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Make Your Money Multiply Like Zucchini

Celebrate National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day with our strategies for growing your money like this prolific veggie.

Don Milne Aug 7, 2018

If you planted zucchini in June, you may be tired already of the many ways you can eat zucchini, such as: zucchini chili, zucchini brownies, zucchini butter and zucchini pickles. Are you the culprit who leaves zucchini on your neighbor’s doorstep?

Gardeners complain so much about having too much zucchini that there is a national day to honor zucchini in a backhanded way. August 8 is National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.

Wouldn’t it be great if money was like zucchini? You could plant some in the ground, water it, make sure it had plenty of sunshine, and come back in one or two months to a harvest of riches.

Well, you can stop dreaming. You can grow money like zucchini. It just takes a little longer.

"Plant" your money for the long term

From the time you plant zucchini until the time you harvest it takes 35 to 55 days. That means for the first 30-plus days you can’t touch it. You have to plan ahead. You can have your zucchini bread when the plant has grown to maturity and not before. If didn’t plant your zucchini one or two months ago, there is nothing you can do to make your zucchini grow fast enough to harvest zucchini next week.

For money to work like zucchini, you have to “plant it” for 35 to 55 years, not 35 to 55 days. That means for the first 30-plus years you can’t touch it. You have to plan ahead. You can have your money when it has grown to maturity and not before. That means you’re best off planting when you are in your 20s and not your 50s. Historically, a great place to plant your money has been in mutual funds.

Thirty-five years ago an average salary was $20,000. What if someone had invested 10 percent of this — or $2,000 — in a mutual fund that matched the S&P 500? That one-time $2,000 investment would now be worth more than $100,000.

The secret recipe that makes money multiply like zucchini

As you can see, a relatively small amount of money exploded like an out-of-control zucchini plant. The secret ingredients are time and the power of compound interest which Albert Einstein referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.

The gardening lesson here is to start saving for retirement as early as you can. What would happen if an 18-year-old opened an IRA mutual fund account for $2,000? Retirement is 52 years away leaving a long time for compound interest to do its magic.

While no one can predict the future, let’s assume a conservative 8 percent annual return — and $2,000 would turn into $130,000. If our teen got lucky and earned 12 percent, the $2,000 would be more than $1 million by age 70. It’s so much money he or she would be tempted to give it away like zucchini!

Of course, if the teen saved $0, in 52 years the amount would be $0, so the lesson is to make retirement savings a priority as soon as you can.

If you are older than 18, your growing season is going to be shorter. Still, giving up on gardening your money with less time on the calendar is the worst thing you can do. Go “plant” some money and watch it grow like zucchini in your garden.

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