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Lessons Learned From Primates…

October 25, 2010 · 56 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

This post might strike you as a little odd, but Sandy at First Gen American challenged some bloggers to tie monkeys/primates to personal finance.  Since I am willing to write about just anything, I thought ‘why not’?

So, this post is going to provide some life lessons that we humans could learn from our primate friends.   Enjoy!

Lesson 1: You don’t need expensive toys to enjoy life!  We were at the National Zoo in Washington DC a couple years ago, visiting the Orangutan exhibit.  I love orangutans as they always seem so active and playful.  Well, this group of orangutans were having a great time playing with…a sheet.  There were several sheets in the exhibit, and these orangutans were hiding and appeared to be playing a peek-a-boo type game.  Some of these sheets were full of holes, but the orangutans didn’t care.  They were acting like a bunch of little kids, and it was so fun to watch.   If only humans could realize that the very basics in life can provide happiness.  You don’t need to spend money to enjoy life.   You can get a book from the library, walk with a friend, cook a meal with your spouse.  It is those simple things that quite often are what you remember and enjoy.

Lesson 2: Just Let Go and Enjoy Life.  OK, so this one isn’t necessarily financial.  Anyway, just take a look at Curious George.  Our little monkey friend always had a smile on his face, and he just lived!  Of course, he was usually causing mischief, and I am not suggesting you just run around and be a trouble maker.    However, if you see something that looks fun, is free, and is legal, just do it.  For example, a couple years ago, I was driving with my son and we past this beautiful lawn in front of a building.  I pulled over the car, got out the frisbee, and we had the best time playing  on this plush lawn.  We had a great hour together that was unplanned, and whenever my son sees a giant lawn, he brings up that game of frisbee.

So, learn to live a little, and go for  a walk in the rain if you want to.  Don’t worry about your hair- just enjoy the moment.

Lesson 3: You Don’t Have to Always Pay Experts To Get Great Advice.   Mr. Adam Monk is a very famous stock picker for the Chicago Sun-Times.  He has beaten Jim Cramer’s picks 2 years out of 3 and his stock portfolio has outperformed the major indexes many years.  He is a guru.  What makes Mr. Monk unique?  He is a monkey.

Obviously, I am not advocating you dump your financial adviser and run to the local zoo for financial advice.  However, it does show that paying high fees does not necessarily guarantee a high return.  Nobody can guarantee positive financial gains, and be careful before you commit to investments when the salesperson may receive financial gain from your investment.

As a side note, wouldn’t it be great if Mr. Monk had his own show similar to Jim Cramer’s Mad Money?  He could have his own sirens, giant buttons, and other props?  He could give a thumbs up or thumbs down on certain stocks.  It would be so fun!

Do you have any great monkey stories?  Have you ever learn a lesson from a monkey?  🙂

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American October 25, 2010 at 8:51 am

I linked back to my monkey post http://wp.me/p101OG-nd on my gorilla 401K plan article. Thanks for participating and I love the examples. We were at a zoo and saw a gorilla playing with what looked like someone’s old sweater.


Kris October 25, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for linking Sandy! I really enjoyed writing the post, so thanks for organizing this!


The Biz of Life October 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

I could use some help from Mr. Monk in picking stocks…

Often I find myself bogged down with the pressures of trying to get ahead, and to save enough for retirement that I often forget to enjoy the moment with the wife and kids, and friends.


Kris October 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Biz – I agree, I need the advice of Mr. Monk myself.

It is true that it can be easy to just focus on some large goal, and forget to have fun along the way. I have to just remind myself to remember it is all about the journey and not just the destination, but I struggle too.


Money Reasons October 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Orangutans are great! I been to the Zoo and seen them doing that activity. It is kind of unnerving thought, when one or two will look directly at you with a type of intelligence you could just feel.

At least the Zoos make their habitats very interesting and large these days 🙂

Great article with points that ring true (as usual) 🙂


Kris October 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm

MR – Zoos are so much better than they used to be. I remember our zoo used to have a ‘monkey show’ where monkeys would be zipping around on tricycles and such. I am sure the poor little guys were exploited though. I loved the show as a young one though.

It is good that many zoos to try to make the habitats as ‘natural’ as possible instead of cramming the animals into a little cage.


Money Reasons October 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Yeah, I’m glad they made that change.

Of course some of the animal hid so well, it’s hard to see them, but at least they have a better life!


Invest It Wisely October 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Haha, I love the stock-picking monkey…


Kris October 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm

I love Mr. Monk too. I wish he could move in here. He would love our playset I bet…


Roshawn @ Watson Inc October 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm


I think that we must advocate for Mr. Monk to get that show! It would clearly be a winner 🙂


Kris October 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Shawn – Why hasn’t someone given Mr. Monk his own show? Maybe I should dump the blog and focus on that instead…


Suba @ Wealth Informatics October 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I love monkeys. I have a lot of monkeys (toys) 😉 But never thought about them in a personal finance perspective, even though I have quoted the “blindfolded monkeys picking stocks..” from the Random walk down the wall street book several times. I would like a personal Mr. Monk though 🙂


Kris October 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Suba, I think Mr. Monk should have been at the financial planning seminar you just attended. He is the best!


First Gen American October 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm

I learned lesson 3 the hard way. I wish the inept financial adviser I hired for probably the worst 8 months in stock market history. I mean he was buying bank stocks as they were going down the drain. Wow..I still regret that. Bad Bad decision.

Lessons 1 and 2 are so true. There are so many free things that we just don’t do because lack of time and/or brainpower seems to get in the way. There are so many places to explore if you just turn off the marketing machine and open a guidebook and see what’s in your area.


Kris October 25, 2010 at 10:27 pm

FGA – it is so hard when you are trusting someone because they are educated and you expect them to know more than you do. Losing some of your hard-earned money can be crushing. I am sorry you had that experience…


Khaleef @ KNS Financial October 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm

This was great! I love all three of these lessons – especially the picture of you playing frisbee with your son.


Kris October 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Khaleef, you should have come to my house today after school! There was a lot of frisbee going on in my backyard (this time with my other son. Youngest son is injured…). I have to take advantage of this great weather before the ‘midwest cyclone’ comes through on Tuesday.


Crystal @ BFS October 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I had never heard of Mr. Monk, but since my husband is a huge fan of Cramer, I am so totally forwarding him this! 😉


101 Centavos October 30, 2010 at 1:22 am

Great thoughts on simpler living. See chimps grooming each other, and it reminds me of the importance of spending time with friends and family, not necessarily doing anything special, just hanging out and picking metaphorical bugs out of each other’s hair. 🙂


Brule December 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Those monks might as well be in the Garden of Eden. No predators, monkeymanna from heaven and other, albeit uglier, monkeys taking care of them. I might not need much, either.


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