I was born a farmer...well, at least that is what the doctor thought when he pronounced, “It’s a little farmer!” For most of my life, I thought the doctor was way off. I was always more destined for the laptop than the plow. As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to think that maybe he was more right than I thought...
Growing up, we didn’t have much money, but that wasn’t due to lack of effort. My parents worked hard. Harder than anyone else I have ever known. In addition to being a farmer, my mom worked in the medical records department at a small, local hospital during business hours. Before she would leave in the morning, she and my dad would get up before dawn and do their morning chores. They would herd, feed, and milk dozens of cows, then clean the barn and wash all the equipment EVERY MORNING, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.
My mom would then leave for work, as my dad would continue farming: planting corn, mowing hay, breaking rocks in our stone quarry, cutting firewood, fixing machinery, delivering calves, etc. She would return around 5:30 each day to make my two sisters and myself dinner before she and my dad started the night shift at the barn. All the things they did in the morning……. they had to do all over again at night...twice a day, every day, for over 25 years.
For them, there was no difference between work and life. The two blended together into a homogenous mixture, not unlike the milk that came from their farm.
It was a good life and where there was little money, there was a lot of love. There was hard work and enough blood, sweat, and tears to fill the small creek that ran through the center of our farm.
My parents love that farm. Even now in their retirement, they have dozens of cows that they tend to every day. Their workload is lighter now, but their love for that farm is as strong as ever. They often lament about having only one life to live and wonder what will happen to the farm after they are gone. What they may never realize is just how much that farm is a part of my DNA. It has shaped me as a person, a husband, a father, and a professional.
These days, my wife, daughter and I live about 20 minutes away from the family farm. I am close with my sisters and their families and we talk and get together often. I am so fortunate to have my parents and family play a huge part in my daughter’s life and to see the family farm shaping her in much the same way it shaped me. Though I’ll never be the farmer that the doctor promised my parents, the farm will always be a huge part of who I am.
There is no amount of money that could replace these things...no beach house nice enough, no fancy car fast enough, and no private plane big enough to compete with the truly amazing people I have in my life.
Over the years of building Stone House and working with clients across the country, I have learned that money is only as valuable as the life you build with it. That idea is part of the fiber of Stone House and it is something we try to help our clients with every day. I still get to be a farmer, but instead of cows and crops, I now get to grow and protect the retirement dreams of our clients.
Maybe one day, we will get a chance to help you get the most life out of your money.
-Raymond "Scott" Stone