In today’s trouble economic times, it behooves ($10 word of the day) us all to understand a little bit about investing money and the financial terms that are used when talking about money. You may not know this about me, but I am a financial advice junkie. I listen to Marketplace podcasts, I read money blogs and when I am depressed, nothing cheers me up faster than listening to reruns of Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman shows (because listening to people get gently reprimanded and corrected for making colossal money blunders just somehow makes me feel better about my own mistakes).
But this is a garden blog and not a money blog so why I am I talking about this? Because did you know that many financial terms can be explained in gardening terms? It’s true! I know, I was shocked too when I thought of it.
Here is an example of what I mean. Financial institutions and investments. A financial institution is a garden bed and investments are plants.
If you do your research into financial institution is about and its past performance and use it for the right kinds of investments, a financial institution will likely do well for you, but even with the right investments, sometimes things can go wrong and your investment may not do as well as you had hoped.
You can literally replace “financial institution” with “garden bed” and “investments” with “plants” and the statement is still true. See what I mean? SO COOL!
You can talk about the garden using financial terms.
Interest – Hydrangea is an example of this. You plant a hydrangea and, once it is established, you can start cuttings from the mother plant. Which you can then reinvest in your garden and watch as your garden portfolio grows.
Compound Interest – Iris. Plant an iris rhizome and in a few years, as long as there are no problems, you will have many rhizomes. Every new rhizome that grows, grows new rhizomes. It just keeps building on itself.
High Risk Investments – Roses. Yes, some people do fine with them and they do wonderfully for them, but people who grow roses have a tolerance for high maintenance and high plant loss. But, if you find the right bed and the right rose plant and you are willing to bit a little extra work into the (or hire a gardener), you will be rewarded with an amazingly gorgeous flower (most of the time). Plant a rose, ignore it and cross your fingers – well, it might work out for you. Or you could end up with a bramble.
Low Risk Investment – Hosta. This plant can be grown by just about anyone and needs very little care. Of course, if you do pay attention, make sure you start it at the right financial institution (i.e. flower bed), then you can get some pretty stunning results but even if you don’t, you still have a decent looking plant. Could you have problems with your hosta investment? Sure, any plant can have problems. But the chances are far less.
Long Term Investments – Perennials. When you plant a perennial, you are looking for it to last for years and years. Good (normally steady) growth with spurts of flowering rewards.
Short Term Investments – Annuals. They are only meant to last a short period. Yes, you can invest in them solely year after year and you get lovely flowers, but it can get a bit costly to rely solely on them.
Assets – Your garden plants. Every plant that you lovingly grew and cared for, whether you grew them from seed or bought them at the nursery or inherited them from a friend or family or just happened to stumble on it – this is your assets – your garden portfolio.
Debt – Weeds. You didn’t put down mulch, you didn’t get out there early in the spring to pull them, you had poor management practices with your garden beds or you planted the wrong kind of investment (e.g. Bishop’s Weed). Whatever the reason, you have weeds. Everybody has them and sometimes they are not a bad thing (I personally like Queen Anne’s Lace), but nevertheless, they tend to get out of hand quickly if you don’t deal with them and the saying “grow like weeds” is not just a saying. It is a fact. Weeds take compound interest to a whole new level and, left unmanaged, can completely wreck your garden investments.
Gardening and money have many things in common. They require patience and care to grow them, sometimes things can terribly wrong despite your best efforts but if you just think, learn from the bumps and work a bit, you will be handsomely rewarded in the long run.