Personal-finance lessons from George Washington
Many of his quotes apply to money management.
This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.
He led our fair nation to freedom, and his face stares at us from the ubiquitous $1 bill. He's none other than George Washington, the first president of the United States.
As one of our first elder
statesmen, Washington left a wealth of memorable quotes, many of which
apply to personal finance. He spoke much about integrity and character
as well as discipline and service -- characteristics important in
establishing a sound personal-finance life.
Let's take a look at the following nine quotes:
"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."
With whom you spend your time affects how you behave, and that's
certainly true when it comes to spending habits. If you want to save,
hang out with frugal people. If you want to be financially savvy, hang
out with financially savvy people. How many stories have you heard
about people looking to save money but always going out to expensive
restaurants and trendy bars with their friends? There are a lot of ways
to have fun that cost very little. (Have a board-game night.) If you
want to save up a few bucks, hang out with friends who appreciate not going out to expensive places. Don't fight the current; just find a more favorable current.
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." When
applied to personal finance, this speaks to how you should select any
sort of adviser. Finances are very personal and, while you should give
each adviser a chance, be very particular whom you trust with your
"Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your
pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and
a season passes away unimproved." The foundation upon which your
personal finances are built has to be strong. If you have credit card
debt, priority one should be erasing that debt because it's a bad seed
that will keep your money from growing. Keep your roots strong and your
tree will grow tall and wide.
"Experience teaches us that it
is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is
to dislodge them after they have got possession." It is far easier
to prevent yourself from going into debt than it is to get yourself out
of it. The unfortunate thing is that those who fall into credit card
debt often don't recognize the hole they've begun digging for
themselves. However, it bears noting that nothing is insurmountable if
you show the courage and discipline to face it head on. While it's
easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves, it's not impossible
to dislodge them.
"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." Take a look at Enron. Money corrupts. Need I say more?
hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what
I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an Honest
Man." Honesty is paramount.
"Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse." The
importance of philanthropy comes shining through in this quote. It's
important to lend a hand to those who are in need. First off, the world
works in mysterious ways and we're all in this fight together, so why
not help fellow human beings out when they need it? You never know when
your kindness will be repaid in kind -- and giving always gives back
immediately with a nice warm fuzzy feeling.
"My mother was
the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I
attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and
physical education I received from her." Remember your roots and
how you came into this world. You could be the richest man in the
world, but you got your start because of your mother, and you were
raised by your family. Don't ever forget that.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Considering it comes from our first president, I think we can take this last one at face value.
Other articles of interest at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:
- 50 fun facts about cold hard cash
- Citi CashReturns: We got a $500-plus rewards check
- 2008 tax rebate stimulus package explained
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