Why Gardening and Investing are More Similar Than You Think


gardeningI’m the first person to admit that I completely lack a green thumb. In fact, I’ve managed to kill just about every house plant I’ve ever owned. However, if there’s one thing I’m determined to do, it’s save money. Recently, I visited my in-laws over the holidays, and I watched my father-in-law work in his garden. Now, I’ve known my father-in-law for 7.5 years, and I’ve enjoyed the fruits (literally) of his labor for a very long time. However, it wasn’t until I sat there watching him that I really started think about how much money he has saved over the years just from using his own soil and his own two hands. In fact, I realized that gardening really serves as a metaphor for investing as a whole.

1. Buy The Seeds

Buying the seeds for a garden is very similar to saving money in my opinion. All it really takes is a small investment in the beginning. You might choose a few different kids of seeds like strawberries, green peppers, or pumpkins. Similarly, you might choose a few different types of investments like mutual funds, CDs, or a simple high yield savings account. Either way, it’s the combination of the different types of seeds/investments that make up the best portfolios.

2. Water The Seeds

The seeds can grow on their own with a nice rain shower, just like a mutual fund will eventually increase in value over a certain period of time even if you never add to it. However, by taking care of the seeds just a little, you can make a big impact. By ensuring they are located in the right soil, receiving the right amount of sun, and the right amount of water, you have a better chance of actually getting a seed to grow. Similarly, by researching various mutual funds, checking the history of the market, placing your accounts with a respected manager, and checking on your money regularly, you can easily add thousands to your overall net worth.

3. Be Patient With Your Seeds

It takes time for vegetables and fruit to grow. It’s not something that happens overnight, and it requires a certain amount of knowledge, thought, and patience. Similarly, your investments won’t pay big returns overnight. It’s the slow, patient investor who typically does the best in the end. Many people have been ruined because they withdraw their funds too quickly and in many cases end up paying heavy penalties.

4. Protect Your Plot

I’ll never forget the time my husband planted me a blackberry bush. Just as those little red berries began turning black and visions of pie were dancing in my head, birds came overnight and ate them completely. My husband was so frustrated. He waited so long for those berries to blossom and he paid around $20 for the actual bush. Yet, because those greedy birds got to it first, we were left with nothing. What we should have done is put a certain type of spray on the bush or at least had a fake snake in eyesight of the birds to scare them off, but we didn’t. The same goes for your investments. You have to protect them and take care of them. You have to understand all of the “birds” that could affect your growing funds. Whether it’s government taxes or other new regulations, it’s up to you to stay on top of financial news and developments and protect what you have.

5. Reap What You Sow

In gardening, just as with investing, you reap what you sow. By following the above steps and taking the time and care to grow your garden, you will be rewarded in the end.

photo by aigle_dore

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Written by Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for various personal finance websites, she enjoys sharing her frugal and fabulous adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com.

Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean with her husband and spoiled pup, Julep. She received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. When she is not writing for various personal finance websites, she enjoys sharing her frugal and fabulous adventures on her blog, BudgetBlonde.com.

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