Benjamin Franklin’s – Poor Richard’s Way to Wealth

Here, some good old advices by Benjamin Franklin.

Three simple concept: be frugal, be industrious, be wealthy.

Enjoy

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Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth (1758).

[The classic Franklin summary of his advice from Poor Richard’s Almanac.]

In 1732 I first published my Almanac under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly called Poor Richard’s Almanac. I endeavoured to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand, that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand. And observing that it was generally read, (scarce any neigbbourbood in the province being without it,) I considered it as a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who bought Scarcely any other books. I therefore filled all the little spaces, that occurred between the remarkable days in the Calendar, with proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly, as (to use here one of those proverbs) It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright”

Courteous Reader, I have heard, that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by others. Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate, to you. Istopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants’ goods. The hour of the sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean, old man, with white locks, “Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Will not these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to?” Father Abraham stood up, and replied, “If you would have my Advice, Iwill give it you in short; for A word to the wise is enough., as Poor Richard says.” They joined in desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows.

“Friends,” said he, “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; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says.

“I. 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, as Poor Richard says. But dost thou love life, then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of, as Poor Richard says. How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep, forgetting, that The sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that There will be sleeping enough in the grave, as Poor Richard says.

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest prodigality; since, as he elsewhere tells us, 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; and He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while Laziness 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, as Poor Richard says.

“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; then help, hands, for I have no lands; or, if I have, they are smartly taxed. He that hath a trade hath an estate; and he that hath a calling, hath an office of profit and honor, as Poor Richard says; but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious, we shall never starve; for, At the working man’s house hunger looks in, but dares not enter. Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them. What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich relation left you a legacy, Diligence is the mother of good luck, and God gives all things to industry. Then plough deep while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and to keep. Work while it is called to-day, for you know not how much you may be hindered to-morrow. One, to-day is worth two to-morrows, as Poor Richard says; and further, Never leave that till to-morrow, which you can do to-day. If you were a servant, would you not be, ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? Be ashamed to catch yourself idle, when there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, your country, and your king. Handle your tools without mittens; remember, that The cat in gloves catches no mice, as Poor Richard says. It is true there is much to be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for Constant dropping wears away stones; and By diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and Little strokes fell great oaks.

“Methinks I hear some of you say, ‘Must a man afford himself no leisure?’ I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; for A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. Many, without labor, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock; whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. Fly pleasures, and they will follow you. The diligent spinner has a large shift; and now I have a sheep and a cow, everybody bids me good morrow.

“II. 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; for In the affairs of this world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it; . . . .

“III. So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one’s own business; 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; and

Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting
.

If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting. The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes.

“Away then with your expensive follies, and you will not then have so much cause to complain of bard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for

Women and wine, game and deceit,
Make the wealth small and the want great
.

And further, What maintains one vice would bring up two children. You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, -diet a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little’ entertainment now and then, can be no great matter; but remember, Many a little makes a mickle. Beware of little expenses; A small leak will sink a great ship, as Poor Richard says and again, . . . .

Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries and knick-knacks. You call them goods; but, if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less than they cost; but, if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what Poor Richard says; Buy what thou. hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries. . . . 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, as Poor Richard says.

“These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences; and yet, only because they look pretty, how many want to have them! By these, and other extravagances, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who, through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case it appears plainly, that 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, as Poor Richard says; . . . .

“But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities? We are offered by the terms of this sale, six months’ credit; and that, perhaps, has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah! think what you do when, I you run I in debt you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and, by degrees, come to lose your veracity, and sink into base, downright lying; for The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt, as Poor Richard says; . . . .

“What would you think of that prince, or of that government, who should issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude? Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical? And yet you are about to put yourself under such tyranny, when you run in debt for such dress ! 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. When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but, as Poor Richard says, Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times. . . . .

“IV. This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and prudence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted, without the blessing of Heaven; and, therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

 

Source: The Works of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Jared Sparks. Vol. 2. (Boston, 1836), 2:92-103

The Paradox of discipline and freedom

What is Discipline? Why it is so important in your path to Freedom?

Here is a very interesting post from Mark Robert Casper ( source: http://www.markrobertcasper.com/discipline-freedom/ ), about the importance of the discipline.

In a 2014 interview with Charlie Rose, actor Jake Gyllenhal shared the biggest secret to his stellar performance in the film Nightcrawler:

I’ve learned that freedom is on the other side of discipline.

I am utterly captivated by this idea, mostly because it’s so counter-intuitive. We normally associate discipline with routines, regulations, and restrictions. And we normally associate freedom with a total absence of all three. And yet, even Aristotle once said:

Through discipline comes freedom.

It seems that regardless of the industry, the best and the brightest are all saying the same thing: true freedom only comes from disciplined, hard work. But how exactly does it work? And what does that mean, anyway?

Let’s press in by examining one art form: jazz.

Discipline and Freedom Among Jazz Artists

Of all musical genres, jazz is perhaps most famous for its improvisation. Great jazz artists like Miles Davis and John Coltrane were revered for their ability to improvise on the spot. To the outsider, their improvisation appears to be absolute freedom—the musician is no longer bound by the structure of a song. However, there is a hidden discipline beneath the greatest jazz improvisers.

Scott Sauls points it out in his book, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties:

Even among jazz artists, hard bop musicians were particularly dramatic in their insistence that freedom and discipline were compatible views and that the extreme pursuit of individuality in matters of improvisation and style depended on the delimitations of a compositional framework, a sensitive handling of group interplay, and the complete control of one’s instrument. Paradoxically, the jazz artists who were most fascinated with extending the boundaries of freedom were also fanatics for discipline—a discipline that could take many forms.

In order for jazz artists to experience the freedom of improvisation, they first have to master the scales, chords, and progressions through rigorous, disciplined practice.

Discipline and Freedom Among Writers

Now let’s look at writers. Since my first Language Arts class in elementary school, English teachers have hammered one idea into my head: You must know the structure and rules of the English language! You must learn proper grammar—how to write a sentence and when to use a comma!

And yet, in those same classes, we read works such as The Old Man and the Sea, As I Lay Dying, and The Road. As I read them, I noticed one thing: They all broke the rules! But every time I protested, a smart teacher would say, “Yes, they broke the rules. But you better believe they mastered the rules before they broke them.”

It’s true. The writers who successfully break from convention are able to do it only because they first mastered the rules of grammar and the structure of stories. And how did they master the rules? Through discipline and hard work—hour after hour, day after day, rewrite after rewrite. They were relentless about honing their craft.

William Faulkner famously quipped:

I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately, I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.

Perhaps even more famous for laboring over his craft was James Joyce. There’s a famous story about a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing.

“Yes,” Joyce replied happily. “I wrote three sentences.”

A Paradox, A Promise

These are just a few examples of how discipline leads to freedom, but there are literally hundreds more. Regardless of your field of work, the notion holds true. Are you longing to experience more freedom in your work and life? Press into the discipline. Hone your craft. And remember that freedom is on the other side.


Leviathan Wakes. A personal finance Blog

Hello everybody.

I’m Alex 37 Y/o, lawyer, married, one daughter, living in the E.U., and this is the story of my personal journey to freedom and financial independence.

Too long I was stuck in a unmeaning life, working hard without an objective or motivation, spending my hard gained money to buy useless crap to (falsely) feel good.

I will explain you the basic steps I’ve done to make my life more simple and meaningful.

I will tell you what I still have to do, my achievement and my mistakes, what I’m doing to fight my personal battle to reach the real Freedom.

But, first of all, let’s explain what is, for me, the concept of “Freedom”?

Freedom is the power to have a choice.

You will be free, one day, when you’ll have the possibility to choose how to spend your time, where to live, how much you have to work.

Yes. I love my work, I love to wear my toga and going to argue cases in the Courthouse, and my idea of freedom doesn’t include the concept of an early retirement.

If you think that a (relatively young) lawyer makes a lot of money and drive a big expensive Mercedes, you are absolutely wrong.

Mine is a profession that will give some sort of economic satisfaction only on the long run (after 15-20 y), so, for now, I have to hold fast and go on.

I started in 2018, when I casually watched a video of J.L Collins… and discovered a new world.

Only a few principles to change your life.

  1. Avoid debt
  2. Earn more than you spend
  3. Invest the surplus.

The simplicity of the new mind-approach simply astonished me.

Thank you, Jim.