Measure Twice, Cut Once

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Measure Twice, Cut Once

My uncle, a carpenter and a farmer, used to say to me, “Timmy, measure twice, cut once”.  I didn’t hear that saying much when I went to university or started my trading career on Bay Street in Toronto nor during my time at Shell.

But when I left to start my own business, I heard it a lot. In my head.

The common wisdom is one should always double check measurements before cutting materials to minimize the chance of mistakes thus wasting materials, time and money.

It comes up all the time. Someone sends you a presentation or research paper, and you realize the numbers are wrong. Perhaps a silly error, but none-the-less, a distraction and time waster. 

I say it to my kids when they rush through some task and we realize it has to be redone. They get frustrated as I get them to start again and do it right. “Measure twice, cut once” I say. They grumble.

But what it means to me is more than when cutting lumber, a random project, or even supplying numbers to a work task.  Its far more encompassing as a philosophy. It means taking the time to plan something out ahead of time, carefully considering the variables and importantly anticipating the possible negative consequences.

In investing, you can always make adjustments, change the portfolio. But consider this, a big error that causes a significant loss in value may take years to make up.  This may come from trying to get that last bit of return from a stock or the market overall, being greedy, only to see an investment or portfolio correct heavily as you feared it may.

So look at the facts. Do your research. Look at your results over the last decade. What does it tell you?  Do you now have the portfolio that gets you through an adverse period? What if…?

Measuring twice means making sure you have considered the things that could go wrong before you make a decision or… before you do nothing – as a decision to do nothing is still a decision.

For more about the Auspice philosophy and the potential portfolio benefits, please give us a call.



Futures trading is speculative and is not suitable for all customers. Past results is not necessarily indicative of future results. This document is for information purposes only and should not be construed as an offer, recommendation or solicitation to conclude a transaction and should not be treated as giving investment advice. Auspice Capital Advisors Ltd. makes no representation or warranty relating to any information herein, which is derived from independent sources. No securities regulatory authority has expressed an opinion about the securities offered herein and it is an offence to claim otherwise.


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