Diversify - It's the Key to a Successful Life
We always hear that you should diversify your portfolio when it comes to investing. I have been thinking lately that we should diversify in all areas of our lives though. Every area that I can think of, it is better to diversify. Think about the saying we have been passing down for centuries - "don't put all your eggs in one basket". Being too consumed in just one area of anything might go well for awhile, but in the end could be disastrous. Let's take a look at some examples.
Think about farming. If you have a 100 acre farm and plant the entire farm with potatoes and the Colorado potato beetle descends on your farm to feast for awhile, you have lost your entire crop and source of income for the whole year. Have you heard of the potato famine that hit Ireland in the late 1800's? They ate almost nothing but potatoes and grew just one type of potato in the whole country. Millions died of starvation because there wasn't enough food.
Here in Ohio there are many pick-your-own farms. We visited one this year that had nothing but apple trees. If something happens with the weather in the spring, or with bugs in the summer, or with a hail storm in the fall their crop can be ruined in an instant. Today we visited a different farm to pick apples. Except at this farm you can also pick raspberries, strawberries, pumpkins and cherries. You can also purchase peaches and pears from the farm store, as well as honey and maple syrup. This farm has mastered diversification and will likely succeed for a long time. Even if one entire crop fails, they have something to fall back on.
You can diversify in many, many areas though and it will help you succeed. Think about the current job market. Those people that are very specialized in niche fields are likely going to have a very hard time finding a job. If they have diversified their experience and education they are much more likely to find something that will work for them. My husband for instance has a teaching certificate with a bachelor's degree in political science. When he got his master's degree he got it in something different; social sciences. He has a very diverse education. If you have a bachelor's in English, and then get a master's in English you are much more limited in what you can do in life.
The same can be said for life skills, gardening, money and more. The more skills you have (the more diverse you are) the better off you will be in life. Not only will your life be more interesting, but you will be more interesting to others. You will be able to handle more things on your own and be less dependent on other people. If I had planted my garden with only peas this year it would have been a complete waste of time, as both crops I did plant failed miserably. One due to weather and the other due to a hungry rabbit.
If you put all of your money in one bank account and the bank shuts down you will be out all of your money until the FDIC takes care of things (this can take months). If you invest all of your retirement savings in one company and it goes under, so do your plans for retirement. Doing what the experts say and putting your money in several different types of accounts is the best thing to do. And just like money, you will go farther in life in almost all areas if you are diversified.