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Published March 21, 2016

There are a lot of financial gurus out there that can teach us about personal finance: from investment genius Warren Buffet to our very own local financial coach, Rex Mendoza. But amazingly, even “nature” can teach us about money management. Here are 3 simple yet powerful lessons that we can learn from nature.

Having a mango tree is like having a money tree
Having a mango tree is like having a money tree

 1. Saving and investing lesson from the Mango Tree

Question: What if for the next 3 years, we are tasked to collect mango seeds. After that time period what do we have?
Answer: a warehouse full of mango seeds!
Question: However, what if for the next 3 to 5 years, we plant mango seeds, take good care of it with enough water, sunlight and fertilizer. After that time period what do we have?
Answer: Mango trees! And under normal circumstances, those mango trees will provide mango fruits for the rest of its existence.
Now relating it to finance, collecting or accumulating mango seeds is equivalent to saving money. However, planting and growing those mango seeds is what we call investing money! The beauty of investing is that when the invested money is big enough, just like the mango trees, your money will continue to bear more money fruits (under normal circumstances) for the rest of its existence. This is what we call “money is working for you.”

Pests in growing plants and money
Pests in growing plants and money
2. Pests of growing plants and money
Growing plants and trees requires continuous effort and time which also includes taking into account the different challenges in its growth. There are infestations of pests, animals that will eat the seedlings, and/or weather conditions like drought or typhoon.
It is the same thing in growing money. There are also challenges that we need to understand in its growth. These are inflation, taxation and the lack of financial education. Among the three pests in growing money, inflation and taxation are the two things we don’t have control of and only the lack of financial education we can address. We need to be financially educated in order to outpace inflation, minimize taxation (the legal way) and financially smart enough to understand what a good or bad investment is.
Jobs and tomatoes
Jobs and tomatoes
3. Tomatoes or mango trees?
The next challenge in growing mango trees is that it requires a ton of discipline and patience. The discipline of watering and taking care of it and the patience to wait from a seedling until it becomes a tree after 5 or more years. Farmers can’t survive living if they all depended on mango trees. That is why they may plant tomatoes on the side, so that after a week or two, they can harvest tomatoes and then sell it for a living. But after harvesting, they need to plant tomatoes again due to its shorter lifespan.  The time when the body is weak and can no longer continue to plant more tomatoes, is also the time when the mango trees now started to bear fruit replacing the need to plant more tomatoes.
Relating it to finance, it is imperative that we should venture into investing. Since investing will take time, we need to have a job on the side to take care of our needs. Every 14 days we work hard (plant tomatoes) so that on the 15th day we have a pay (harvest tomatoes). When the time is right, the body weak to work, it should also be the time to have our investments ready for reaping and that is the time we can retire!
Have both tomatoes and mangoes. Have a job and venture investments on the side!
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