I’m a terrible gambler. It must be a control (or lack thereof) thing. That’s why I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve played any form of casino game but the experience I want to share this week seems super relevant what’s been going on in markets these past weeks.
Many years ago, the company I worked for sponsored a trip to Las Vegas for all the managers and our families. This was my first visit to Vegas and my first exposure to casino gambling. Of course, me being me, I went right out and bought a book, “How to Win at Blackjack.”
I studied it religiously for weeks and forced my family to endure hour after hour of blackjack “practice” around our kitchen table. I knew when to hit, stay, double-down and split and I had a general idea about how to keep track of how many face cards had been played. When the day finally came for the big trip, I could hardly contain my excitement. I was ready!
That first night in Vegas, after the kids were tucked into their beds upstairs, I walked the casino floor feeling more than a little intimidated. Finally, I found a five-dollar minimum blackjack table (yeah, definitely no “high-rollers” here), laid a hundred-dollar bill on the table and began to play.
Maybe it was the brilliant lessons from the book or the hours of practice or more likely it was just pure Vegas style beginner’s luck, but for whatever reason I started winning – and winning and winning. My winning streak went on for hours and the chips just kept piling up in front of me. Somewhere around 2 AM I realized I had turned my $100 into over $1200. I was elated!
Suddenly a thought occurred to me. I reached up to the table, took two one-hundred-dollar chips and slipped them discretely into the little coin pocket in my jeans.
Somewhere around 4 AM my luck began to turn, and I called it quits and headed for the hotel room with almost $900 of chips in my pockets! I drifted off to sleep with a big smile as sweet dreams of my new career as a high-stakes gambler danced in my head.
I was antsy during our business meeting the next day and even antsier during the “formal” dinner afterward. I couldn’t wait to get back to those tables to rake some more easy money! Finally, by 10 PM, I was seated once again back at the same table I played the night before. Here we go, show me the money!
By mid-night, it was over. I was broke. Head hung low; I made my way back to my hotel room. Well, hey, at least I had a lot fun going broke!
The next morning as I packed my suitcase preparing to check out and head to the airport, I heard a soft thump as I folded up the jeans I’d been wearing two nights ago. Then I remembered.
I dropped down to my knees looking around where the sound had come from and sure enough, there they were. The 2 one-hundred-dollar chips I’d slipped into my coin pocket that first night. “Ha!” I shouted, a triumphant grin on my face as I raised the two chips between my fingers into the air. My wife just rolled her eyes.
At the cashier window a few minutes later, I took possession of two, crisp, one-hundred-dollar bills in exchange for the chips. I had to smile a bit as I put them in my pocket. After all the studying and learning. After the emotional roller-coaster ride of pure elation when winning and humiliation when losing, I was on top of the world.
You see, I didn’t really even think about the hundreds of dollars I lost the night before; after all it was just house money. Thanks to those two chips I had the instinct to set aside and protect, I doubled my money in Vegas!
Moral of the story: After this historic 11 year+ bull market, chances are you’re up quite a bit in your retirement and investment accounts (even with the recent extreme volatility). Is it time to reach out and take a couple of chips off the table for safe keeping?
You do know that’s totally possible, right? It’s even quite easy (and painless) to do. At the end of the day, it might just be the best move you’ve ever made!
The two files below landed in my inbox today. Quite compelling! Give me a call or send me a text at 360-281-6495 or an email to email@example.com. I’m always happy to discuss and review your options…
Asset management and investment Advisory Services offered through Guardian Pointe Private Wealth Management LLC., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor Firm. Headquartered at 1024 E. Grand River Ave Brighton, Michigan 48116 / Toll Free 844-944-1044. John Ensley is an Investment Advisor Representative of Guardian Pointe Private Wealth Management LLC. J-Ensley Financial LLC and Guardian Pointe Private Wealth Management LLC. are separate entities and are not affiliated.