the height of the bull market, lured investors to financial destruction. They, too, "warbled" investors to ruin "with the sweetness of their song." They too, promised to "tell you everything that is going to happen over the whole world." They were those who spoke of a New Economy, of a new age in which dotcoms would break all the investment rules with their never-ending gains, and of an eternal bull market.