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" Every boy should realize, in starting out, that he can never accumulate money unless he acquires the habit of saving," said Russell Sage. " Even if he can save only a few cents at the beginning, it is better than saving nothing at all; and he will find, as the months go on, that it becomes easier for him to lay by a part of his earnings. It is surprising how fast an account in a savings bank can be made to grow, and the boy who starts one and keeps it up stands a good chance of enjoying a prosperous old age. Some people who spend every cent of their income on their living expenses are always bewailing the fact that they have never become rich.

They pick out some man who is known to have made a fortune and speak of him as being `lucky.' There is practically no such thing as luck in business, and the boy who depends upon it to carry him through is very likely not to get through at all. The men who have made a success of their lives are men who started out right when they were boys. They studied while at school, and when they went to work, they didn't expect to be paid wages for loafing half the time. They weren't always on the lookout for an ` easy snap' and they forged ahead, not waiting always for the opportunities that never came, and bewailing the supposed fact that times are no longer what they used to be."

"A young man may have many friends," says Sir Thomas Lipton, " but he will find none so steadfast, so constant, so ready to respond to his wants, so capable of pushing him ahead, as a little leather-covered book, with the name of a bank on the cover. Saving is the first great principle of success. It creates independence, it gives a young man standing, it fills him with vigor, it stimulates him - with proper energy; in fact, it brings to him the best part of any success, - happiness and contentment."

It is estimated that if a man will begin at twenty years of age to lay by twenty-six cents every working day, investing at seven per cent compound interest, he will at seventy years of age have amassed thirty-two thousand dollars.

"Economy is wealth."This proverb has been repeated to most of us until we are either tired of it or careless of it, but it is well to remember that a saying becomes a proverb because of its truth and significance. Many a man has proved that if economy is not actual wealth, it is, in many cases, potentially so.

Professor Marshall, the noted English economist, estimates that $500,000,000 is spent annually by the British working classes for things that do nothing to make their lives nobler or happier. At a meeting of the British Association, the president, in an address to the economic section, expressed his belief that the simple item of food-waste alone would justify the above-mentioned estimate. One potent cause of waste today is that very many of the women do not know how to buy economically, and are neither passable cooks nor good housekeepers. Edward Atkinson estimated that in the United States the waste from bad cooking alone is over a hundred million dollars a year!

"Provided he has some ability and good sense to start with, is thrifty, honest, and economical," said Philip D. Armour, " there is no reason why any young man should not accumulate money and attain so-called success in life." When asked to what qualities he attributed his own success, Mr. Armour said " I think that thrift and economy had much to do with it. I owe much to my mother's training and to a good line of Scotch ancestors, who have always been thrifty and economical."

"A young man should cultivate the habit of always saving something," said the late Marshall Field, " however small his income."

It was by living up to this principle that Mr. Field became the richest and most successful merchant in the world. When asked by an interviewer, whom I sent to him on one occasion, what he considered the turning point in his career, he answered, " Saving the first five thousand dollars I ever had, when I might just as well have spent the modest salary I made. Possession of that sum, once I had it, gave me the ability to meet opportunities. That I consider the turning point."

The first savings prove the turning point in many a young man's career. But it is true that the lack of thrift is one of the greatest curses of modern civilization. Extravagance, ostentatious display, a desire to outshine others, is a vice of our age, and especially of our country. Some one has said that " investigation would place at the head of the list of the cause of poverty, wastefulness inherited from wasteful parents."

" If you know how to spend less than you get," said Franklin, " you have the philosopher's stone." The great trouble with many young people is that they do not acquire the saving habit at the start, and never find the " philosopher's stone." They don't learn to spend less than they get. If they learned that lesson in time, they would have little difficulty in making themselves independent. It is this first saving that counts. John Jacob Astor said it cost him more to get the first thousand dollars than it did afterwards to get a hundred thousand; but if he had not saved the first thousand, he would have died poor.

" The first thing that a man should learn to do," says Andrew Carnegie, " is to save his money. By saving his money he promotes thrift, the most valued of all habits. Thrift is the great fortune-maker. It draws the line between the savage and the civilized man. Thrift not only develops the fortune, but it develops, also, the man's character."

The savings bank is one of the greatest encouragements to thrift, because it pays a premium on deposits in the form of interest on savings. One of the greatest benefits ever extended by this government to its citizens is the opening of Postal Savings Banks where money can be deposited with absolute security against loss, because the Federal Government would have to fail before the bank could fail. The economies which enable a man to start a savings account are not usually pinching economies, not the stinting of the necessaries of life, but merely the foregoing of selfish pleasures and indulgences which not only drain the purse but sap the physical strength and undermine the health of brain and body.

The majority of people do not even try to practise self-control; are not willing to sacrifice present enjoyment, ease, for larger future good. They spend their money at the time for transient gratification, for the pleasure of the moment, with little thought for tomorrow, and then they envy others who are more successful, and wonder why they do not get on better themselves. They store up neither money nor knowledge for the future. The squirrels know that it will not always be summer. They store food for the winter, which their instinct tells them is coming; but multitudes of human beings store nothing, consume everything as they go along, so that when sickness or old age come, there is no reserve, nothing to fall back upon. They have sacrificed their future for the present.

The facility with which loose change slips away from these people is most insidious and unaccountable. I know young men who spend more for unnecessary things, what they call " incidentals " cigars, drinks, all sorts of sweets, soda-water and nick-nacks of various kinds - than for their essentials, board; clothes, rooms.

Then they wonder where all their money goes to, as they never keep any account of it, and rarely restrain a desire. They do not realize it when they fling out a nickel here and a dime there, pay a quarter for this and a quarter for that; but in a week it counts up, and in a year it amounts to a large sum. " He never lays up a cent " is an expression which we hear every day regarding those who earn enough to enable them to save a competence.

A short time ago, a young man in New York complained to a friend of poverty and his inability to save money.

" How much do you spend for luxuries? " asked the friend. " Luxuries ! " answered the young man, " if by luxuries you mean cigars and a few drinks, I don't average, including an occasional cigar or a glass of light wine for a friend, over six dollars a week. Most of the boys spend more, but I make it a rule to be moderate in my expenditures."

" Ten years ago," declared the friend, " I was spending about the same every week for the same things, and paying thirty dollars a month for five inconvenient rooms up four flights of stairs. I had just married then, and one day I told my wife that I longed to have her in a place befitting her needs and refinement. `John,' was her reply, 'If you love me well enough to give up two things which are not only useless, but extremely harmful to you, we can, for what those things alone cost, own a pretty home in ten years.'

" She sat down by me with a pencil and paper, and in less than five minutes had demonstrated that she was right. You dined with me in the suburbs the other day, and spoke of the beauty and convenience of our cottage. That cottage cost three thousand dollars, and every dollar of it was my former cigar and drink money. But I gained more than a happy wife and pretty home by saving; I gained self-control, better health, self-respect, a truer manhood, a more permanent happiness.

I desire every young man who is trying to secure pleasure through smoking and drinking, whether moderately or immoderately, to make use of his judgment, and pencil and paper, and see if he is not forfeiting in a number of directions far more than he is gaining."

There is an impressive fact in the Gospel story of the Prodigal Son. The statement " he wasted his substance in riotous living " means more than that he wasted his funds. It implies that he wasted himself. And the most serious phase of all waste is not the waste of substance but the waste of self, of one's energy, capital, the lowering of morals, the undermining of character, the loss of self-respect which thrift encourages and promotes.

Thrift is not only one of the foundation-stones of a fortune, but also one of character. The habit of thrift improves the quality of the character. The saving of money usually means the saving of a man. It means cutting off indulgences or avoiding vicious habits which are ruinous. It often means health in the place of dissipation. It often means a clear instead of a cloudy and muddled brain. Furthermore, the saving habit indicates an ambition to get on and up in the world. It develops a spirit of independence, of self-reliance. A little bank account or an insurance policy indicates a desire to improve one's condition, to look up in life. It means hope, it means ambition, a determination to " make good."

People believe in the young man, who, without being mean or penurious, saves a part of his income. It is an indication of many sterling qualities. Business men naturally reason that if a young man is saving his money, he is also saving his energy, his vitality, from being wasted, that he is looking up in the world, and not down; that he is longheaded, wise; that he is determined not to sacrifice the larger gain of the future for the gratification of the hour.

A snug little bank account will add to your self-respect and self-confidence, because it shows that you have practicability; a little more independence. You can look the world in the face with a little more assurance, you can stand a little more erect and face the future with more confidence, if you know that there stands between yourself and want a little ready money or a safe investment of some kind. The very consciousness that there is something back of you that will prove a barrier to the wolf which haunts so many human beings, and which is a terror and an efficiency destroyer to so many, will strengthen and buttress you at every point. It will relieve you from worry and anxiety about the future; it will unlock your faculties, release them from the restraint and suppression which uncertainty, fear, and doubt impose, and leave you free to do your best work.

Another great aid and incentive to thrift is the life insurance policy. " Primarily devised for the support of widows and orphans, life insurance practise has been developed so as to include the secure investment of surplus earnings in conjunction with the insurance of a sum payable at death." I am a great believer in the efficiency of savings banks as character builders; but life insurance has some greater advantages, especially in furnishing that imperious " must," that spur of necessity so important as a motive to most people.

People can put money into savings-banks when they get it, provided some stronger desire does not overcome the inclination; but they feel that they must pay their insurance premium. Then again, money obtainable just by signing the name is so easily withdrawn for spending in all sorts of ways.

This is one reason why I often recommend life insurance to young people as a means of saving. It has been of untold value as an object-lesson of the tremendous possibilities in acquiring the saving habit. I believe that life insurance is doing a great deal to induce the habit of saving. When a young man on a salary or a definite income takes out an insurance policy he has a definite aim. He has made up his mind positively to save so much money every year from his income to pay his premium.

Then it is easier for him to say " No," to the hundred-and-one alluring temptations to spend his money for this and that. He can say " No," then with emphasis, because he knows must keep up his insurance.

An insurance policy has often changed the habits of an entire family from thriftlessness and spendthrift tendencies to thrift and order. The very fact that a certain amount must be saved from the income every week, or every month, or every year, has often developed the faculty of prudence and economy of the entire household. Everybody is cautioned to be careful because the premium must be paid. And oftentimes it is the first sign of a program or order-system in the home.

The consciousness of a sacred obligation to make payments on that which means protection for those dear to you often shuts out a great deal of foolishness, and cuts out a lot of temptation to spend money for self-gratification and to cater to one's weak tendencies. The life insurance policy has thus proved to be a character insurance as well, an insurance against silly expenditures, an insurance against one's own weak will power, or vicious, weak tendencies; a real protection against one's self, one's real enemy.

Among the sworn enemies of thrift may be named going into debt, borrowing money, keeping no itemized account of daily expenditures, and buying on the instalment plan.

That great English preacher Spurgeon said that debt, dirt, and the devil made up the trinity of evil. And debt can discount the devil at any time for possibilities of present personal torment. The temptations to go into debt are increasing rapidly. On every hand in the cities one may read such advertisements as " We Trust You," " Your Credit is Good With Us," and with these statements come offers of clothing, furniture, and what not " on easy payments." But as the Irishman remarked after an experience with the installment purchase of furniture: " Onaisy payments they sure are." As a matter of fact, the easy payments take all the ease and comfort out of life they are easy only for the man who receives them.

Beware of the delusions of buying on the installment plan. There are thousands of poor families in this country who buy organs and sets of books and encyclopedias, lightning rods, farming implements, and all sorts of things which they might get along without, because they can pay for them a little at a time. In this way, they keep themselves poor. They are always pinching, sacrificing, to save up for the agent when he comes around to collect.

All through the South there are poor homes of both colored and white families, where there are not sufficient cooking utensils and knives, forks, and spoons to enable the members to eat with comfort, and yet you will find expensive things in their homes which they have bought on the installment plan, and which keep them poor for years trying to pay for them. As far as borrowing money is concerned the bitter experience of countless men and women is crystallized in that old saying: " He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing." There is a world of safety for the man who follows Shakespeare's advice: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be."

It is sometimes said flippantly that "poverty is no disgrace but it's mighty uncomfortable." And yet poverty is often a real disgrace. People born to poverty may rise above it. People who have poverty thrust upon them may overcome it. In this great land of abundance and opportunity poverty is in most cases a disgrace and a reproach.

Dr. Johnson said to Boswell, " I admonish you avoid poverty, the temptation and worry it breeds." There is something humiliating in being poor. The very consciousness that we have nothing to show for our endeavor besides a little character and the little we have done, is anything but encouraging. Somehow, we feel that we have not amounted to much, and we know the world looks upon us in the same way if we have not managed to accumulate something. It is a reflection upon our business ability, upon our judgment, upon our industry. It is not so much for the money, as for what it means to have earned and saved money; it is the idea of thrift. If we have not been thrifty, if we have not saved anything, the world will look upon us as good for nothing, as partial failures, as either lazy, slipshod, or extravagant. They regard us as either not having been able to make money, or if we have, not being able to save it.

But let it be remembered that thrift is not parsimony not miserliness. It often means very liberal spending. It is a perpetual protest against putting the emphasis on the wrong thing. No one should make the mistake of economizing to the extent of planting seeds, and then denying liberal nourishment to the plants that grow from them; of conducting business without advertising; or of saving a little extra expense by pinching on one's table or dress. " A dollar saved is a dollar earned," but a dollar spent well and liberally is often several dollars earned. A dollar saved is often very many dollars lost.

The progressive, generous spirit, nowadays, will leave far behind the plodder that devotes time to adding pennies that could be given to making dollars. The only value a dollar has is its buying power. " No matter how many times it has been spent, it is still good." Hoarded money is of no more use than gold so inaccessible in old Mother Earth that it will never feel the miner's pick. There is plenty in this world, if we keep it moving and keep moving after it. Imagine everybody in the world stingy, living on the principle of " We can do without that," or " Our grandfathers got along without such things, and I guess I can." What would become of our parks, grand buildings, electrical improvements; of music and art? What would become of labor that nurses a tree from a forest to a piano or a palace car? What would become of those dependent upon the finished work? What would happen, what panic would follow, if everybody turned stingy, is indefinable.

" So apportion your wants that your means may exceed them," says Bulwer. " With one hundred pounds a year I may need no man's help; I may at least have 'my crust of bread and liberty.' But with five thousand pounds a year, I may dread a ring at my bell; I may have my tyrannical master in servants whose wages I can not pay; my exile may be at the fiat of the first long-suffering man who enters judgement against me; for the flesh that lies nearest my heart, some Shylock may be dusting his scales and whetting his knife. Every man is needy who spends more than he has; no man is needy who spends less. I may so ill manage that, with five thousand a year, I purchase the worst evils of poverty, - terror and shame; I may so well manage my money that, with one hundred pounds a year, I purchase the best blessings of wealth, - safety and respect."


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