The Monkey Theory


In 1997, I was a psychology student at York University in Toronto. I had taken a particular interest in Cognitive Psychology as the way people think fascinates me. One particular class centred on the influence tradition has on the way we make decisions, and a debate grew as to whether or not that influence was good or bad for people. As with most psychological debates, a good argument could be made for tradition being good or bad depending on the circumstances in which is was at play.

The lecturer for that class was exceptionally passionate about cognition and that passion shone through in her efforts to engage the class. She seemed to stop at nothing to bring context to the concepts we were exploring and when the topic of the influence of tradition came to the fore, she brought it all to life with just one video. The video was a recording of a psychological experiment involving 5 Rhesus monkeys in a group setting under controlled conditions. What it revealed about why the monkeys behave the way they do can teach us a lot about ourselves. More on that later.

The 5 monkeys are placed in one end of a long cage, and at the other end is a ladder with a bunch of fresh, ripe bananas placed on it’s top stair. Without much delay, one of the monkeys makes a break for the bananas, but before he can reach out and grab his reward, the experimenters hose all 5 monkeys down with ice cold water. The monkeys retreat to the back of the cage, and the water stops. After a couple of minutes, a different monkey goes for the bananas and the same thing happens. As soon as he gets close, out comes the ice cold water. This happens several times before the monkeys as a group decide to abandon their pursuit of the bananas all together, choosing to avoid pain rather than to pursue pleasure. What happens next is fascinating.

Once all pursuit of the bananas has ceased, the experimenters remove one of the monkeys and replace him with a new monkey that has never been exposed to the cold water treatment. The new monkey very quickly decides to go for the bananas – likely wondering what’s wrong with the others – but to his surprise he is assaulted by the other 4 monkeys before he gets close to the ladder and before the cold water treatment is triggered. He doesn’t need to learn this lesson twice and abandons his pursuit of the bananas for good.

The experimenters continue to remove one of the original 5 monkeys from the cage at a time, replacing them with new, unsocialized monkeys and each time the same thing happens. The new monkey thinks he’s smarter than the rest and goes for the bananas, but suffers an attack initiated by his peers prior to getting to the reward and the whole group avoids the cold water treatment. Here’s the brilliance of the experiment – when the 5th original monkey is replaced, there are now 5 monkeys in the cage who have never experienced the ice cold water treatment and do not really know why they are participating in the attack of the new monkey pursuing the bananas. If they could talk, and you asked the monkeys why they were attacking the new monkey, there could only be one answer…”I don’t know, that’s just the way it’s always been done around here”.

In many ways tradition is a beautiful thing. It brings families together despite busy lives, and it builds memories that last a lifetime. Tradition can help make sense out of our chaotic world and can create legacies we can be proud of. That said, when it comes to our money, tradition is holding us back. Doing things the way they have always been done isn’t getting enough families to their financial goals and it’s time we took a hard look at why we do what we do with the intention to make changes where things aren’t working.

At Magnetic, we teach Canadian families something called The Method and the education has become Canada’s simplest, most efficient wealth building tool. The Method will teach the average two income earning Canadian family how to save tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest on their mortgage and build wealth many times faster with security, predictability, and peace of mind. It’s not magic, it just requires a small change to the way it’s always been done when it comes to day to day banking. For years, Canadians have been taught to bank in a way that serves their banks and it has become tradition to invest in the stock market through an advisor where the investor often times has very little control, no security, and pays a high price for the service. While advisors make predictable fees from their participation, investors remain on a cyclical roller coaster of volatility. It just hasn’t worked for enough families for me to believe it’s the right way to continue doing things. That’s just my opinion.

The Method isn’t for everyone. It’s a tortoise like path to building wealth where nobody gets rich overnight, but everyone sleeps well at night. I’m a big believer that stress kills more people than Big Macs (TM) and money worries cause a lot of stress. If you take some time to learn The Method, it will become easy for you to identify and get on the path of least interest with your mortgage and build predictable wealth through secured investing in real estate. It’s not too good to be true, but it sure is too good to be tried if what you are currently doing isn’t working.

You can visit our website – – to learn a little bit more about The Method, but the website won’t teach it to you. For that, you’ll have to attend one of our complimentary, live catered workshops in and around the Greater Toronto Area or contact us to set up a webinar with one of our licensed professionals who can teach it to you from the comfort of your own home. Once you understand the concept, we offer a complimentary financial optimization assessment that will show you what is possible for you based on your current financial circumstances. People always ask me “what’s the catch”? and I always tell them the same thing. The catch is simple, if you like what you learn, feel it’s easy enough that even you could do it, and the assessment gets you excited about what is possible, then Magnetic will help you facilitate the implementation of your new financial plan.

Full disclosure – At Magnetic, we are very committed to improving the overall financial literacy of the Canadian consumer and all of our education is free. That said, we are a business and in order to keep the lights on and doors open, we need to drive revenue somehow. We believe in attraction (hence the name Magnetic) and that giving starts the receiving process. We also believe that like us, time and money are your biggest assets and if we can make a positive and significant impact on yours, then you might be attracted to our organization as a lifetime client. It’s simple really. We are a licensed mortgage brokerage and we teach people how to efficiently manage their mortgages. The first step in managing a mortgage efficiently is getting the best possible mortgage product. We facilitate that for our customers and the bank that wins the business pays us a finders fee to do so. In addition, we help people lend their cash, registered funds and home equity with security and predictable, fixed annual returns as part of an overall secure, wealth building plan. When we lend money for our customers, we charge the borrower a fee. In then end, our customers never pay us for the services we provide them. If there is a genius to our business, that is it.

I hope the monkey experiment resonated for you, and that if your finances aren’t where you’d like them to be I have given you hope that there is another way, and it may be easier than you think to get where you want to go. In most cases, we don’t have an income problem, we have a management issue that can be solved with education. We’d like to be the ones to teach you and I promise – it’s simple enough that even a monkey could do it.

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