How NY’s Brooklyn Bridge is an inspiration for investment behaviour

Brooklyn Bridge

When you think of the many prominent structures that dominate the skyline of the United States of America, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York (NY) City stands tall as the oldest bridge in the nation connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. However, most Americans do not recall the story behind the construction of the bridge that bears testimony to the vision and determination of a father son duo – John and Washington Roebling – who showed that nothing is impossible if one has focus and persistence.

The story of this spectacular bridge dates back to 1869 when a German engineer John Roebling came up with the idea of building a bridge between New York and the Long Island. Scoffing at the idea, his peers would not co-operate because it was simply not practical and would also be hazardous. Unable to convince his peers, John managed to convince his only son Washington Roebling who believed in his father’s vision to build a dream bridge despite the many challenges.

However, all did not go well and the first casualty struck in 1869 before construction had even begun. John A. Roebling was taking compass readings one afternoon when his foot was crushed between some pilings and a boat. His toes were amputated, and a few weeks later he died of tetanus. There was no choice but for his 32-year-old son Washington Roebling to take charge of the project.

Since the project involved a lot of underwater work without the modern day equipment, the workers started developing headaches, itchy skin, bloody noses and slow heartbeats. Some even developed severe conditions like joint pain, paralysis, convulsions, numbness, speech impediments, leading to death in a few cases. More than 100 workers developed such medical problems, including Washington Roebling himself who remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. He was forced to watch with a telescope from his house while his wife Emily took charge of the bridge’s construction.

While the engineering community nearly wrote him off as the crazy son of a crazy father, Roebling firmly believed that his story was far from over. His dream ultimately became a reality and the bridge was finally completed in 1883 taking over 13 years to get ready. Today, after 133 years, this iconic bridge stands as a testimony of sheer determination, persistence and focus of the Roeblings.

This story has a close connection to the way we should invest via equity mutual funds and create wealth over the long run. With interest rates on the decline from traditional products, investor focus has shifted to alternate products which have the potential to provide higher returns but have a lower ticket size. Equity mutual funds provide this feature wherein one can make regular investments via Systematic Investment Plans or SIP for a minimum amount of Rs.500 per month.

However, the key to successful wealth creation via equity mutual funds is that one needs to invest regularly for longer periods of 10, 15 and 20 years. The catch is to withstand the short term volatility as lower returns in the short term may put pressure on investors to exit. Like the Roeblings, one needs to be patient, persistent and have a long term focus to see the wealth creation potential of equity mutual funds. In fact, SIP is like your Good EMI – an investment and not an instalment. The story of the Brooklyn Bridge and its creators is truly inspirational not only for our life journey but also for our investment journey!


Information contained in this article is not a complete representation of every material fact and is for informational purposes only. The recipient is advised to consult its adviser/ tax consultant prior to arriving at any investment decision.

Author: Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund

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