Benjamin Franklin’s image is indelibly printed not only within the American psyche, but also on the largest issue of currency printed by the U.S. Treasury – the $100 bill. It would be hard to choose a more appropriate founding father to feature on the $100 bill, seeing as how prior to his tenure as one of the greatest and most famous statesmen of the American Revolution, Franklin was the founder and proprietor of a printing shop.
It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that allowed Franklin to build wealth, serve his community, and create a better world for future generations. But Ben Franklin didn’t just leave the world his myriad of inventions or a fledgling country called the United States of America – he also left a great deal of personal wisdom and advice from his many writings. And some of his best advice is financial.
Here are five of our favorite pearls of wisdom from Franklin, and what you can learn from them.
1. “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Franklin’s most famous personal finance quote isn’t actually quite accurate. Quantitatively, when you consider that most people calculate their earnings prior to taxes, a penny saved is actually worth more than a penny earned. Why? Because taxes reduce your actual take home pay. If you earn $10 an hour, you will likely only see around $7.50 after taxes. Therefore, if you can cut your expenses by $10, it actually results in saving more than 1 hour’s worth of your take home wage.
- The lesson: Saving money is the number one key to building wealth and becoming financially successful.
2. “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
Investing in yourself is just as important as saving for the future. In fact, although Franklin is also attributed with the saying, “early to bed, early to rise, keeps a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” Franklin was known to frequently burn the midnight oil studying languages which included French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. This gained knowledge served him and the colonies well in his travels soliciting support from the French during the American revolution, paying dividends he could have never expected. Franklin’s life teaches that success is not only born from hard work, but also from diligent study.
- The lesson: Never stop learning. If you have a chance to take a class, or further your education, go for it. Better yet, study things that interest you on your own time. A library card is free!