Have you ever noticed how tending to your financial plan is a lot like tending to your garden?
I have been in my new home for a few years now and I’ve worked really hard to make it a place where the kids and I truly feel we belong. And thankfully we all do. One of our favorite places to spend time is outdoors in the garden.
I fell in love with the house the moment I saw the garden. It was a true blank slate, with only a few good shrubs and trees, themselves in need of some TLC. I took last summer to look through multiple magazines and talk with experts at garden centers to gain some ideas for what I could do with the different conditions this new landscape provided. I drew up a plan with a good friend who loves gardening as much as I, but is far more advanced in her knowledge of what works in our southern climate and what doesn’t. Last fall, I planted some of my favorite perennials so they could take root in the cooler months and this spring I added some color and texture for visual interest and finally saw my garden begin to take shape.
Now it’s September,and my garden is doing well, but some issues have arisen that I hadn’t planned on. A rabbit, for one – a very hungry, persistent rabbit that decided my yard was the best place for her to start a home. So I now have numerous bunnies noshing on my newly planted perennials that are now no bigger than when I planted them. Also, a recent storm changed the shape of a tree, meaning what was once an overly sunny spot is now completely in the shade. And lastly, the past few weeks have provided multiple days with 90+ degree temperatures which has made tending to the garden a bit more difficult.
All of these unexpected events put my plan off track and started me thinking of how tending to my garden reminds me of my financial life. Much like my garden plan, my financial plan is the template that provides structure and stability to help deal with the inevitable changes. The plan and my attitude must be flexible, because things will change. The wind will blow down a tree, a critter of some kind will eat a valued plant, a market downturn will occur, and a life event will alter my situation. Knowing that change is inevitable is a good reason for resolving to review your financial plan at least annually to make any necessary changes whether it was a rabbit or a market decline that disrupts your plans.