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Thursday, July 19, 2012

About growing fruit trees and wealth

There is a back yard – about the size of a tennis court – in our house. In that small space, there are four flowering plants, a curry leaf plant, a neem tree, a lemon tree, a custard apple (‘sitaphal’) tree, a guava tree and a couple of papaya trees.

The flowering plants and fruit trees act like an oasis in the middle of the concrete desert of a congested city – drawing all kinds of birds during different times of day. The parrots hang upside down and eat some of the custard apples. Squirrels eat a few guavas. We eat the rest and the papayas. Lemons, curry leaves and neem leaves are used in cooking.

The plants and trees are caringly tended by our gardener, whose favourite phrase is: “After some more time.” Regardless of what we ask him – why the lemons are not growing bigger or when will the papayas ripen or when will you trim the ‘sitaphal’ tree – the answer is the same. After some more time.

So, what does growing fruit trees have to do with growing wealth? After all, money doesn’t grow on trees! Well, the connection is in the process of growing. Ten years after the lemon tree was planted, it bore its first few fruits. Two years later, it started bearing so many fruits that we didn’t know what to do with them. I remember collecting 43 lemons on one particular day.

While trimming the tree to enhance its fruit bearing capabilities, the gardener inadvertently killed it. We were almost in tears. Losing that lemon tree was like losing a family member. Another plant is growing in its place now. When will it start bearing fruits? After some more time.

Wealth doesn’t get built in a day. It has to be grown carefully and with a lot of patience. Special attention should be given to regularly invest your savings in properly allocated assets. Dead branches need to be trimmed off from time to time. And the process continued over several years.

Nowadays, most small investors don’t seem to get it. Thanks to credit cards and EMIs, a culture of instant gratification pervades our psyche. Total novices try out fancy dance steps in the F&O market and lose their shirt. Only after a few setbacks do they learn that fruit trees only bear fruit after some more time.

That is why, the stocks suggested in my Monthly Investment Newsletter are meant for holding periods of 2-3 years. The ones that quickly rise like a rocket, tend to fall back to earth equally fast. They are like weeds that grow very fast during the rainy season, but do more harm than good.

If you have not subscribed to the Monthly Investment Newsletter yet, you have 3 more days to do so. Paid subscriptions will close on July 21, 2012. New subscriptions will be offered next in Jan. 2013.

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