“I am more concerned about the return of my money than the return on my money.”
Author Mark Twain originally made that remark, although cowboy philosopher Will Rogers is often credited for it, while British economist John Maynard Keynes frequently repeated the words. The comment has become our financial philosophy as well. Consequently, we will never be rich, but more importantly: “We should never go
Hopefully, we will not face one of the greatest of all our horrors: bankruptcy. Financial pages indicate economic failure is even more common than divorce. Not only is the one who has filed losing, but all those indebted must suffer as well, rapidly multiplying the effect. Certainly, we’ve found it easier to lose money than to make it.
Security has been important to us since as our elementary years, as we looked to the future without financial risk. Our grocery store provided ample income, but there was always the dependence on customers making purchases so we could survive. After college, agricultural interests offered diversity, but we demanded that regular check.
A town job supported the ranch, so to speak, with our only real concern that it didn’t make the annual year-end tabulations drop into the red. Others in agriculture never appreciated our outlook, but we slept at night. However, even in those professions which one thinks there is income security, one can lose it, be fired, as we well know.
Every side of agriculture involves investment with no guarantee of return, but on the average high risk of loss. Right or wrong, there are methods where one can lock in expenses and guarantee future selling prices, which have helped agriculture survival.
Despite our youthful promise that we’d always have a set-income, we continue to gamble in ranching, but have at least averaged breakeven due to diversity and luck. “A penny saved is a penny earned” is another Will Rogers’ line that receives smirks.
We have always tried to be a conservative spender by limiting the output, yet have a home, food and a horse that doesn’t buck. A few times when funds remained at year’s end, knowing what to do with them has been a challenge. Many hours have been spent trying to calculate where there is security, let alone return.
Financial advisors get bucks to persuade another on what to do with currency. Without fail, their recommendations have lost us money. When one of the funds deteriorated sharply, and the man telling us what to do evaluated it: “No big deal,” we lost all confidence in him and every one of the others.
Land is the soundest investment, because most likely no will be made. However, it is
not readily disposable, so one must have “money in the bank.” Low interest rates receive criticism, but there is the security of knowing that what one puts in can be withdrawn.
Our opinion that the safest place for money is in a can receives rebuttal in Luke 19:23: “Then why did you not put my money in a bank, so that on my return, I might have collected it with interest?” Our reply is explained in Ecclesiastes 5:14: “Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost.”
Thus, we try to follow guidance in Ecclesiastes 11:2: “Divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.”