Financial Animals: 8 Pets Who Can Teach Us Money Lessons


What Frogs Can Teach Us: Know When to Jump

There's a right time and a wrong time for almost everything. Jump too soon or jump too late and you might miss the opportunity or pay a higher price.

With stocks, everyone knows that you're supposed to buy low and sell high, and if you've ever bought or sold a home, you also know how important timing can be. But you can also save on more everyday purchases by buying at just the right time.

You probably know that clothes go on sale at the end of each season, but did you know that appliances and home furnishings and floors are heavily discounted in January? It's also a good time to buy a camera, around the time new models come out. But with vacuum cleaners, new models come out in June, so look for deals in the spring. April is a wise time to look for Japanese-made electronics, which go on sale at the end of the Japanese fiscal year in March. Who knew?

What Snakes Can Teach Us: Sometimes You Have to Shed Your Old Skin

Snakes know how to start over: On a regular basis, they shed their entire skin. They also know that the process isn't easy — it's itchy and uncomfortable, and they're less active when they’re shedding. But it's worth it to emerge sleek and ready to move on.

You can start over, too, even when it may seem like it's too late or you're in too deep. If you're in debt, you can make a plan to get out of it. If your job is dragging you down, you can change careers at any age — people do it successfully in their 40s and beyond. And if you really need a clean slate, sometimes declaring bankruptcy is the right thing to do. None of it's easy, but it's worth it to get a fresh start.

And, finally, one critter with the most welcome advice of all ...

What Cats Can Teach Us: Go Ahead — Do Nothing

Cats sleep an average of 12 to 16 hours a day. It's a predator thing. They don't need to graze all day. Plus, it's a lot of work to chase down prey, so when they're not looking for something to eat, they're saving energy for the hunt ... even if their next meal is coming out of a can.

No, we're not suggesting that you sleep away the day — but there are financial situations in which doing nothing is best. For example, you should take the long view when investing most of the time, and ride out the ups and downs of the market by doing nothing with your stocks.

And here's something else felines know: You don't need to spend a lot of money to have fun. If you've ever bought your cat a toy only to watch her ignore it and play with an empty bag, that's an important lesson too.

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