Taste the Strawberry- Three Financial Takeaways from Ancient Wisdom

There once was a young man running through the jungle, being pursued by a large wild tiger. He was running as fast as he could to evade this striped killing machine until he got to the edge of a cliff. With the tiger closing in on him, he knew his only option was to jump and so he took the leap of faith. On his way down, he noticed a large tiger waiting for him at the bottom and so he reached out and grabbed hold of a vine about half way down the cliff, just out of reach of both tigers. He then noticed a little mouse come out onto the vine that he was holding onto and began to gnaw on it. As this mouse was chewing away at his only line of safety preventing him from being mauled by the tiger below, he noticed that at the end of this vine was the largest most delicious looking strawberry. Amidst all of the chaos going on, the young man plucked the strawberry and bit into it and realized that it was the most juicy and sweet strawberry he had ever tasted.

Buried within this ancient story are some valuable lessons about managing the financial string of your life. In this story, the tigers above and below represent the past and future, respectively. This is the depression of the past and the anxiety for the future. The mouse represents the inevitable which are the things that come up in life that we cannot control like a downturn in the economy or even having to buy new tires after a blowout. Now when it comes to the strawberry, that signifies the present. The point is to embrace where you are at in the present moment and be grateful for all of the wonderful things going on in your life even when you have two hungry tigers trying to eat you.

1. Hindsight is 20-20

You are your own worst critic. We often times beat ourselves up so bad that it hinders future progress. Odds are likely that you are going to make financial mistakes along the way, but you have to remember that you made the best decision that you could with the information that you had at that time. This is something important to note, not just in your financial life but in all of the other areas of your life as well. It is critical that you separate yourself from your actions. If you spent a lot of money in the past, that doesn’t mean you are a spender, it only means that you spent a lot in the past. By separating those, it allows you to move forward in new, more enlightened ways.

2. Be grateful for your current situation

Your perception of how you are doing financially all comes down to perspective. The multi-millionaire might feel poor when he has trouble figuring out how to afford a private jet like all of his friends, whereas a janitor might feel rich when he gets an overtime shift and can make some extra money. Lift your head up and realize how truly fortunate you are no matter your situation and be grateful. Having a grateful mentality attracts more positive energy into your life and in turn makes you a happier person. Gratefulness is the fuel that gets you to your goals.

3. Plan for the worst so you can enjoy a sense of security

Make sure you have an emergency fund that totals 4-6 months of expenses in cash and ensure with a professional that your strategy for any investments is sound and in alignment with your life goals and priorities. Build strategies around the worst-case scenarios, and use that to determine the adequate coverage you need for those potentially catastrophic events. Some good ones to think about are if you or your partner become disabled or die tomorrow. The goal is to make your financial situation as bulletproof as possible so that you can have peace of mind and can live in the present.

Michael Foley, CFP®, CSLP®

Author: Michael Foley, CFP®, CSLP®

Michael works with professionals to establish harmony in their lives through tailoring comprehensive financial plans, while also providing a variety of investment and insurance services.

1870153/DOFU 08-2017