This article originally published in The Northern Daily Leader on 28 April 2012.
Every new parent appreciates those moments when your little treasure grants you a few minutes of peace and quiet. A temporary chance to be an adult again and not be focused on the next nappy change, the next baby meal, whether the oven is hot, whether the kitchen scissors are too close to the edge of the kitchen bench-top or any of the other hundreds of concerns you were blissfully unaware of before you started a family.
And most parents also know that one way to have a moment of peace and quiet is to chuck the baby in the car, put on a DVD for him or her to watch (if you have one) and go for a long drive. And so, last Sunday, we put Jack in the car seat, popped in a brand new Wiggles DVD, and went for a drive around the Tamworth region. An opportunity for my wife and I to pick up a take-away coffee, go for a drive and have a good uninterrupted chat, if you could ignore the rowdy sounds of ‘hot potato, hot potato’ coming from the back seat.
Being only relatively recent arrivals to Tamworth, we thought it was a good time to have a look at the trees along King George V Avenue – we had seen the newspaper articles about the threat to the trees and wondered what the fuss was all about. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly, frankly we were astonished at the splendour of the avenue of oak trees. A true hidden gem in Tamworth, and a great example of what can be achieved with a little bit of foresight and selfless thinking. And how depressing to think that seventy-six years of history might be felled in the name of ‘progress’.
Thinking of those beautiful oak trees, and the fact that those citizens who planted the trees back in 1936 knew it would take many years before they could enjoy the full benefit of their endeavours, reminded me of how we should approach our finances. Like oak trees, which grow relatively slowly and can take many years to reach maturity, your finances can’t be fixed overnight. Making the most of your financial situation is a slow and on-going process, there are no quick fixes. Don’t start thinking about retirement the day you resign and buy the caravan, by then it’s too late. Just like planting trees, the sooner you start paying attention to your finances, the sooner you will start to reap the benefits of your work. But unlike the oak trees, there is no nasty council to come and chop down all your hard work.