Written By: Carolyn Strong, AFC®
The Wealthy Gardener by John Soforic is an enjoyable allegory. It is about a young man who purchases a small plot of land with his savings. He tends regularly to it, reinvesting in the soil and crops for numerous years. Through diligence, prudence, and hard work his small plot of land develops into a prosperous vineyard, available for others to enjoy. He shares his wisdom with a few young men who want to develop wealth and accrue investments. Some heed his advice, some scoff at it. Various characters in this financial allegorical account represent a spectrum of the socioeconomic choices commonly known in our culture.
The origins of this book are from an independently wealthy father attempting to give sound financial advice to his ambitious son. He plans to impart life lessons regarding not only wealth but sound teaching to live by in any life stage. John Soforic maintains a blog and daily affirmations aligned with his book. He also peppers the book with quotes from notable financial experts to include Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Dave Ramsey, and many others. Some people compare this book to the cult classic, Rich Dad Poor Dad . Personally, I perceive it to be more similar to the old John Bunyan tale, Pilgrim’s Progress. In that tale, different characters represent choices and decisions that impact their life paths.
Of great importance to achieving success in any area of life is mindset. Without a positive attitude, life is difficult not only regarding money but personal matters as well as relational. As the wealthy gardener meets with his mentees he encourages them to think for themselves, create goals, seek solitude, and practice positive affirmations coupled with visualization. The Wealthy Gardener is definitely a refreshing change from the usual personal financial books. Much wisdom can be gleaned from this enjoyable and insightful portrayal of a father’s wisdom regarding life and wealth.
From an Accredited Financial Counselor perspective, this was a helpful and enjoyable read. As I read the various accounts and perspectives of the characters throughout the book, I was able to peer into the financial worldview. This allowed me to have greater empathy regarding those clients who are struggling with personal issues, self discipline, and financial prudence. Counseling is always more effective as we allow ourselves to truly understand the situation from the clients’ perspective.
From an educational standpoint, we can glean from the wisdom of the Wealthy Gardner and present this in our briefings and outreach. A mentor in the financial environment is a welcome support especially in the military community. As Accredited Financial Counselors, we can be that pillar of wisdom, truth, and encouragement so needed in today’s world.
I would recommend this book for Accredited Financial Counselors for various reasons. First of all, it’s an enjoyable and easy read. It’s applicable to our career field but more importantly, it captures the essence of financial counseling. The Wealthy Gardener demonstrates empathy, compassion, and knowledge. As Counselors, we may have a vast amount of knowledge but without the empathy and compassion, it is not well received by our clients. It can be seen as abrasive or even arrogant without kindness. Secondly, we can perceive the life lessons as applicable to our own personal financial conditions. We can receive this wisdom both subjectively and objectively. Last, it’s an excellent reminder and primer for the differing characters we will encounter in our counseling sessions. This provides both a humble and direct perspective to our relationship with the client.