Power of compounding using Curry Leaves

Most of the inspirational blogs I read nowadays tie to some childhood memory that I seem to be hanging on to. I came across the online Financial Independence community recently and most of them talk about the powers of saving and compounding. This reminded me of a story my mom told me as a kid and here it goes

A man had 2 kids and when they were grown up and ready to make it on their own in the world, he gave them each a small curry leaf plant* and asked them to take care of it. Curry leaf is widely used in a variety of Indian dishes.

A few years later he decides to visit his sons. He makes his way to his first son’s house. After the initial conversations, he brings up the curry leaf plant that he had given him when he left the home. The son replies: ‘Oh, that plant? It was so tiny. I used the leaves within the first 2 weeks. I think it dried up after that’.

The man soon makes his way to the second son’s home. He realizes that the second son is far more prosperous than the first one. And as expected, after his initial conversation, he brings up the curry leaf plant. The second son replies: ‘Oh that plant? You should come out and see it. It has become a huge tree and has produced several other plants and the entire neighborhood now uses Curry leaves from my plants’

Regardless of what the details of the story is, when you think about it, it does boils down to common sense. Anybody can tell you that. Do not strip the plant of all its leaves. Let it have a chance to grow so that it can replenish the leaves. And once you do that, the plant can provide you with curry leaves for the rest of your life. If understanding a plant is so easy, why then do so many people have a tough time understanding their finances?

This story spoke to me as a kid. What i learnt is – Do not continuously withdraw from your savings\investments to a point where it cannot build up faster than you withdraw. Let it grow to a point from where withdrawing will not affect the year-on-year balance as the interest will keep replenishing whatever you take.

*Curry Leaf: It’s a common leaf native to India\Sri Lanka and is used a lot in Cooking. Not to be confused with Curry Powder. scientific Name: Murraya koenigii.

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