Continuing our January theme of John Templeton’s relationship with thrift, we have more today from step 12 of The Templeton Plan. Today’s excerpt is yet another childhood anecdote. If these writings resonate with you be sure to join our campaign to Bring Back National Thrift Week, either by visiting the official website or by becoming a fan on Facebook.
The horrors of debt were made obvious to John Templeton when he was still in high school. A friend of his worked for a dollar a day, six days a week, and on Saturday he would be paid six dollars. But time and again, he would borrow four dollars from young Templeton on Thursday by promising him his entire paycheck of six dollars on Saturday. In other words, he was so unthrifty that he couldn’t manage two additional days and resorted to selling six dollars for four.
Templeton calculated the rate of interest his unfortunate friend was paying. It opened his eyes to the ways people could ruin their lives. It is best never to borrow—not even money to buy his own home—and he rarely did. The two exceptions were the two hundred dollars he borrowed from an uncle to help finance his college education and the ten thousand dollars to get him started in the investment business. They were exceptions to his general rule and in neither case did he borrow for a strictly personal expenditure.