We recently heard this simple story of a mouse that was stuck in a jar – ever heard of it? It’s interesting because the mouse wasn’t put in the jar – not entirely. As the story goes, a mouse was placed at the top of a jar filled with grains.
The mouse was so happy to have found so much food because it no longer needed to run around looking for food. The mouse felt satisfied and content; there was no longer a need to search for more food.
After a few days of enjoying the grains, the mouse reached the bottom of the jar. Only then did it realise it was trapped and couldn’t get out of the jar.
What happened next? Various storytellers will bring different perspectives, but the broad picture is that the mouse now had to depend on others to put grains in the jar. From our perspective, it’s a great parable that speaks to how we need to plan in times of plenty.
When we stand upon a hilltop, it’s easy to think that we’ve made it, but as Nelson Mandela once said, after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. Yes, we are far more intelligent than a little mouse, and we know not to trap ourselves, yet still, when we’re offered credit or pay ourselves out of debt, we inevitably take on credit again in the future. If the temptation is great enough or the need dire enough, we’ll go down that next hill again.
At WellsFaber, we view wealth in a more holistic light than just our money – it’s in our personal and spiritual growth too. And, when we don’t continually choose to develop or sharpen our skills, we will miss profitable opportunities, diminishing our choices, freedoms, and our financial independence.
Planning is not just about getting out of trouble; it’s also about staying out of trouble. Many of our clients are financially reliant on a monthly income, but we also have clients who don’t need an income to survive from month to month. Both types of clients need help with their planning.
Planning also protects us from being deceived by the perception of plenty. The mouse could have looked at the wealth of grains as being ‘just enough’ – because it was literally just enough to have its freedom at the top of the jar. But, in this story, it simply squandered what was there.
This is not a tale about frugality or thriftiness, nor is it about the ills of hedonism or the altruistic aspirations of utilitarianism. It’s about being aware of our surroundings and our need to plan accordingly.
This means that regardless of what’s happening, planning can help us avoid ‘getting stuck’, and it can help us move forward when we’ve had life sneak up on us and trap us with an unforeseen event.
At WellsFaber, we want you to thrive – and we believe that prudent planning and regular communication are essential for that.