Presidents’ Day, while often marked with celebrations, reenactments, and other events, is also a time to reflect on important lessons learned from our former American leaders. Although times have changed and technological advancements have been made since their time in office, their wisdom can be applied to our financial lives today.
Founding Father and first U.S. President George Washington once said “To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones.” He valued the importance of strength through financial stability and committed himself to paying off debts incurred during the Revolutionary War. He believed that power and respect came from financial integrity. What we can learn from Washington’s wisdom: Refrain from frivolous spending until your personal finances are on solid ground.
As a principal author of the Declaration of Independence and our third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson was extremely influential in our nation’s history. Unfortunately he inherited a significant amount of debt from his father-in-law, and despite his best efforts, his personal debt affected his legacy. Although much of his financial woes were out of his control, we can learn from his misfortunes about managing our own money. What we can learn from Jefferson’s wisdom: No matter your income, never underestimate the value of living within your means.
Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President, whose accomplishments ranged from abolishing slavery, strengthening the federal government, and revolutionizing the economy. During his time in office, Lincoln often consulted with his advisers when making key decisions. He would purposely seek out individuals whose opinions differed from his own. This advice can be applied to the management of your personal finances. What we can learn from Lincoln’s wisdom: There are many benefits to reaching out to others for financial advice, whether it’s consulting a professional or a loved one.
Dwight Eisenhower was a five-star Army General and the 34th President of the United States. He once said, “The older I get, the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first.” Viewed as one of our greatest presidents, he led the country for two four-year terms. During that time, the U.S. saw substantial economic prosperity. Manage your finances as Eisenhower governed our nation, by taking things one task at a time. What we can learn from Eisenhower’s wisdom: Organizing your finances is not always easy but if you accomplish things in manageable amounts, you can reach your financial goals.