Walter L. Woodrick
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It’s not the snake you see that bites you

My wife and I are getting closer to breaking ground on our lot at 1203 Constitution Drive. We are thankful to the Lord for the opportunity to have a home on the water facing the breathtaking sunsets over St. Joe Bay. We are excited about living so close to town, having interesting neighbors, and having all you faithful readers come experience sunsets from our home.

We have been living on the Cape, but we are moving to a rental in town so that we don’t have to drive so far. I toured the rental today and as I casually strolled off of the patio into the backyard, I noticed a snake stretched out in the morning shade. The color and markings led me to believe it was a rattlesnake. My eyes are getting bad, so I put my glasses on to check the eye shape. I noticed a tiny rattle on its tail. It was a pygmy rattler. I took a wide berth around it and continued my tour.

My daughter has a 10-pound Shih Tzu named “Maverick.” Without telling her I saw this snake, and trusting that you won’t tell her either, because if she knew she would probably not go outside ever again, I will give her clear warning to check for snakes when she is out with Maverick. A wise outdoorsman once told me, “It’s not the snake you see that bites you.” He also told me that snakes often can be found in pairs, and I have found that to be true. I did not see this snake’s companion, and I hope I never do.

The same theory, in a way, applies to your financial well-being. At times people get very focused on what they think is the main issue or danger, and they end up getting bitten by one they didn’t see. Here are some examples:

  • In trying to avoid higher income taxes, an investor decides not to sell a stock – and the stock goes down in value more than the taxes would have been on the gain.
  • In trying to work out minor details in an estate plan, a retired person dies without a will or trust.
  • In trying to avoid stock market volatility and the risk of a decline, a person puts all of his or her money in bank accounts that do not keep pace with inflation which could guarantee an UNsuccessful retirement plan.

I left that snake alone. But, your financial well-being is too important to not look for all of the snakes hiding in the bushes of your financial life. A wise person seeks and listens to good counsel. Several sets of eyes can increase the chances that dangers are revealed, addressed, and alleviated. Watch your step out there!

Gulf County resident Walter L. Woodrick is a certified financial planner practitioner, and author of two books. His website is You can text Walter at (850) 724-1369. Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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