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Carrots for CareOne

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Imagine two carrots in the ground.  One has a big beautiful green top but under the soil is a very small withered carrot.  

The other carrot has a small top but under the soil lays a great big juicy carrot.

Those carrots represent people and their money.  

The top of the carrot is the show of money.  Each big green leaf stands in place of a car, a house, the latest electronic gadget, vacations, clothing, jewelry, etc.  The bottom of the carrot, the part in the ground, is true wealth.  It's an emergency fund, 401(k) s, IRAs, being debt free, having your bills paid on time.

The carrot with the big top is someone who spends a lot of money.  

People who look to impress others with their lifestyle.  They have a fancy house and an expensive car.  They wear the latest fashions and enjoy exotic vacations.  But often times, because they spend so much of their resources building the top of their carrot the bottom of their carrot suffers.  

They have debt and unpaid bills.  They aren't preparing for the future or emergencies.

The carrot with the little top is someone who lives modestly.  

They have a small house and drive a clunker. Their clothes are from last year, at best, and their vacations consist of "a trip up North".  Because they keep their living expenses to a minimum they can use their resources to grow their carrot.  

They can save for emergencies, retirement, and big purchases.

Now, again, put these two carrots in your mind.  One with a big top and small carrot, and one with a small top and a big carrot.  Now imagine a very strong wind blowing across the field.  This wind is an emergency.  It comes from seemingly nowhere and is totally outside of our control.  What happens to our two carrots?

Which carrot gets blown away?

Does the carrot with strong roots and small leaves get blown away?  No.  It's the carrot with big leaves that will catch the wind and no solid hold of the ground. That's the carrot that gets blown away!  Those big leaves, the expensive lifestyle, become sails that allow the wind, life's emergencies, to push that carrot around.

And when the carrot tells the story about the wind it says "I was just minding my own business and the wind came and blew me away.  I never even had a chance to build my roots!  I was going to but you know how hard it is.  I just can't catch a break.  That other carrot, man, he got out easy. I wish I was that lucky."

But is it the wind's fault that the carrot got blown away?  No.  The winds of life will blow.  

No one escapes; just some of us are more prepared.  

You make a choice where to put your resources.  You can build your lifestyle or you can build your security.  

The choice is yours, but the wind will blow and when it does we see who has carrot and who was all leaves.

Ashley Barnett of Personal Finance blog, Money Talks Coaching guest posts for leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Ashley Barnett 

As a budget coach and financial author from Arizona, Ashley Barnett spends her days (and nights!) giving everyday families the tools they need to succeed with their money.  Her passion for budgeting is fueled by watching people gain control of their money and turn their financial lives around.  

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  • Exactly! Sometimes I am frustrated when people I KNOW don't have any money buy, go and do so much more than we do. I need to remember that we are trying to build our carrot not our leaves. Plus, we did not build our carrot and I feel I have to cop to that right now. We have had a very windy year so far. Not having that savings has really made things rough. When people talk about how rough things are I feel honor bound to mention that when times were good for us we enjoyed that at the EXPENSE of an emergency fund. I always feel like I have to clarify that the responsibility is ours. We own our financial situation even if we don't own the situations that have happened this year. We have been trying really hard but we should have started earlier. Next time the wind blows hopefully we will be better prepared. Those people who are all about there leaves are not waking up so instead of feeling frustrated at them I should feel sorry for them! Great post. It made me feel better even though our situation sucks right now :)

  • I really like your analogy of the carrot and the green top representing true wealth and flashy display.  We only grasped the importance of building up true wealth when a "wind storm" caught us off guard in the form of job loss.  We're back on our feet again, but the debt hole is big.  We'r slowly filling it up, and as we do, the "carrot" gets more substantial.  Our "greenery" is looking more and more worn, but I'm starting to be proud of that fact.   It's proof of our new found wisdom.  Although I wish we had started earlier, I'm glad it's never too late.

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