Gardening is my favorite hobby and certainly the most rewarding. Walking around the yard hearing the hum of the bees and seeing the butterflies fly never fails to give me a sense of calm. But I’ve learned gardening is no bed of roses. Over the years the garden has taught me much about myself, my yard, and finances. There is a great deal of similarity between improving a garden and improving your financial life. Here are the top 3 lessons I learned form my garden that apply equally to personal finance.
- There’s no instant gratification
Even a garden full of annuals and vegetables bought from the nursery in peak season don’t perform instantly. It’s just the same with finances. The most spectacular success stories of seemingly instant riches often have years of work, perseverance, and patience behind them. When you start work on your finances remember that this is something you’ll be cultivating over years and decades, not something you’ll look at once and call it done.
- It’s good to get advice...
I had plenty of people willing to help with all sorts of good advice when I started tending my garden, but most of that good advice fell on deaf ears. I was too ready to follow my book, garden center tag, or some internet blog rather than the person that had tried that plant personally. Personal advice is always worth bearing in mind as a verified bit of fact even if it contradicts what you feel or might have read elsewhere. Afterall, some of the best advice shows us how we’re wrong.
- …But that advice is best when it’s local and personalized.
When I did decide to start listening it was to some very skilled gardeners, but they were all about 50 miles or more away. What they said was good, but I realized it was coming from their experience with their soil, in their climate, in their ecosystems. It holds true that in finance you want advice from someone who knows you and your situation. Rules of thumb, general information, and personal experience are always good to bear in mind, but it’s best when someone can see directly what you’re dealing with before giving out advice.
I’m only 6 years into getting garden dirt under my nails and I’ve learned so much already. I’m glad that it was able to teach me about gardening and my profession at the same time. I hope you enjoyed these lessons I learned the hard way.
The next time you’re wracking your brain over your financial situation, look to the garden and then call your trusted friendly local advisor for help. And if you don't have one yet, get in touch with us for a free consultation!