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Lessons in K.I.S.S


I’ve probably mentioned before we moved a couple of summers ago. Our “new” house has enough room where I could plant a garden.  Last summer was the first time in forever I was planning a garden from scratch.  There were lots of things to consider, but there was one decision that would make the difference between a successful garden or just of bunch of dirt.

Some of the factors I had to consider included location, whether to raise the beds, what to plant and more.  However, none of these decisions were the most important one.  The most important one was how to handle the deer that wander through our yard on a daily basis.  

As I mentioned, it has been years since I had a real garden and dealing with deer was never an issue until now.  I looked around to see what my neighbors do.  Their protections included fencing from 2-6 feet in height.  Heck, a couple of them even put some lightweight fencing material over the tops of their garden (protection from birds, maybe?).  I also looked around online quite a bit and most solutions were a bit over the top.  There was no way I was building an 8-foot tall solid fence made with reclaimed lumber with multiple gates around my garden.  Talk about overkill.  However, I found a simple solution that my wife laughed at me for trying.

I found a video of someone who put fishing line around his garden.  That was it.  Fishing line.  A post at every corner and then clear fishing line in the 30-pound test range wrapped around the garden.  The spacing between the fishing line was anywhere from 12 to 18 inches.  The thought was deer would not see the line, but would feel it as they approached the garden.  Because they didn’t know what was there they wouldn’t try and get into the garden.

It seemed too simple to work, however, we never saw a single deer or proof of a deer in the garden all season.  We finally saw some in the winter, but that was after I broke a few sections of line when cleaning out the garden at the end of the season.  

This fencing solution reminded me of how often the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach works in so much of life, especially when it comes to investing.  I’ve hammered away on some of these points before, but figured I would share some similar points from Morgan Housel, who is one of the best investment writers out there.

  • Spend less money than you make
  • Save the difference
  • Buy a diverse, low-cost portfolio
  • Be patient

It can be tough to keep it simple when the “experts” of the financial services industry are telling you to use investing rules that include things such as “Assessment of confidence limits of selected values of complex-valued models.”  I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I’m not even sure what that means.  However, I imagine if these “experts” were my neighbors they would probably tell me I need the world’s most complex fencing system to keep deer out of my garden.   Life can be complicated enough.  I think I will Keep It Simple when it comes to both my garden and my investing, because I know it works.