Practical Life Lessons From My Dog

I’m sure that from time to time we have all fallen victim to the lure of wealth and riches. After all, we are all devoted to investing and developing wealth through the ownership of stocks and other assets.

However, once in a while there are times when we find ourselves so caught up in the market and the performance of our portfolio, that we feel completely stressed. I suppose that some would say this is simply the “nature of the beast”. If you want to have a fantastic life and become wealthy, then you have to pay the price.

What Exactly Is that Price?

  • Must we pay with sleepless nights worrying about which way the market futures are pointed?
  • Should we be spending hours examining the relationship between the price of oil and various world currencies?
  • Is it healthy to spend our weekends devouring every newspaper article, blog post, podcast, iTune, Powerpoint presentation, instructional video, stock chart and Egyptian Pyramid Hieroglyphic to squeeze an extra percentage point out of our portfolio?

My answers to these questions came from my dog!

Yes, an 11 pound Shit-Zu/Poodle named Ralphie provided me the answer these most intriguing questions without even saying a word.

As I was pondering these thoughts, I noticed that Ralphie had picked up one of his toys and wanted to play fetch. Interestingly enough, this toy was the first one that I bought for him (3 years ago). For some reason he always likes to play with the that toy.

Anyway, I played with him for a little while and then he decided that he had played enough to earn a treat. I agreed, so I went and got him a crusty milk bone from the bulk bag that I purchased so long ago that I can’t even remember. After I made him lay down, roll over, play dead and dance I finally gave him the treat. And, per usual, he was just as happy with that treat as the first one that I gave him from that 20lb bag months ago.

After devouring his milk bone, Ralphie decided it was time to curl up and sit down next to me on the couch. He was content to just fall asleep there as he has countless other times over the past few years. Ralphie was happy.

What Does This Have To Do With Personal Finance?

Ahhh…I’m glad you asked. I was just getting to that!

You see, our society puts so much stock in tangible goods and keeping up with the Jonses that we often forget how to be happy. It’s true; as our lives move along we become more and more stressed and worried about how we are going to become rich and famous so that we can buy all this “stuff” and we seriously forget how to be happy.

Why can’t we be like Ralphie and be ecstatic about playing fetch with our first toy(driving that old car you have) or eating that favorite meal that you’ve cooked a thousand times instead of going out for dinner (You know you like it or you wouldn’t make it) or falling asleep on that old couch like you did back in college?

Why can’t all of those things be good enough? My dog is happy 24-7 and he sleeps like a log! He is content with his life, he has the necessities and he enjoys the simple things.

Yes, it is nice to have goals and dreams of wealth and riches but is it worth the cost of enjoying the things that you already have?

This article is about taking time to stop and smell the roses, but more importantly to learn to recognize the roses that are already in your garden!

I encourage you to all take some time to be more like Ralphie (No, I won’t scratch your belly). Schedule some ‘time out’ this weekend to enjoy the fruits of your labor and take a break from the quest for more stuff!


  1. Good read (and reminder)! I’m going to take it to heart and head home.

    Best Wishes,

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  6. Great idea! I am liquidating my portfolio and rolling the whole thing over to an index fund. Why waste time researching stocks, when I can put my investments on autopilot and spend more time playing with my dog?

    Life (especially the dog’s!) is too short, and my time is better invested in playing and snuggling with her!

  7. Shela,
    I think that you may have taken the article a little to literally.
    It is important to invest in what you feel comfortable investing in, but the point is that sometimes we get too wrapped up in, and stressed about, making money that we forget all of the things that make us happy.
    Please take some time to go over your portfolio and make informed and educated decisions.
    Thanks for reading!

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