My post today is about Benjamin Franklin (this sentence kind of reminds me of the start of a school speech, heh heh).
While he did provide some excellent financial advice in his “Poor Richards Almanac”, Benjamin Fraklin is my top financial hero for the following reasons:
List of reasons why Benjamin Franklin is my top financial hero:
- Benjamin was born into a working class family and where he was the 15th out of 17 children.
- He went thru a few different apprenticeships before settling on the printing profession! Originally, he was destined for the church, then he had a short apprenticeship as a candle-maker (with his dad), but he didn’t like that. As a Printer, he ran way from his first apprenticeship (it was to his older brother James). The printing business was a business that Benjamin had great passion about. There are stories of how he submitted stories to his brother James newspaper, under the pen-name of Mrs. Silence Dogood. Using Mrs. Silence Dogood, he achieved this first brush of anonymous fame.
- He only have 2 years of formal schooling (not that this was uncommon for the time…) He actually said in his autobiography, that he failed at arithmetic. But grammar was his passion and strong point. Benjamin was self educated, but also got a lot of education from his father (who was also self educated).
- Ben, later worked on his short falling and other deficiencies. Ben later at age 16 went back and self taught himself arithmetic, and geometry too.
- Benjamin, wasn’t a perfect kid. Apparently according to his autobiography, he got into a small amount of mischief. Luckily, he grew out of this… or did he?
- Benjamin was a do-it-yourselfer. Apparently, his dad took him to see other workers, in an attempt to find an apprenticeship that Ben would like. A side effect of this activity, was that Ben could fix small jobs himself. He also developed an appreciation for the other working men of that time.
- He treated other equally, no matter how much wealth they had. As Ben became rich from his business, he still treated all people with respect and would hold conversation with them in addition to the more literate in his society.
- Benjamin worked hard and became rich thru this own efforts and his ability to make people believe in him. Being brilliant isn’t enough to be successful at a profession. Both Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (the 2 rich men in the world), display the diverse skills that Ben first displayed way back then. Ben got investors to invest in his Printing business, just like Warren and Bill Gates did in their beginnings.
- At age 21, Ben organized a social meeting group called Junto! This was a diverse group of individual that would meet every Friday evening in an attempt to better themselves and society. The group was also called “Leather Apron Club”. I think this would be pretty cool to have today. Although with blogging, you kind of get that today albeit in a different form.
- Ben did things differently. He believe in equal right for women (controversial for the day), lifted weights (when he was younger, I’ve never hear of someone back then doing this activity), swimming, scientist, etc.
- Ben was an expert at seeing opportunities, and creating opportunities at work.
Ben didn’t get rich with his inventions (at least not the ones we are familiar with). He really only get heavily involved with investion after he retire at 42. And at that point, he was extremely rich.
The thing that impresses me the most about Mr. Franklin, was his tenacity… If you read his story, it’s a story of overcoming problems to become extremely wealthy, and quite literally helping to create our country as it is today.
I attribute much of Ben’s success to his parents, and the way his father tried to find Ben an apprenticeship that Ben would be content with. Most kids back then didn’t get that luxury. Apparently, his dad also was respected, and people would ofter stop by and ask Ben’s dad for advice. Luckily Ben was permitted to listen in on these conversations.
Anyway, this is why Ben is my financial hero. If you get the chance, listen or read his autobiography, and any other book on him.