One of the biggest achievement of mankind was when people have changed from gathering to growing food. Later on cultures in the valleys of rivers like the Nile, Euphrates, Ganges and Yangtze started to flourish.
This has happened more than ten thousand years ago, and history has proven that great civilizations can only emerge from strong economies.
The discovery that you can grow your own crops, domesticate livestock had such a big significance that it only can be compared with the start of using of tools, the invention of wheel, or the free WiFi 🙂
Yes, it did require additional efforts: first of all, not everything that was collected could be consumed; part of it had to be saved and planted. I’m pretty sure that at the beginning there were some members of the tribe who thought that the first farmers were crazy for doing this.
Then the lands had to be taken care of. Protected from animals, watered when there was drought, fertilized when the soil was poor. Later on some additional methods have been discovered, like when people have realized that if they give the land a rest for a year (which initially might have sounded crazy), eventually it will result in higher return on a long term. Sometimes the slower way takes you to your aim the fastest…
Finally, and most importantly: the early farmers didn’t give it up. There were a lot of difficulties on the way, hail could destroy the crops, insects could cause huge damages, but they had to keep up and do it year by year. Imagine our life today if our ancestors said after a difficult year: “I’m not doing this shit anymore!”
What does it have to do with personal finance? Well, you might already get the point by now: you can use the same analogy for your financial life and investments!
When you start working, you’re a gatherer. You go out to the forest every day from 9 to 5 (if you’re lucky) and as a reward you get your food that supports you and your family. You might be an average gatherer and save some long lasting food for the wintertime, or you might be a stupid gatherer who only picks bananas as an extra saving, and all you find in the storage after a few weeks is some disgusting thin, black stick full of flies 🙂
There’s one common thing in being a stupid and an average gatherer. They have to gather for almost the rest of their life. They might afford a few days break, but without continuous gathering the storage becomes empty soon.
But if you’re a smart gatherer, you work your way towards being a farmer. The road might be long and bumpy, but you’ll get there. You still live from the things you have gathered, maybe from a bit less than the others. From the extra you don’t use, you start growing a few veggies in your backyard. You won’t eat them, but use their profit for future improvements. You might have a small hobby garden in a few years. And it might not take that much more to buy your first acre.
It’s important to mention that farming is not easy either. Don’t put effort on useless things. You shouldn’t try growing rice in the desert or pineapple on a cold climate. You need to do some research. Also make sure you diversify, even if the first few years look promising. Does the Irish potato famine ring a bell?
During these years your life might not improve significantly as you still live from what you gather. But as you can see, your little backyard farm has already grown to a big land. And before you realize it, you’re not just a simple farmer, but a landlord! You look out from your house and all you see in the horizon belongs to you.
It has taken a while to get here. There were some good years and some really bad ones. There were times when you might have thought about giving it up, make a huge party from the returns of your little backyard garden and keep on gathering like everyone else, but you still forced yourself to move towards being a farmer. Now you’re there and this is the point you can decide what to do. And you have all the opportunities!
You might want to take a break and do nothing just enjoy the returns of your farm. Or you might still want to do some gathering out there when you’re in the mood. It’s totally up to you; you have the freedom of choice!
There’s only one question left: are you ready to be a farmer, or you’ll keep on gathering for the rest of your life?
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Disclaimer: This post or any other information on the site is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice or any other advice. I am solely sharing my idea, plan and progress on early retirement.