The Financial Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

I am unexpectedly traveling to Washington DC today and find myself without much time to write. Therefore I thought I would take a short intermission from my usual writing and instead share an excerpt from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. I just began reading this book and have been struck by the nuggets of knowledge including a remarkable amount of insight into financial awareness. Without further ado, the excerpt:

"I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was under for the printing-house. In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid the apprearances to the contrary. I dressed plain and was seen at no places of idle diversion. I never went out a-fishing or shooting; a book indeed sometimes debauched me from my work, but that was seldom, was private, and gave no scandal; and to show that I was not above m business, I sometimes brought home the paper I purchased at the stores through the streets on a wheelbarrow."

Franklin makes clear that he believes greatly in being frugal, a theme which he carries throughout the autobiography. However, he recognizes that he values deeply reading, books and education and is willing to spend money to pursue these values. Financial awareness helped a man who came from modest means to become one of our most famous founding fathers.



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