My Canoe Trip

Bill Parrott |

I recently took an overnight canoe trip with some mighty men from my church - a diverse group of weekend warriors brought together for adventure and fellowship.  

We paddled down the Colorado River. The river was running faster than normal due to the rain we received in Austin, so it produced some exciting moments. One team tried to row under some low hanging branches. It didn’t go well, and they were both thrown from their canoe. One individual floated down the river for about a mile or two before we reached our lunch spot and he could rejoin his canoe and partner.

Our team leader was extremely organized, so it made our trip even more enjoyable. His spreadsheets included detailed lists for packing, eating, and driving. His planning was key to our success. At the drop-in spot we loaded our canoes to the gunnels with firewood, tents, fly rods, footballs, frisbees, and steaks. Once on the water, we paddled to our little island.

My partner and I arrived at the island first. We pulled into a little cove, beached our canoe, and explored the island. We decided to set up camp near our landing spot. We pitched our tents, found a spot for our camp fire, and helped the other paddlers get to shore.

A canoe trip can teach us much about investing. Here are a few lessons I learned while on the water.

  • To move forward, you need to put your oar in the water. To grow your wealth, you need to own stocks.  The stock market, like a river, can be turbulent at times, but if you stay the course your assets will grow over time. Buying and holding stocks for the long haul is a better strategy than trying to time the market by darting in and out of your holdings.
  • Planning is the key to a successful investment strategy. Our event succeeded because our team leader dedicated many hours to planning our trip before our boats touched the water. Likewise, a financial plan will help guide you to your financial destination. Your plan is a collection of your hopes, dreams and fears. It will be the cornerstone for your investment portfolio.
  • Team work is key. My canoe mate and I paddled in unison, working as one to arrive at the island. Had we paddled independently, we would’ve gone in circles and floated aimlessly down the river. Working with a team of advisors can keep you focused on your goals. Your team may include a CPA, attorney, banker, mortgage broker, insurance agent, or financial planner. These professionals offer specialized services to help you grow and protect your wealth.
  • Going with the flow is much easier than rowing against the current. When we landed at the head of the island we decided to stop and explore. If we had kept paddling to find a better spot, we would have missed the island completely and we would’ve had to paddle against the current to get back to our original spot – a tough thing to do. It pays to stop occasionally to review your investment portfolio and financial plan to make sure you’re still on track to reach your goals. It’s easier to review and correct your account periodically than it is to wait every few years to check your status. If your plan is still on track, stay the course. If not, make the appropriate adjustments.
  • The right tools make all the difference. We had a plethora of handy gadgets to make our stay more enjoyable, including the Inferno infrared steak cooker! The right tools can make your financial life easier as well. A trust, a will, a financial plan, and insurance policies are needed to fortify your foundation. In addition, investing in low-cost funds will put more money in your pocket.

As you map your financial journey, spend some time planning your route and work with advisors who can help guide you to your destination.  

So, point your bow down river and start paddling!


Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~ John 4:13-14

April 30, 2019

Bill Parrott, CFP®, CKA® is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ than those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation.