Trust time tested age old advice. Trust that which has been true for centuries. In the Sixth Century BC Aesop wrote fables to teach people ancient wisdom – things that had been passed down for centuries since long before the written word. Today these fables are often thought of as children’s stories but in truth they are a treasury of ancient wisdom.
Perhaps the most pertinent of them to the building of wealth is the fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper. You probably know this one. The ant spends the entire summer working feverishly from dawn until dusk storing away food (grain) and reinforcing his home to be prepared for the coming winter.
The grasshopper on the other hand is singing away and dancing through the grass having the time of his life. He has no time for toil. He is enjoying the summer sun. The grasshopper sees the poor ant working so hard and he says to him, “why do you toil so hard in this fine weather, why not drop all that grain and come dance and sing with me?”
The ant replies that he must store up food for the coming winter. The grasshopper replies the he need not worry about that now for there is plenty of food about and it is time to play and have fun. The ant shakes his head in dismay for the foolish grasshopper and goes on about his work.
Summer’s days expired and winter set in. The grasshopper had no food and no warm home to retreat to. He lie in the snow freezing to death and starving. The ant however lay warm and cozy in his well built home underground, safe from storms and snow. He had plenty of food and never new hunger.
The general moral of this story is that it is important to prepare for the days of necessity. However there is more to this than that. This ancient lesson, as true today as it was 2600 years ago, is that we must plan for the future and save for the future so that we will survive hard times ahead.
It also teaches that just as surely as there is a summer of plenty and warm sun there follows the cold cruel winter of famine. He who does not save and prepare for winter will perish. He, like the ant, who does prepare and save for winter will survive to the next summer, which also will surely follow the barren winter.
This may seem simple. It may even seem simplistic. Often the simplest wisdom is the most profound. Save at least 10% of your net income every single month, without fail. Save for your winter. Your winter may be downturn in the economy, a bear market, retirement, or personal financial failure. Whatever it may be, if you have saved for it you can weather it and come out alright on the other side in a position to exploit the opportunities of the spring and summer that follow winter.
No matter what the current season, be an ant and not a grasshopper. Be not concerned about partying and playing all the time. Work and save for the future.
Being an ant leads to success and building wealth. Being a grasshopper leads to failure and sorrow.
Be an ant!
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.