John Soforic’s self-help book, The Wealthy Gardener: Life Lessons on Prosperity Between Father and Son, would make a useful tool for financial advisors seeking alternative methods to help clients recognize their financial priorities and define their retirement goals.

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but Soforic says, “clouds do rain down dollars.’’ His book— currently among the top five retirement planning books on Amazon—is part folksy, part hard-earned wisdom about how to reach financial independence. Soforic says he was not concerned about being called a workaholic or suffering from a lack of work-life balance; he was engaged in an intense pursuit of freedom and he wants readers to know how he did it.

Toward his goal of earning enough money by age 50 to be free of worry about paying the bills, Soforic had been a Chicago and Pittsburgh area-based chiropractor, and a buyer and seller of commercial real estate.

He has a daughter and a son; he financed his children’s college educations so they have no college loan debt, and he financed his wife’s return to college to earn her teaching degree.

Soforic tells two stories in each chapter, one fictional, the other non-fictional. Within these stories, which run about 350 pages, he offers what he calls lessons—about life, work, domesticity and earning enough money to be debt free and independent.

He describes his book’s format:

The Wealthy Gardener is a hybrid; it is half fiction and half non-fiction, opening with a fictional story followed by real life anecdotes. Why this format? I wanted to engage my son in many lessons on wealth, but I didn’t want to preach at him. A better way to do it then was by creating a parable.’’

He combines anecdotes about his experiences with the story of the wealthy gardener, an elderly man who has risen from humble farmer to the owner of a large farm, vineyard and winery that employ dozens of workers. Through sacrifice, saving and wise investments, the gardener—a surrogate for Soforic—has become a wealthy man.

As part of his public service commitment, the gardener meets with reformatory boys to discuss self-reliance and sacrifice, and to challenge them to think wisely about wealth. One of them will be the inheritor of the gardener’s wisdom.

In his dotage, the gardener writes “The 15 Virtues of Wealth,’’ which include simplicity, detachment, self discipline, vital engagement, spirituality, effectiveness, persistence, patience, sacrifice, self mastery, courage, commitment, accurate judgment, contribution and satisfaction.

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