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Benjamin Franklin on Debt

Benjamin Franklin is one of the most remarkable and influential Americans of any generation. His wisdom touched many areas and his basic financial advice was superb.

At one point in his life, as he returned from a stint in Paris, he wrote a four point plan of conduct. As the first part of that plan, he addressed debt. He wrote:

“Let me, therefore, make some resolutions, and form some scheme of action, that, henceforth, I may live in all respects like a rational creature.

1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, till I have paid what I owe.

This advice still is good today. Debt is one of the biggest problems Americans face. We are encouraged on a daily basis to accumulate debt – to buy bigger houses than we can afford, to buy a new car because we can get 0% interest, to utilize our Mastercards, Visa cards and Discover cards and to go out and buy things to help the economy.

This is NOT good advice. Each of us has a responsibility to ourselves to live debt free and to live within our income.

If paying off our debt requires “extreme frugality” so be it. Pay off that debt – and you’ll find that life is better and less stressful.

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