Listen to episode 178 of the Inspirational Living podcast: The Value of Being Thrifty (Money & Generosity). Edited and adapted from “On the Threshold” by Theodore Thornton Munger.
Success Podcast Excerpt: There was a time when Americans were considered a thrifty people. However, that time has long since passed — which seems entirely natural, as thrift is more apt to be a phase than a characteristic of the life of a nation — a habit more than a principle. Thrift pertains to details. It is both our glory and our fault that today we are impatient of details.
Our courage prompts to risks; our large-mindedness invites to great undertakings — both somewhat adverse to thrift, because great undertakings are for the few, while thrift is for all. Large enterprises make the few rich, but the majority prosper only through the carefulness and detail of thrift.
I begin by insisting on the importance of having money. Speculate and preach about it as we will, the main factor in civilized society is money. As the universe of planets needs some common force like gravitation to hold them to their place, so society requires some dominating passion or purpose to hold its members in mutual alliance. Money supplies this end. Without some such general moving force, society would be chaotic; people could not work together, could achieve no common results, could have no common standards of virtue and achievement.
The famous English novelist Edward Bulwer Lytton once said: "Never treat money affairs with levity; money is character." And indeed character for the most part is determined by one's relationship to money. Find out how one gets, saves, spends, gives, lends, borrows, and bequeaths money, and you have the character of the person in full outline. "If one does all these wisely," said Henry Taylor, "it would almost argue a perfect individual."
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