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After looking at the T-shirt, I don’t know what I was more embarrassed about – spending all my money or being the only person that didn’t realize the singer at the concert was Elvis Presley! Dad was right – there were some things money couldn’t buy – like time, happiness, common sense or a ticket out of the doghouse! After listening to Mom and Dad talk about the importance of wise decisions and responsibility, Dad explained my consequences. “Woody, we love you, but you made a foolish decision. You must study money management and make a list of five rules you think are most important.” After apologizing to my family, and after recovering from the news that I had been with the King of Rock and Roll, I began to study. Since the Lincoln penny was the beginning of this adventure, I thought I’d see if President Lincoln had any financial advice. While I couldn’t find any specific tips from my favorite president, by reading about his life I learned some important lessons. President Lincoln once said that he didn’t bring anything with him to the White House and wasn’t going to take anything with him when he left. Yet, that wasn’t accurate. Honest Abe was lying, but being humble about his wealth. The truth of the matter was that in 1853, Mr. Lincoln, not yet president, deposited $310 into a savings account. Eight years later when he became president, he was worth about $15,000! In addition, during his presidency, he received 49 paychecks in the amount of $2,083.33. Three years later, he had saved nearly $60,000! That wasn’t even the best part. History says that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t only honest, but generous. He was known for giving money to wounded soldiers, sick children and friends in need. Studying President Lincoln’s life, I accomplished my task and learned five rules of money management: Plan – To be a successful money manager, I had to have a plan. How much money did I earn? How much did I save? How much did I need for expenses? A budget was the answer. A budget would help me clearly see where I stood and keep me from being an impulsive buyer. Being impulsive not only put me in the doghouse, but also put me in a situation that could have been really dangerous. Save – Save means to accumulate money. Who wouldn’t want to collect money? One thing was for sure – I couldn’t collect more money by spending every penny I had. Not only did Abraham Lincoln have financial wisdom, so did Ben Franklin when he said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” When I saved money, the interest helped me earn more money. Give – Abe Lincoln wasn’t selfish. He realized that since he had money, he had a responsibility to help other people and organizations that were in need. Many times, President Lincoln gave his money anonymously. He didn’t want recognition. Invest – Investing money means to spend money on something that would make more money. For instance, I could use my money for a college fund. By going to college, I could gain more knowledge and hopefully use that knowledge to get a job. I could also use that money to purchase a business. That would allow me to make money, and to help others make money. 5. Enjoy – One of the benefits of money was pleasure. I had worked hard at my digging job. There was nothing wrong with me making a purchase, but doing so without thinking was foolish. More than anything, I loved Abraham Lincoln’s attitude on money. He didn’t brag about it or use it to be part of the crowd. He didn’t change his personality or his lifestyle as he became wealthier. He said “Every man is as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” He was happy because he wanted to be happy, not because he was wealthy. “I love you, Woody,” Mom said, as I shared these lessons with my family. “I love you because of who you are – not because of how much money you make at your digging job or deposit in your savings account. Remember, you were rich when you didn’t have a penny.” “I don’t understand,” I replied. “Woody, you are rich because you have a family who loves you, a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, and food to eat. In the end, isn’t that all you need? Besides, you’re rich because you live in a country that gives you the opportunity to work, save and spend. You and Chloe have worked so hard. I think it’s time you buy a penny from Chloe’s jar. Maybe since you’ve learned some lessons we’ll return to the 21st century.” Obeying Mom, I purchased a penny.
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