Ben Franklin: Not Just A Pretty Face on the Hundred Dollar Bill.

Who knew that one of the founding fathers of our nation knew about finances and really watched his coins? I had idea. If you knew then you should have let me know before now. I took a recent trip to Philly during Spring Break and really discovered an entire side of Franklin that I find intriguing. I feel like now more than ever there are many bloggers and podcasters who have great knowledge on acquiring wealth and maintenance of wealth. Well, back in the day, Franklin was the blogger/podcaster of his time. He wrote financial articles for the Almanac that was published under a pseudonym. He clearly wasn’t looking for fame or notoriety. There was a small hand held book being sold in all of the gift shops titled, “The Way to Wealth” written by Franklin (1758) and it is chock full of verses that we might have grown up with about spending and saving. There is a book version that sells for under $5. It’s also sold on ibooks for about $3 or $4 but most importantly, there is a free version online and on ibooks. The free version is not fancy and translated but Franklin would have been proud if you were frugal and translated the Old English yourself.

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Here are some of my favorite quotes from “The Way to Wealth”:

  1. …the taxes are indeed very heavy, and, if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly…
  2. It would be thought a hard government, that should tax its people one-tenth part of their time, to be employed in its service; but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears; while the used key is always bright…
  3. Lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough, always proves little enough. Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose; so by diligence shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all easy…
  4. He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; whileLaziness travels so slowly, that Poverty soon overtakes him. Drive thy business, let not that drive thee; and Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,
  5. So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? We may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves. Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hopes will die fasting. There are no gains without pains…
  6. But with our industry we must likewise be steady, settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; . . . Trusting too much to others’ care is the ruin of many…
  7. but to these we must add frugality if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not bow to save as be gets, keep his nose all his life to the grindstone, and die not worth a groat at last.”, A fat kitchen makes a lean will.
  8. Beware of little expenses; A small leak will sink a great ship.
  9. Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly and half-starved their families. Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, put out the kitchen fire.
  10. A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees, as Poor Richard says. . . . But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice. If you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; for, he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing,
  11. Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in gaol till you shall be able to pay him.

 

Philadelphia is gorgeous by the way.

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