Early bird square

First Doesn’t Always Mean Winning

03/27/2024 Written by: Kristine Simmons

According to the American Heritage Idioms Dictionary, William Camden was the first to record the saying, "The early bird gets the worm." He included it in his 1605 edition of English proverbs.1 Its straightforward meaning is that the person who arrives or acts first is more likely to get what he wants.

It's been a guiding principle for anyone seeking something that is scarce and is also being sought by others. So, whether you want treasures at an estate sale, an inexpensive TV on Black Friday, or Taylor Swift tickets, you better show up early.

But like any proverb, "The early bird gets the worm," has its limitations. Being the first to market with a product does not necessarily mean that you will own the segment. Apple's category-dominating iPod came several years after other companies had already introduced MP3 players. And in investing, many "ground floor" opportunities end up losing money. In fact, sometimes it pays not to be the early bird. Sometimes, the one who doesn't immediately take every opportunity at face value, is the one that benefits from the first's failure.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett notes that many investors, some of them big, are constantly trying to outsmart each other. Buffett adds that this "game" is focused almost entirely on immediate profit. This short-term focus can end up leaving much more opportunity for those who are in it for the long run.2

A wise investor whose goal is not to get rich quick, but rather to grow your wealth prudently, your time horizon is not limited to next week or even next quarter. You are going to want to pursue actions that have the best chance of resulting in success over the long-term. Utilizing the knowledge of our advisors and having a diverse strategy a can help you avoid the futile pursuit of trying to invest in the next big thing.

1. http://go.pardot.com/e/91522/he-early-bird-catches-the-worm/93tykv/2082969790?h=iW6FiHMVGyGiJo6O-7zzoOQC86rs6TU7ARP0R29zCtY

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