A 401k is often used as a part of a standard retirement plan. The basic idea is that preselected stocks are chosen by your employer to provide you with options for investing your money. These investments are often matched by the employer, which allows you to end up with “free” money to be used in the later years of your life. Thinking about the 401k retirement plan got me thinking about other ways we invest in our future life.
Investing money is simple enough – you put some faith in certain companies, and hope that they perform well over time so you can see a large return on your investment. The best investors usually do their due diligence, and research the stocks they are going to be putting their money into; instead of just picking at random. Most other aspects of life work like this.
Given all the good I have seen from my backyard garden, I would like to propose a revolutionary idea: invest time into your own garden, and reap the benefits over and over again.
Like investing in stocks and bonds, it is important to do your research ahead of time when considering the value a garden could bring to your life. It is also important to consider the potential downfalls as well, such as how a beautiful harvest could be ruined by a freak hurricane or even normal backyard critters. In my eyes, the pros of a garden far outweigh the cons, and by committing yourself to creating the best garden you can; you will likely experience a bountiful harvest that will make you smile when you pick some of your first organic produce.
One of the major reasons a vegetable garden can relate to a 401k savings plan is because of the emphasis on “retirement.” Through most of life, we don’t tend to want to think too much about the future, getting old, or having to retire. Some people do not invest enough money, and end up working long hours at low paying jobs well into their 60’s and 70’s. Of course, others could retire, but can’t envision leaving their jobs! The point is, with age comes fear of being unstable or unable to do the things we really want to do.
If you choose to put your time and energy into a backyard garden, much like money into a stock portfolio, you need to understand how organic fruits and vegetables will impact your whole foods, plant-based diet. A healthy diet, comprised of quality plant-based foods, will help you feel vital and alive well into your older years. For much of my life, this was not my diet, and was not my choice of investment. Instead, I opted for fatty meals, red meat, and processed foods. Just a few years ago, I made the decision based on evidence put forth in books like The Starch Solution and How Not to Die (among many other sources) to do away with my old way of living, and decided to start on a journey comprised of a plant-based diet. This diet has had a revolutionary impact on my health, and in and of itself has been one major investment I have put into myself.
Pairing a whole food, plant-based diet with an organic garden just makes sense. These two investments work together to create a synergy that motivates me to continue living this lifestyle to the fullest.
As I am in the age range that a person would commonly retire, I feel rejuvenated and full of life. It is a strange experience, really, given how just a few years I felt like I was close to dying, even though I was a younger man. Unlike a 401k investment plan that is generally maintained for 30+ years of work place contributions, a garden can begin to provide food to harvest and financial savings within the first year. As I have shown through my plant-based lifestyle, a healthy garden and diet can have radical effects in a short period of time as well.
Given that an organic garden and a whole foods, plant-based diet can provide such large returns in such a relatively small period of time, I would have to say that investing in this lifestyle is even better than investing in a 401k retirement plan. Because what is the point of having all the money saved, if you don’t have your health?