Using Grass to learn about what's important for retirement.

We’re Not Raising Grass, We’re Raising Kids

Spring is in the Air

There was some beautiful weather over the weekend. Things are starting to warm up and signs of spring are starting to manifest themselves more and more. Personally, I’m not much of a cold weather fan, so these signs of changing seasons have put a little extra spruce in my step. Over the weekend I was able to bust out the ol’ lawn mower and cut my grass for the first time this year. While my yard isn’t pristine, I think that most people could agree that I have a ‘nice’ yard. It generally takes me a few hours to finish, and often this is a job that I really enjoy. Getting onto the lawn mower also gives me the opportunity to evaluate the yard and take some mental notes on different projects that will need some attention over the coming months.

The Grass’s Arch-Nemesis

There are certainly some trouble spots that will need some attention, which leads me to the grass’s arch-nemesis…my kids. My wife does a fantastic job ensuring our kids get adequate outdoor time. Stated another way, she kicks their butts outside so they can burn off some of that limitless well of noise and energy that seems to ooze out of them. Fortunately, this isn’t something that we have had to fight them on, as they also love to be outside. I’m not going to lie, I have wondered if it would just be worth it to install permanent bases for all of the baseball and kickball games that happen out in the yard. As you can imagine, this constant state of play has led to my yard being patchier in the kids’ most commonly used play areas.

An Impactful Quote

All of this was swirling around in my head while I was mowing, and it helped me recall a quote that deeply impacted me, particularly as a parent. The quote is attributed to Harmon Killebrew, a hall of fame baseball player who played in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The full quote attributed is as follows:

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass”; “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”

This quote quite eloquently and sharply redirects me to focus on what is most important. While generally this quote has helped me in my parenting journey, I believe it has some rather obvious carry-over in financial advice.

Missing the Forest for the Trees

That’s right, I’m taking my grass quote and following it up with a tree idiom…we’ll call this one your plant-based diet of financial advice. Enough with the dad jokes, on to the financial advice!

If I am honest, the above quote has impacted me so much because I have a personal emotional attachment to having a nice lawn. It is something that I have worked toward over several years, and something that I take pride in. In the same way, people have a personal emotional attachment to their nest egg. Quite frankly, why would you not have a significant emotional attachment to the funds that you have built up over your lifetime? It represents decades of blood, sweat and tears, hard work, and sacrifice.

Goodbye Trees, Hello Forest

When I first started working on my yard, my motivation was not for the simple purpose of having a nice yard; it was what a nice yard could provide…a good place for my children to play and make memories. In the same way, when you started investing, your motivation was not for the simple purpose of stacking up money; it was the life that money supports. Money is not an end unto itself, but a means which, if handled with intentionality, can help to enhance the things that truly are most important in your life. What changes can you make to ensure your financial decisions are supporting what is most important to you?

This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing should be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice.

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