Is your financial life fireworks and bombs bursting in air? Or is it more of a steady drumbeat toward victory? The campaign to become financially independent can be a lot like staging a revolution: it takes sacrifice, determination and courage before you achieve success and freedom.
Here are four of our favorite founding fathers and the lessons their lives can teach us about how to become financially independent:
Who doesn’t know the legend of a young George ‘fessing up to chopping down a cherry tree’ Washington. General Washington is still revered today as much for his honesty as for his role in winning the revolution. It takes that kind of courageous truthfulness to help liberate yourself from the oppressive rule of debt. To pay down debt, you need to be honest with yourself about the mistakes you made that got you into too much debt in the first place.
He’s on the $100 bill and maybe that’s because when it came to money, Ben was one sharp dude. Some of our best-loved axioms about money come from Mr. Franklin, including “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and “rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.” An inventor, businessman and statesman, Franklin was always thinking things through. It takes that kind of advanced planning, introspection and consistent analysis to know what steps you need to take in order to achieve financial independence.
Best known as the founding father who actually wrote the Declaration of Independence and much of the Constitution, Jefferson was a very verbal critic of overuse of credit and too much debt. He was also a strong proponent of the concepts of individual responsibility, education and action. “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today” is one of his most famous quotes. To manage your money, you need to accept responsibility for your decisions, educate yourself to make the best possible decision and then take action.
Our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton authored much of the economic policies that launched our nation’s financial life. He was instrumental in the creation of a national bank. The takeaway from Hamilton’s life is the importance of establishing savings. Ben’s quote about saving may be more famous, but Hamilton’s guiding hand helped create the system that allows us to save for our dreams as well as for our necessities.