Are you a grasshopper or an ant? - MoneySense

Are you a grasshopper or an ant?

Psychologists know that we’re all different. Tests abound to help us learn to understand ourselves. But it’s not just psychologists who have a handle on the human condition; philosophers and authors do to.


Harken back to Aesop and how bang on he was when describing some of our most basic characteristics. You know the story of the grasshopper and the ant, right? Well, have you given any thought to what you are?

Grasshoppers don’t save; ants do. Ants know that the bounty of summer is followed by the deprivation of winter; grasshoppers never think that far ahead. Ants know if you don’t have something stashed away for those cold, barren days, you’re going to have an empty tummy; grasshoppers figure something will turn up. (They end up dead!)

One of the most basic differences between grasshoppers and ants is that grasshoppers don’t plan and ants do. Grasshoppers are of the opinion that bad things don’t happen to good insects, and that you have to live for today. Ants have longer memories: they know nests get raided, sugar can be in short supply and the queen will have their heads if she doesn’t have enough to eat and to feed all her babies. If you’re an ant you know your larvae aren’t going to get to university if you don’t help them by setting up an education savings plan the minute they hatch.

Grasshoppers love their toys; ants love their freedom of choice. Sure a big-screen TV is nice. But ants know that stuff doesn’t replace options when it comes to dealing with changes in the economic weather. If an ant loses his job or gets sick, having a stash of corn at the ready means he won’t have to panic. In the meantime, that grasshopper will be wondering how much he can get for his year-old snowmobile.