Imagine it is February 15th.
I know that can be hard when it’s July and the average temperature is in the 80’s, but just play along with me for a moment.
So it’s February, it’s 5:00 in the morning. We are on a farm in northern Minnesota, in the middle of nowhere. It is 25 degrees below zero. The ground is frozen solid. There is a light on in the farmhouse. The farmer is in the kitchen making a pot of coffee because this is the time he wakes up every day to work on his farm.
He takes a sip of his steaming cup of coffee, and he hears a knock on his front door. Puzzled, he hurries to the front door to see who it is. He opens the door and standing before him is a 6’2” man wearing a hat, an overcoat and a suit and tie. He has on gloves and boots to fend off the bitterly cold morning. The farmer asks who it is and the man replies that he is with the Internal Revenue Service and he is there to ask the farmer a vitally important question.
The man from the Internal Revenue Service asks if he can come in out of the cold. The nervous, yet courteous farmer says of course, and invites the man from the Internal Revenue Service into his kitchen and offers him a cup of his steaming coffee. The man accepts, takes a sip, and then reaches into his briefcase and pulls out a folder which he opens and then lays his pen on the open folder.
The farmer, who still can’t believe that someone was knocking at his door at 5:00 in the morning, in the middle of winter, on a bitterly cold day and is now sitting at his kitchen table finally gets the courage to ask, “Why are you visiting me this morning?”
The man from the Internal Revenue Service leans forward and says, “I am here to ask you one question and one question only, and how you answer that question is how we, the Internal Revenue Service, will tax you for the rest of your life. Your answer is important, and we will only ask you one time. Are your ready to answer the question?”
The farmer answers hesitantly, “Yes I am. What is the question?”
The man says, “Here it is.
From this day forward for the rest of your life,
would you prefer to pay your taxes on your seeds,
or would you prefer to pay your taxes on the crops that you grow from those seeds?
“Please remember: how you answer is how we will tax you for the rest of your life.”
The farmer didn’t have to think even for a second. He said, “That’s easy. If its allowed, I would much rather pay taxes on my seeds than the crops that I harvest from those seeds.”
The man from the Internal Revenue Service made a notation in his notebook, closed it and replaced it in his briefcase. He took a last sip of his coffee, thanked the farmer, stood up and put on his hat, gloves and overcoat and headed for the front door.
When the man from the Internal Revenue Service got to the front door, he put his hand on the doorknob, paused, and turned to the farmer and asked if he could ask one last question.
The famer replied, “I would be happy to answer one last question.”
The man asked the farmer this question: “Why Aren’t You Doing With Your Money What You Are Asking Us To Do With Your Seeds?”
This is the question we all face when we invest our money.
How would you answer?
Should we be having a seeds vs. crops conversation? If so, call me.