“Life is a cabaret, old chum!” is a catchy tune from desperate times. By comparison, a three-tier bubbling fountain produces a softer sound that can endure through good times and bad.
The top pool holds enough for daily consumption, the middle pool stores what is needed to meet infrequent major demands, and the bottom pool accumulates what will be needed whenever the flow stops.
While the fountain is flowing, surplus from each pool overflows to the pool below, or back to nature in the case of the bottom pool. When the flow ceases, what is left in the three pools is all there will be available at that fountain.
The fountain is an obvious metaphor for cash flow to cover our daily bills, then the big expenses like a house or car, and finally retirement. But the metaphor can expand to attune our fountain’s performance to whatever we value in life—like children and family, community participation, education, travel, contentment and maybe a legacy.
However large or small the vision, there must be balance among the three pools; if we live life as a cabaret, nothing is left to flow into the other two pools…
Then what, old chum?