with Don Fraser
Fraser Farm Finance
I recently met with a very smart lady who had started out as a teacher then worked in an accountant’s office, studied to become an accountant with ACA, then a business owner, and now helps in schools again. The point here is she is well qualified to comment on and very concerned about how many people do not “connect the dots”.
Let me explain. She said if children arrive at school and cannot hop, skip or stand on one leg, they are unable to learn! It is an interesting point and a good reason to give children plenty of outdoors space.
More importantly, she was confirming that given a certain set of circumstances some will make wise choices and others will vary from average to shocking choices. She then talked of people “connecting the dots”.
Steve Jobs is computer famous and on record for saying the following: “You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to somehow trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down and has made all the difference in my life”.
This goes back to that ability to make good decisions, based on your experiences and trusting that in future your dots will connect for the best outcome.
A current good example on-farm might be eczema. Have you connected the dots by getting your preventative programme in place now, based on your past experiences, to stop the ravages later? Eczema is an insidious disease that robs livestock of their good health let alone their potential.
Do farmers connect the dots that if they do not have sufficient equity after repaying the bank they may only have enough money to buy a house at say $1m, leaving little or nothing to invest? Did they connect those dots early enough to provide for later on, based on the previous knowledge and experience, or just arrive at retirement age, sell the farm and go bugger?
This dot-connecting is similar to thinking there are always consequences following action. This almost feeds into the: “I want it and I want it now” scenario. If you must have everything new at the start and do not save you’ll be short of cash, and in debt probably. Did you not connect the dots that starting out financially prudent rather than spending up, you will be better off later on?
As the smart lady said – and I found with my rural work throughout NZ – “some people’s ability to make consistent good and logical decisions is appalling”. Many, when they seek help, listen and then go back to their old ways and bad decision-making.
So there seems to be three dots.
Dot 1: Now, making the decision.
Dot 2: Based on your past experience
Dot 3: Trusting your instinct that you’ve made the right decision for a future outcome.
It’s all a bit profound but if it makes you stop and think, then I have achieved my goal.
Don Fraser is principal of Fraser Farm Finance and a consultant to the farming industry. Contact him on mobile 021 777 675 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org