Snow has for some reason(*) become a popular metaphor for handling money. There’s snow flaking which involves finding money in odd places and odd jobs and using it to pay off debt. Paying off debt has been associated with snowballs and avalanches describing how it becomes easier and easier to pay off debt once the finance charges decrease.

(*) I have some idea of who originated these, but I forgot to take notes and I’m too lazy to investigate, so let me know if you want to take credit.

These metaphors, in particular the snowflaking, all revolve around certain attitudes towards money with respect to getting out of debt.

However, snow melts and it is only relevant during the winter, so I think to properly describe the financial independence mentality, we need to cast it in forest terms.

I think living each day as if it was your last is an immature philosophy. No, live each day as if you were going to live a thousand years, including your last!

The start of financial independence includes a strong vision of one day creating a metaphorical forest and living harmoniously with the forest. It starts by planting seeds. These seeds grow into saplings and the mind starts connecting the vision to the upcoming reality of a mature forest. When you live for the future, your present will very much be determined by the actions of your past.Hence you will only live in a forest if your past self at some point decided to do so. Contrast this with living for the present in which case your future will be uncertain.

A person living in the present would very much like to cut down that forest as soon as possible and turn it into hamburgers. A future-oriented person would carefully try to preserve his principal asset, the forest, and only cut when necessary and live of the trimmings. He would think of his wealth as the amount of wood he can get by trimming, not by the amount of wood he could get if he cut the forest down.

Unfortunately so many people see it different. That is why they keep working to cut down both existing wood as well as working hard to plant seeds and cutting down the saplings as soon as they get a chance. They do not see the freedom the forest offers. No, not at all. The entire focus is on maximum wood production in the present.

Your future will give you what you deserve.

Originally posted 2008-12-27 09:11:04.