Jun 192012

Benjamin Franklin is widely known as one of the founding fathers of the US, a great diplomat, and has his face on the $100 bill. But not everyone knows about how frugal he was too (^_-) . Recently saw this article which tells a great deal about how he handles his finances. Much of his lessons still hold up in today’s world. Below are just some points. Red text are Franklin’s quotes.

image credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ben_franklin

– Understand the true value of things.
At 7 years of age he overpaid for a whistle and subsequently realized that a person should always put things into perspective and not sacrifice too much of one’s money, time, liberty, virtue, or friends just to attain something that in the end is actually insignificant. Today, most people don’t experience buyer’s remorse until they are adults. Ben learned his lesson when he was just a kid. Genius.
“I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles”

– Be Self-Sufficient and Invest in Yourself
When he began his career in the printing industry he learned to cook at home so he didn’t have to spend money eating out often. (Sounds like most PF bloggers I know) He used his savings to buy books and taught himself how to make his own equipment rather than buying them. Doing things for yourself saves money and empowers you to grow as an individual. This is why if you want to be rich you have to learn how to make money on your own, not ask other people for it.
“If you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas”

– Get Rich Slowly
Success and riches have to be realized with patience, hard work, and discipline. It took Franklin a decade of thrift, learning, and apprenticeship to slowly build the experience, money, and confidence needed to finally open his own business.
“To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of suddenly growing rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty”

-Time = Money
When a man thought a dollar was too expensive for a book he asked the clerk to call the boss. When Franklin came out from the press-room in the back of the store the man asked him if what’s the cheapest price Franklin will take for the book. “One dollar and a quarter,” answered Franklin. “One dollar and quarter! Why, your clerk asked me only a dollar just now.” “True,” said Franklin, “and I could have better afforded to take a dollar than to leave my work.” Pwned!

-Money Isn’t Everything
Don’t make money for money’s sake. Use it instead to give you the opportunity to be the kind of person you want to be. Franklin retired early with enough wealth to do the things he loved like reading, studying, making experiments, and…
“converse at large with such ingenious and worthy men, as are pleased to honor me with their friendship or acquaintance, on such points as may produce something for the common benefit of mankind, uninterrupted by the little cares and fatigues of business.”

Much respect for Mr. Franklin, the personal finance guru of his time. He contributed much to society and did many incredible things in his lifetime. But teaching people about money is often one overlooked, however it’s probably the one area where modern society can learn the most from. Readers, let’s learn from his wisdom so we can all achieve financial freedom and retire early too (=^_^=)

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Jeremy @ Modest Money
06/19/2012 8:23 am

A true genius. The quote about razors was quite interesting since that’s essentially the basis for the line about teaching a man to fish. The $1.25 book price quote was awesome too. These days I doubt any boss would dare pull that line though. Most would rather be a good guy and accept a lower price just to get some kind of profit and have it done with.

Liquid Independence
06/20/2012 4:02 am

How times have changed. As a consumer I think I prefer how businesses work today. Was able to buy my car at a 10% discount from the listing price a couple years ago.

L Bee
06/19/2012 12:50 pm

LOVE this.I’m a huge history buff and BF fan-some things never go out style, like being money savvy.

Liquid Independence
06/20/2012 4:12 am
Reply to  L Bee

Right on. These fundamental financial lessons are timeless.

06/20/2012 5:46 am

Great post! It reminded me of how much I loved history in high school (I need to find more time to read nowadays). It’s great to see that the things that pf bloggers talk about today are not new ideas…they are tried and true.

Liquid Independence
06/20/2012 5:54 am

American history is amazing. Wish we learned more about it in high school here. Unfortunately our past is not nearly as interesting. Can’t remember the last time I watched a movie based on Canadian history lol.

Julie @ Freedom 48
Julie @ Freedom 48
06/20/2012 4:11 pm

Some great rules to live by! I like the last one – don’t make money just to make money… make money doing something that fulfills you and allows you to be who you are. I think the extreme “money hungry” folks should learn that lesson. My nephew makes a lot of what I call “dirty money”.

Liquid Independence
06/20/2012 4:16 pm

Exactly, we shouldn’t let money control our lives. It should be the other way around.

06/21/2012 6:00 pm

Great book about this topic – The Rules of Wealth by Richard Templar – Guarenteed to make you think differently about money.

Liquid Independence
06/21/2012 6:08 pm
Reply to  Phil

Thanks for sharing. Just looked it up on amazon.com. Starts at $120 for a new copy, wow must be a great book :). I’ll check if my library has it first.

06/22/2012 3:31 am

Holy Cow!!! I bought mine from a discount online retailer for less than $10 with free delivery about 4 yrs ago… face value number on the back is $19.99 Cdn… It’s a good book, but i’d hold out until you find it cheap.

06/22/2012 3:56 am

Once an uncle told me, “Money is much powerful but money is not everything.”

06/26/2012 5:04 pm

I’m a big fan of Mr. Franklin’s wisdom. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” — Benjamin Franklin

Liquid Independence
06/26/2012 5:06 pm
Reply to  Shilpan

hey hey, nice quote. I saw that on your blog earlier today.

07/02/2012 6:46 pm

Your blog looks fabulous. I love this new version. Keep up the great work.

Liquid Independence
07/03/2012 9:59 pm
Reply to  Shilpan

Thanks 🙂 I’ve had it for awhile now. Still a little rough around the edges but I agree it’s better than before.