Develop Strong Financial Roots First

​Launa and I went up on the mountain above Cedar City, Utah this week to escape the desert heat. Most of the homes on the mountain are surrounded with an abundance of trees, mostly pine. Each year the forest service removes trees to help with fire protection and we were amazed at how quickly an army of new small trees had begun to take their place.
In some areas cabin owners plant their own trees to cover a clearing or provide more privacy. An interesting thing about pine trees is that they grow in abundance from seeds all over the forest wherever there is enough sunlight, but if you plant one by hand it can be very difficult to get it to grow. Cabin owners must install automatic watering systems to provide a constant flow of water to the newly planted trees. It is an odd phenomenon to see natural young trees growing in abundance all on their own, next to human planted trees with watering systems that struggle to survive. I asked an old timer why the planted trees needed additional water. He explained that natural trees begin life as a seed and the first thing they do is send out roots seeking water. As the root system develops the young sapling adds small branches and leaves as it is able to support them. It does not grow any faster than the roots are able to supply the moisture and nutrition the tree needs.
The human planted trees are grown in pots and fed water manually at the nursery. As a result, the branches and leaves grow more quickly, and the root system is much less developed. When they are planted on the mountain in a harsh environment, the root system is simply not strong enough to support the needs of the beautiful tree above it, so they struggle.
I thought about the many times people come to me in their adult years looking for help with their finances. Many times these individuals are in a situation where their financial needs and wants have grown faster than their ability to support them. Like a hand planted tree, they find themselves struggling in life’s forest against the elements and challenges without a strong root system to provide the needed nourishment. 
The tiniest pine sapling can survive the fiercest weather because of the hidden but strong root system that lies below, while strong and beautiful hand planted trees regularly struggle and die because they lack good roots.
When it comes to building a strong financial life, nothing beats starting early to build a support system before the needs of life become overwhelming.  Strengthen your financial roots first, then allow the rest of your life to grow as you can afford it. In so doing you will find, like the natural trees of the forest, the ability to enjoy the beautiful sunshine while being prepared to weather the many harsh storms life is sure to throw at you.