Financial Goals | How Many Turkeys are Enough

financial goals

By Eric Ellis | May 8, 2020 | Financial Goals


A man has rigged up a turkey trap with a trail of corn leading into a big box with a hinged door.

The man holds a long piece of twine, connected to the door, that he can use to pull the door shut once enough turkeys have wandered into the box. However, once he shuts the door, he can’t open it again without going back to the box, which would scare away any turkeys lurking on the outside.

You are investing for a reason. Your resources have a purpose.

One day, he had a dozen turkeys in his box. Then one walked out, leaving eleven. “I should have pulled the string when there were twelve inside,” he thought, “but maybe if I wait, he will walk back in.” While he was waiting for his twelfth turkey to return, two more turkeys walked out. “I should have been satisfied with the eleven,” he thought. “If just one of them walks back, I will pull the string.” While he was waiting, three more turkeys walked out. Eventually, he was left empty-handed.

His problem was that he couldn’t give up the idea that some of the original turkeys would return. This is the attitude of the typical investor who can’t bring himself or herself to make a decision. The moral is:

To reduce your stress, stop counting turkeys.

This is a snippet from Fred C. Kelly’s Why You Win or Lose. A great example of how investors procrastinate when it comes to making difficult decisions. There is a very simple solution to this challenge.


Clearly Defined Financial Goals

It sounds so simple yet can be so difficult.

Beating the market” or “making as much money as possible” are not clearly defined goals. The reason the man is in such a stressful situation is that he doesn’t know how many turkeys he needs. His goal is unclear. He lacks clarity. You are investing for a reason. Your resources have a purpose.

What exactly do you plan to accomplish with your resources? That’s not rhetorical. Specifically, what will you use your resources for? Start making your own homemade wine? Take a dream vacation to Ireland?  Build your dream home?  How many turkeys do you need? Once your financial goals are clear it gives you security, freedom, and goals

Security to know you can continue to live the life you want no matter what. Security to have reliable income that will be there for you even if you live to 100. Security that you will not be a burden to your family.

Freedom to retire on your terms. Freedom to do what you want when you want and how you want. Freedom from obligations that may have once demanded too much of you.

Confidence your family will be ok. Confidence your finances are in good order. Confidence that you can handle anything regardless of what life or the market throws at you.

Security gives you freedom. Freedom gives you confidence. Confidence gives you the peace of mind to enjoy life.

Clearly defining your financial goals is the first step to not having to worry about how many turkeys are in your trap today or any day. Freeing you up to enjoy life on your terms.


Eric Ellis

Financial Advisor

Ellis & Company Retirement Strategists




This was too cute not to share in an article about turkeys. This is my daughter, Allie, and I during a walk a few years ago. “Turkey… Turkey Call!”

The opinions expressed here are those of Eric Ellis and not necessarily Raymond James. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct. All investing involves risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. No investment strategy can guarantee your objectives will be met. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that are generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. It is unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
Ellis & Company Retirement Strategists, Kathy Ellis, CFP® professional CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, professional Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. financial goals
Raymond James, Ellis & Company Retirement Strategists, and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

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