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The Zen Master, The Little Boy and your Investment Plan

by | Jul 7, 2017 | AHEAD OF THE CURVE |


The above clip is a short extract from Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

In the scene, they are both attending a party to celebrate a major victory in the covert war the US fought with the Russians by supporting the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

There is plenty of back slapping going on at the party and Tom Hanks is particularly chuffed with his victory, that is until Philip Seymour Hoffman pulls him away from all the noise of the party and tells him the story of the Zen Master and the Little Boy.

I have to say I love this movie and this is probably my favourite scene as it has much to do with our investment philosophy in Metis Ireland.

Firstly, we hear a lot of hype from all the different fund managers across the county especially when their funds are performing well or they made a big “call” and got it right. This is basically the same as the party that is going on in the above clip.

It’s easy to go around celebrating your victories, but as in the movie, short term victories have very little to do with the overall outcome, what really makes the difference is having a long-term plan and sticking to it. (You might have guessed that in the movie they didn’t have a long-term plan and things started to deteriorate pretty fast after this scene.)

At Metis Ireland, we believe that past results are not a reliable indicator of future performance.

The second reason why this scene is so aligned with our investment philosophy is that we believe that no one (or no one investment manager) can predict the future or how markets will re-act to future events. Just like the scene above, no one could have predicted what was going to happen to the little boy in the future and even if they could, they could not have predicted how those events would have affected his life.

So, they next time you are talking to a financial advisor and they are trying to get you to invest in the next big thing and not trying to build a long term financial plan for you and your family, what should you say?…….We’ll see.


Cian Callaghan CFP® RPA QFA
Head of Operations and Financial Planning


Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

All content provided in these blog posts is intended for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as financial advice. You should always engage the services of a fully qualified independent financial adviser before entering any financial contract. Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland will not be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of reading these blog posts