Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin for his ingenious inventions. In fact, if it wasn't for his bifocal idea, I wouldn't be able to write this article.
However, Franklin was more than just good looks (he was a renowned ladies man, didn't you know?) and a clever idealist; he was a financial mastermind.
Writing the essay, “The Way to Wealth,” with famous proverbs from Poor Richard’s Almanac, Franklin established principles every Millennial should follow to this day to pursue financial stability and future wealth.
Think of it this way: Franklin came up with a way for you to have your cake and eat it, too.
Nevertheless, I present to you the five keys to financial wealth by the smartest man on earth, Benjamin Franklin:
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Hard work pays off. If you haven't read the article, “6 Reasons To Start Your Day Before 6 AM,” go ahead and check it out because it is precisely what Franklin was talking about.
Time is one of the most precious things in life. Lost time can never be found again, so wake up each morning with a purpose and be diligent with life because in the end, life is simply a matter of time.
“There are no gains, without pains.”
Too often, our generation falls into a pattern of laziness and desire. Living in a world where products are constantly flashing before our eyes and trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” we forget time and time again to live within our means.
Moreover, we get stuck in a mindset where we want to work as little as possible and make quick cash, often falling for get-rich-quick schemes.
Franklin advises that that is no way to live. You must work hard at your trade so hunger may look in but dare not enter. In life, there is no such thing as luck, only diligence, which serves as the mother of all luck.
I'm sure you’ve have heard the phrase, “all work and no play,” before, and I assure you, it was derived from Franklin.
Despite how it sounds, it is not intended to be discouraging, but rather, quite the opposite. Use the hard work put forth as encouragement to reach a goal.
Industry will bring comfort to your life, so by working hard, you will, therefore, play hard. Just don't forget to thank the old guy when you can finally afford that trip to Miami you've always wanted to take.
“If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.”
Franklin advised that the only person you can really trust is yourself. You cannot put all of your assets in the hands of another person and you must oversee everything.
This isn’t to say there is no trust for mankind. However, one small ounce of neglect can result in a domino effect of negative outcomes.
In essence, if you treat your partner like a servant, mischief will ensue, and suddenly, things may not go as planned.
“If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as of getting.”
This is by the far the most important lesson, no matter the financial status a person has. It happens to everyone; we spend a pretty penny on things that we don't need nor ever use.
To put this in perspective, take a look at your closet: How many of those clothes do you actually wear regularly? Yet, we have to have them.
Soon, our necessities take over our needs and we fall into poverty — it is the classic tale. Many go to bed hungry and deprived for the satin or silk they lay their heads on each night.
These goods cause more harm than good. Buying such extravagances becomes an addiction and causes a ripple effect. For one good bought, 10 more will follow.
Remember: These artificial goods cannot take the place of pure happiness, health or ease pain. Rather, they are mere distractions and attempts to fill holes that cannot be suppressed with material goods.
This led Franklin to his final point, that as soon as the funds run out to pay for these superficial goods, people look to others for financial assistance, which is a life-altering situation no one should put him or herself in.
“He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.”
The fact of the matter is that when you run into debt, you give another person power of your liberty. Three things happen when you run into debt:
- Shame washes over you when you have to face your creditor. Whether it be because you spent too much money on the superficialities or not, we are prideful creatures by natures and ones who run with money on our minds. So, to say we cannot afford something, after spending so much time trying to keep up with society’s ways leaves us ashamed.
- Fear will wash over you like there’s no tomorrow. That certain phone number keeps calling or a visitor coming to your door to collect your debt leaves you fearful because you know you have nothing to give them.
- The lies begin to develop. They start out as excuses of why you cannot pay this month and soon develop into straight-up lies when in reality, you are just trying to convince yourself of these made up fantasies.
Lying, Franklin said, was the biggest burden of debt a person could carry, more so than that of money because “lying rides upon debt's back.”
The creditors, however, have better memories than those of the debtors and will not forget a penny, so do not be foolish in thinking you can outsmart them.
In the end, they have control over your liberty, and if you do not get your sh*t together, they will have it over your life.
Life is made up of ticking seconds turning into minutes turning into days and then years. The point is, it is precious and each person on this earth, like a snowflake, is not alike.
We do not know when we will pass or for what reason, but we can make the time here as pleasant as possible.
I think that is what Franklin was really getting at: time.
By following those principles and becoming as wise as Franklin was, the time you spend on this earth can be joyous.
It can be full of spending money on experiences and things required for survival so you can live a life full of wellness without the burden of debt and goods that clutter up your home and offer no real benefits.
Subscribe to Elite Daily's official newsletter, The Edge, for more stories you don't want to miss.