The Golden Rules of Wealth (2 of 3)

RIGHT PLACE RIGHT TIME

After securing the right location, you must be careful to select the proper location. You may have been cut out for a hotel keeper, and they say it requires a genius to “know how to keep a hotel.” You might conduct a hotel like clock-work, and provide satisfactorily for five hundred guests every day; yet, if you should locate your house in a small village where there is no railroad communication or public travel, the location would be your ruin.

It is equally important that you do not commence business where there are already enough to meet all demands in the same occupation.

AVOID DEBT LIKE A PLAGUE

Young men starting in life should avoid running into debt. That’s a given. There is scarcely anything else that drags a person down like debt. It is a slavish position to get ill, yet we find many a young man, hardly out of his “teens,” running in debt (and yes, this has been going on for centuries as long as men and history could remember). He meets a chum and says, “Look at this: I have got trusted for a new suit of clothes.” He seems to look upon the clothes as so much given to him; well, it frequently is so, but, if he succeeds in paying and then gets trusted again, he is adopting a habit which will keep him in poverty through life. Debt robs a man of his self-respect and makes him almost despise himself.

Grunting and groaning and working for what he has eaten up or worn out, and now when he is called upon to pay up, he has nothing to show for his money; this is properly termed “working for a dead horse.” I do not speak of merchants buying and selling on credit, or of those who buy on credit in order to turn the purchase to a profit.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master. When you have it mastering you; when interest is constantly piling up against you, it will keep you down in the worst kind of slavery. But let money work for you, and you have the most devoted servant in the world. It is no “eye-servant.” There is nothing animate or inanimate that will work so faithfully as money when placed at interest, well secured. It works night and day, and in wet or dry weather.

So do not let it work against you; if you do there is no chance for success in life so far as money is concerned.

PERSEVERENCE IS REALLY ANOTHER WORD FOR SELF-RELIANCE

When a man is in the right path, he must persevere. I speak of this because there are some persons who are “born tired;” naturally lazy and possessing no self-reliance and no perseverance. But they can cultivate these qualities, as Davy Crockett said:

“This thing remember, when I am dead: Be sure you are right, then go ahead.”

It is this go-ahead addiction, this determination not to let the horrors or the blues take possession of you, so as to make you relax your energies in the struggle for independence, which you must cultivate.

How many have almost reached the goal of their ambition, but, losing faith in themselves, have relaxed their energies, and the golden prize has been lost forever.

It is, no doubt, often true, as Shakespeare says:

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get the prize. Remember the proverb of Solomon: “He becometh poor that dealt with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent makeith rich.”

Perseverance is sometimes but another word for self-reliance. Many persons naturally look on the dark side of life and borrow trouble. They are born so. Then they ask for advice, and they will be governed by one wind and blown by another and cannot rely upon themselves. Until you can get so that you can rely upon yourself, you need not expect to succeed.

Men who have met with pecuniary reverses, and absolutely committed suicide, because they thought they could never overcome their misfortune. But I have known others who have met more serious financial difficulties, and have bridged them over by simple perseverance, aided by a firm belief that they were doing justly, and that Providence would “overcome evil with good.”

You will see this illustrated in any sphere of life.

WHATEVER YOU DO, DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT

Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well now. The old proverb is full of truth and meaning, “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” Many a man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, while his neighbor remains poor for life, because he only half does it. Ambition, energy, industry, perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in business.

Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself. It won’t do to spend your time like Mr. Micawber, in waiting for something to “turn up.” To such men one of two things usually “turns up:” the poorhouse or the jail; for idleness breeds bad habits, and clothes a man in rags. The poor spendthrift vagabond says to a rich man:

“I have discovered there is enough money in the world for all of us, if it was equally divided; this must be done, and we shall all be happy together.”

“But,” was the response, “if everybody was like you, it would be spent in two months, and what would you do then?”

“Oh! Divide again; keep dividing, of course!”

I was recently reading in a London paper an account of a like philosophic pauper who was kicked out of a cheap boarding-house because he could not pay his bill, but he had a roll of papers sticking out of his coat pocket, which, upon examination, proved to be his plan for paying off the national debt of England without the aid of a penny.

People have got to do as Cromwell said: “not only trust in Providence, but keep the powder dry.” Do your part of the work, or you cannot succeed. Mahomet, one night, while encamping in the desert, overheard one of his fatigued followers remark: “I will lose my camel, and trust it to God!” “No, no, not so,” said the prophet, “tie thy camel, and trust it to God!” Do all you can for yourselves, and then trust to Providence, or luck, or whatever you please to call it, for the rest.

DEPEND UPON YOUR OWN PERSONAL EXERTIONS

The eye of the employer is often worth more than the hands of a dozen employees.

In the nature of things, an agent cannot be so faithful to his employer as to himself. Many who are employers will call to mind instances where the best employees have overlooked important points which could not have escaped their own observation as a proprietor. No man has a right to expect to succeed in life unless he understands his business, and nobody can understand his business thoroughly unless he learns it by personal application and experience. A man may be a manufacturer: he has got to learn the many details of his business personally; he will learn something every day, and he will find he will make mistakes nearly every day. And these very mistakes are helps to him in the way of experiences if he but heeds them. He will be like the Yankee tin-peddler, who, having been cheated as to quality in the purchase of his merchandise, said: “All right, there’s a little information to be gained every day; I will never be cheated in that way again.” Thus, a man buys his experience, and it is the best kind if not purchased at too dear a rate.

Among the maxims of the elder Rothschild was one, all apparent paradox:

“Be cautious and bold.” This seems to be a contradiction in terms, but it is not, and there is great wisdom in the maxim. It is, in fact, a condensed statement of what I have already said. It is to say; “you must exercise your caution in laying your plans but be bold in carrying them out.” A man who is all caution, will never dare to take hold and be successful; and a man who is all boldness, is merely reckless, and must eventually fail. A man may go on “‘change” and make fifty, or one hundred thousand dollars in speculating in stocks, at a single operation. But if he has simple boldness without caution, it is mere chance, and what he gains to-day he will lose to-morrow. You must have both the caution and the boldness, to insure success.

The Rothschilds have another maxim: “Never have anything to do with an unlucky man or place.” (This maxim is also discussed in the 48 Laws of Power). That is to say, never have anything to do with a man or place which never succeeds, because, although a man may appear to be honest and intelligent, yet if he tries this or that thing and always fails, it is on account of some fault or infirmity that you may not be able to discover but nevertheless which must exist.

There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street to-day, and another to-morrow, and so on, day after day: He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it. “Like causes produce like effects.” If a man adopts the proper methods to be successful, “luck” will not prevent him. If he fails, there are reasons for it, although, perhaps, he may not be able to see them.

USE THE BEST TOOLS

Men in engaging employees should be careful to get the best. Understand, you cannot have too good tools to work with, and there is no tool you should be so particular about as living tools. If you get a good one, it is better to keep him, than keep changing. He learns something every day; and you arc benefited by the experience he acquires. He is worth more to you this year than last, and he is the last man to part with, provided his habits are good, and he continues faithful. If, as he gets more valuable, he demands an exorbitant increase of salary; on the supposition that you can’t do without him, let him go. When and if ever you have such an employee, always discharge him; first, to convince him that his place may be supplied, and second, because he is good for nothing if he thinks he is invaluable and cannot be spared.

But you would keep him, if possible, in order to profit from the result of his experience. An important element in an employee is the brain. You can see bills up, “Hands Wanted,” but “hands” are not worth a great deal without “heads.”

Those men who have brains and experience are therefore the most valuable and not to be readily parted with; it is better for them, as well as yourself, to keep them, at reasonable advances in their salaries from time to time.

DON’T GET ABOVE YOUR BUSINESS

Young men after they get through their business training, or apprenticeship, instead of pursuing their avocation and rising in their business, will often lie about doing nothing. They say; “I have learned my business, but I am not going to be a hireling; what is the object of learning my trade or profession, unless I establish myself?'”

“Have you capital to start with?”

“No, but I am going to have it.”

“How are you going to get it?”

“I will tell you confidentially; I have a wealthy old aunt, and she will die pretty soon; but if she does not, I expect to find some rich old man who will lend me a few thousands to give me a start. If I only get the money to start with, I will do well.”

There is no greater mistake than when a young man believes he will succeed with borrowed money. And take note that this kind of conversation is still repeated even into the 21st century.

Why? Because every man’s experience coincides with that of Mr. Astor, who said, “it was more difficult for him to accumulate his first thousand dollars, than all the succeeding millions that made up his colossal fortune.” Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience. Give a boy twenty thousand dollars and put him in business, and the chances are that he will lose every dollar of it before he is a year older. Like buying a ticket in the lottery; and drawing a prize, it is “easy come, easy go.” He does not know the value of it; nothing is worth anything, unless it costs effort. Without self-denial and economy; patience and perseverance, and commencing with capital which you have not earned, you are not sure to succeed in accumulating. Young men, instead of “waiting for dead men’s shoes,” should be up and doing, for there is no class of persons who are so unaccommodating in regard to dying as these rich old people, and it is fortunate for the expectant heirs that it is so.

Nine out of ten of the rich men of our country today, started out in life as poor boys, with determined wills, industry, perseverance, economy and good habits. They went on gradually, made their own money and saved it; and this is the best way to acquire a fortune. Stephen Girard started life as a poor cabin boy and died worth nine million dollars. A.T. Stewart was a poor Irish boy; and he paid taxes on a million and a half dollars of income, per year. John Jacob Astor was a poor farm boy and died with millions of dollars. Cornelius Vanderbilt began life rowing a boat from Staten Island to New York; he presented our government with a steamship worth a million of dollars and died worth fifty million. “There is no royal road to learning,” says the proverb, and I may say it is equally true, “there is no royal road to wealth.” But I think there is a royal road to both. The road to learning is a royal one; the road that enables the student to expand his intellect and add every day to his stock of knowledge, until, in the pleasant process of intellectual growth, he is able to solve the most profound problems, to count the stars, to analyze every atom of the globe, and to measure the firmament this is a regal highway, and it is the only road worth traveling.

So in regards to wealth: go on in confidence, study the rules, and above all things, study human nature; for “the proper study of mankind is man,” and you will find that while expanding the intellect and the muscles, your enlarged experience will enable you every day to accumulate more and more principal, which will increase itself by interest and otherwise, until you arrive at a state of independence. You will find, as a general thing, that the poor boys get rich and the rich boys get poor.

For instance, a rich man at his decease, leaves a large estate to his family. His eldest sons, who have helped him earn his fortune, known by experience the value of money; and they take their inheritance and add to it. The separate portions of the young children are placed at interest, and the little fellows are patted on the head, and told a dozen times a day, “you are rich; you will never have to work, you can always have whatever you wish, for you were born with a golden spoon in your mouth.” The young heir soon finds out what that means; he has the finest dresses and playthings; he is crammed with sugar candies and almost “killed with kindness,” and he passes from school to school, petted and flattered. He becomes arrogant and self-conceited, abuses his teachers, and carries everything with a high hand. He knows nothing of the real value of money, having never earned any; but he knows all about the “golden spoon” business. At college, he invites his poor fellow-students to his room, where he “wines and dines” them. He is cajoled and caressed, and called a glorious good follow, because he is so lavish of his money. He gives his game suppers, drives his fast horses, invites his chums to fetes and parties, determined to have lots of “good times.” He spends the night in frolics and debauchery, and leads off his companions with the familiar song, “we won’t go home till morning.” He gets them to join him in pulling down signs, taking gates from their hinges and throwing them into back yards and horse-ponds. If the police arrest them, he knocks them down, is taken to the lockup, and joyfully foots the bills.

“Ah! my boys,” he cries, “what is the use of being rich, if you can’t enjoy yourself?”

He might more truly say, “if you can’t make a fool of yourself;” but he is “fast,” hates slow things, and doesn’t “see it.” Young men loaded down with other people’s money are almost sure to lose all they inherit, and they acquire all sorts of bad habits which, in most cases, ruin them in health, purse and character. In this country, one generation follows another, and the poor of today are rich in the next generation, or the third. Their experience leads them on, and they become rich, and they leave vast riches to their young children. These children, having been reared in luxury, are inexperienced and get poor; and after long experience another generation comes on and gathers up riches again in turn.

And thus “history repeats itself,” and happy is he who by listening to the experience of others avoids the rocks and shoals on which so many have been wrecked.

In this country, the man makes the business. No matter whether he is a blacksmith, a shoemaker, a farmer, banker or lawyer, so long as his business is legitimate, he may be a gentleman. So, any “legitimate” business is a double blessing it helps the man engaged in it and helps others. The Farmer supports his own family, but he also benefits the merchant or mechanic who needs the products of his farm. The tailor not only makes a living by his trade, but he also benefits the farmer, the clergyman and others who cannot make their own clothing. But all these classes often may be gentlemen.

The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation. The college-student who was about graduating, said to an old lawyer:

“I have not yet decided which profession I will follow. Is your profession full?”

“The basement is much crowded, but there is plenty of room up-stairs,” was the witty and truthful reply.

No profession, trade, or calling, is overcrowded in the upper story. Wherever you find the most honest and intelligent merchant or banker, or the best lawyer, the best doctor, the best clergyman, the best shoemaker, carpenter, or anything else, that man is most sought for, and has always enough to do. As a nation, Americans are too superficial— they are striving to get rich quickly, and do not generally do their business as substantially and thoroughly as they should, but whoever excels all others in his own line, if his habits are good and his integrity undoubted, cannot fail to secure abundant patronage, and the wealth that naturally follows. Let your motto then always be “Excelsior,” for by living up to it there is no such word as fail.

The Golden Rules of Wealth (3 of 3) – https://www.mastersofmoney.com/thegoldenrulesofwealth3of3/

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