Catching fish in Alaska can be a bit unpredictable, much like the world is today. Despite all odds, persistence is key.
If you know anything about me or my family, you know we love to fish. Thus, during the summer of 2021 my boys and I, along with my mom and good family friend, traveled to Alaska visiting Anchorage, Seward, Homer, Talkeetna, a glacier on Denali, and Fairbanks. During our almost 2-week stay we put nearly 1,500 miles on our rental truck and braved the many volatile conditions The Last Frontier had to offer.
Of course, while in Alaska, we knew we wanted to make an effort to wet a line and try our hand at landing some local wildlife. None of us had ever caught Halibut, so we packed our bags and hit the road for Homer, the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.” We were looking forward to an exciting adventure.
The day finally came, and the excitement was intense but quickly turned melancholy. As we approached the docks, it became evident that we were in for a rough voyage. The weather was cloudy and raining, but mostly the seas were rough … how very Alaska. We could have opted for the easy way out by forfeiting our deposit and retreating to the warm, drier confines of our rental cabin for the day. Afterall, it was a 2-hour trip to the fishing grounds by boat and an 11-hour day in totality. We recognized that our rain gear would only provide so much protection from the elements, nonetheless, we stayed the course, pushed off the dock and headed out into Kachemak Bay towards the Pacific, awaiting our fate and our bounty.
An hour into the trip I started to hear the rumblings.... “Dad, it’s cold!”, “When do we get to fish?”, “Will it ever stop raining?”, and most infamous of them all, “Are we there yet?”.
For my kids, fishing is all about the thrill of actually catching fish. So, you can imagine their state of mind given the conditions at this point... and we still had 10 hours to go. They were focused on an immediate rate of return and there was none to be had...not just yet.
We pressed on without too much protest and finally arrived at the fishing grounds. It was great to finally make it to our destination, but also a dose of reality hit as we went out directly into the elements of chilly rain, swells, and wind gusts to put our lines into the water... it was a VERY volatile situation. Amazingly it wasn’t long before we hooked our first fish, a keeper Halibut! And then another, and another... once the fish started finding their way to the cooler, the rain, wind, cold, and swells seemed to dissipate although continuously present.
We began catching Salmon, Rock Fish, even an Octopus…not even phased that our raincoats were entirely ineffective, and we were sopping wet. Amidst the volatility of the conditions, we were having success. Then after seven hours of fishing in an extreme environment, it was time to head back to Homer. As I take a glance at our cooler full of an assortment of local wildlife, I am thrilled. But one thing remained on the back of my mind…facing the two-hour boat ride home in the rain…the volatility never subsided.
Like my kids, I enjoy hooking into a large, finned foe every now and again. However, I have also come to appreciate the life lessons that can be derived from the journey of trying to catch a fish, which you might compare to the larger journey of building wealth. Like markets, fishing is a volatile thing. There are ups and there are downs. You will get wet, you will get cold, you will get hot and sometimes muddy. You’ll want to quit when your line gets tangled with the person next to you. Heck, even if you are successful in the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World,” you come out smelling like a fish.
As I write this blog the world finds itself again amidst uncertainty and volatility. The pandemic seems to be lessening but fears of inflation and Russian hostilities in Ukraine are now headlines. Volatility never seems to subside. Like fishing, nevertheless, if you stick to your plan, keep your line in the water and brave the volatile conditions, often you may reach your goals.
When we got back to Homer and divided up the fish we caught, our portion was over 120 pounds of Halibut, Rockfish and Salmon. My family was pumped, and the boys were excited with a sense of accomplishment. When I reminded them that they were on the boat for 11 hours they could not believe it. They voyage once filled with challenges and uncomfortable conditions was now worth it in their eyes.
It had been a long trip that required persistence and patience, just like our accumulation phase in managing cash flow and investing, but it did go by faster than anticipated. We shipped the fish home and today, much like persistent savers, we are getting to enjoy the next phase of the journey, the distribution phase. We eat fish every week and although it tastes incredible, every bite reminds me of the journey it took to get it. Although I know we all enjoyed catching the fish and getting that satisfaction, I cannot help but feel the journey and the lesson of weathering, even embracing volatility, will carry more weight throughout time.
Keep on grinding, the rewards can be worth it!
William Edward Inman, Jr. is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Ashford Advisors, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Ashford Advisors, Inc. is not registered in any state or with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a Registered Investment Advisor. CA Insurance License Number - 0H26101, AR Insurance License Number – 7949786 #2022-134307 Exp. 02/24