The Greatest Investing Advice Ever

|August 23, 2023
Birds on a branch

We’ve got a great gift for you this morning.

It’s a story that takes us back to a different time and a different way of living. And yet it has everything to do with our modern culture and the latest way of thinking.

Understand this concept… and you’ll know the trick to getting rich.

You see, we recently spent some time on the wide-open prairie. We tend not to flock to popular spots in our free time. We don’t like souvenir shops or tourist sites. They tend to tell a curated story that’s far from useful.

We’d rather see the world in the raw… with the shambles of the past whispering their stories in our ear.

That’s what happened when we took a walk through some rough country.

Building Wealth

Our stroll took us to an old stone house, miles from a paved road.

The structure would hardly be considered livable in today’s world. It had no pantry, no walk-in closets, no built-ins… not even en suite. It had four walls, a chimney down the middle and a trio of windows to let some light in.

To the man who’d journeyed from Virginia to build it, it wasn’t just a home. It was an investment in his future.

His brother’s place was half a mile down the valley – the only other structure for miles in a desolate corner of America that few folks will ever see, let alone understand.

The men had journeyed there in hopes of finding something new… something better.

There are many lessons hidden in those old sandstone walls. The grit of time is just one of them.

Those men walked into that valley with only what their horses could pull. Building their homes – even as simple as they were – didn’t take weeks or months. It took years.

With each stone they placed, the men knew it wasn’t their fortune they were building… but the fortune of a generation they’d likely never meet.

Immense Riches

This idea was as clear to us as the big Western sky when we were invited to sit down with a rancher – one of the top landowners in the state – near the site of those homes. It took five generations for him to get where he is. His great, great grandfather lived in a tent for five years while building his house on a homestead section just north of the building we explored.

Surely the old man closed his tired eyes at least once and envisioned what his toil would bring.

But even he likely had no idea what would come.

The old man’s brand can now be found on the rears of steers all around the globe. The most recent batch was flown to Eastern Europe at the request of one country’s president.

But that’s not the real story… the lesson that will make you rich.

All of us already know the immense value of time.

It’s one of our creator’s most befuddling inventions. The world’s most powerful force is something that wanes with each breath we take.

It took generations for the wealth that was packed into those hand-laid stone walls to be released.

It’s proof that what we build today – especially the good stuff – isn’t really for us.

But you know that.

What you may not know is that a popular old saying – one that you’ll still hear whispered on the prairie today – is not true.

Two for Tomorrow

Surely you’ve heard somebody say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

The idea has merit. But we say it’s the cause of much mediocrity.

Imagine if the brothers on the prairie had followed that advice. They’d never have risked it all to start something new. And their neighbor 10 miles across the prairie would not have lived in a tent for five years while moving each stone into just the right place.

The great generational wealth that was to come would never have existed if they’d decided that what they had at the time was good enough… and that going for more would be too risky.

Are you thinking the same way?

We sure hope not.

This idea has strong ties to modern finance. The most successful investors on Wall Street know that two is almost always better than one.

What matters is the price we pay.

Doing the Math

Warren Buffett has commented on this. He says the old trope is not quite complete.

“How sure are you there are two in the bush?” he once asked a group of business school students. “And how long do you have to wait to get them out?”

That’s all there is to investing, Buffett says.

How many birds are in the bush… when are you going to be able to get them out… and how sure are you?

Understand how to answer those questions accurately… and you’ll be on your way to outpacing 9 out of 10 investors.

We’ll go over how to do that in our next essay.

Until then, look at what you’re doing.

Are you building a weak homestead that won’t make it through the next storm… or are you patiently constructing a foundation that the generations that follow will build upon?

Only one leads to true wealth.

And it’s well worth the price.

Andy Snyder
Andy Snyder

Andy Snyder is an American author, investor and serial entrepreneur. He cut his teeth at an esteemed financial firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Andy and his ideas have been featured on Fox News, on countless radio stations, and in numerous print and online outlets. He’s been a keynote speaker and panelist at events all over the world, from four-star ballrooms to Capitol hearing rooms.