Ben Franklin’s 13 Habits…
The next lessons of Ben Franklin will directly relate to us as Narrative Art Comic Book Entrepreneurs. I grew up in a world of frugality. We had no money. My parents scraped and saved. We had clothes. We had food. We had a place to live. We had each other. What more could anyone want.
My mom became a bank teller after having enough of waiting tables for 10 years. She showed me how to keep a check book. On my computer software, I kept track of every penny…every expense and every investment. I remember my first large “investment” was a $50 Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge to play on my N.E.S. I worked as a paperboy and a busboy since I was 14 years old. By the time I graduated high school, I had saved $12,000. My best friend wondered why I didn’t buy a car. I bought a $400 car that lasted 4 years.
All my scrimping and saving allowed me to afford a year at the Kubert School, so I could go after my dream of working in comics. I also worked my way through 4 years of university without a single loan. I paid it all off. I wonder if Ben Franklin would be proud of me? Little did I know, that all my mom had taught me would end up on the side of road somewhere…Now that I have the knowledge of hindsight, I contemplate if ol’ Ben would really be proud or not–and the almost contrasting ways of Franklin vs. Ferris in the 4-hour work week… A Battle for the Ages to be Sure.. I wonder who would win.
FRUGALITY – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Timothy Ferris 4-hour work week changed my life and my motives for dealing with money. He proposes to spend some money today doing good and enjoying what you have, rather that waiting for the day when you are too old to enjoy any of it.
By contrast, perhaps some old school of thought might suggest you save all your money for retirement and then blow it all when you are 65 on a trip to the Fiji islands and a Mai Tai.
Franklin offers a far better solution. From his autobiography, Franklin was always the opportunistic. He would solve problems and would seek to invest in ventures of worthwhile gain. He was a printer by trade, and sought to operate on occasions wonderful printed works of his own writings and others. Ideas worth spreading. He was a master copywriter and indulging all art of sound and reason and persuasion in his writing.
The thing I learn most from Franklin is to invest wisely in yourself. Why invest money in stocks and bonds of others? Why not invest it heavily in doing your due diligence to solve other people’s problems. You are worthwhile. You have something to offer. You are worth sharing into people’s lives.
As Franklin and Ferris suggest, “make no expense, but to do good” this can be for yourself or for others. What other good work is a narrative art marketer to do, but to create. To teach. To showcase. To communicate. Be not frugal in these things.
But be not frugal as well in spending money (toward betterment of your situation) Ravishly invest in yourself, sharing with others, learning skills, ways to be a better artist, ways to increase profits, ways to share ideas.
The idea of not spending money–at one time in my life thought wise–is profoundly foolish. But I come upon a pain within myself as regarding finances, when is the time to attack finances? When is the time to attack debt? When is the time to invest? Remember we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We have only today to resolve. I suppose each person will need to direct his own answer, my answers come from only what I can do.
PRECURSOR, never take on debt. We have one student loan that has haunted us for 13 years for my wife’s education. We took when we first got married. Biggest mistake of our lives.
FIRST, save $1000 in an emergency fund and never use it. Unless emergency. wrecked car, hospital bills, any unforeseen expense. I expect many people cannot do either the paying off of bills or the investing in oneself, if this one necessity is overlooked.
SECOND, rectify debt, should it exist, quickly. I imagine I’ll be dumping $11,000 in cash to eliminate this student loan from my burdened life upon taking my own advice. This was a bad investment to go to school when we are early in our marriage. Resolve that any seemingly wasted resources be utilized in some fashion, if only to serve as a learning experience. It is not wasted, it you use it for your education or the education of others.
THIRD, save to invest in your personal education, materials, or equipment for work. (computers, coursework, art boards, material). All work must be justified monetarily as for the expense. I bought an imac, and Photoshop, only when I knew I had a job coming that would allow the cost of the equipment. Since, then I have had many jobs and paid for the equipment many times over. Even Joe Kubert school was beneficial to me. For $12,000 I got a few jobs that led to other jobs, I may not have gotten without that title. I have since made that money many times over. My university education also helped get a job, because because at the place I applied, they would not hire you without a university degree.
FOURTH, build systems which generate money, instead of deplete money. Own the system. Share with others.