The 13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin are:
- TEMPERANCE: Eat not to dullness, drink not to Elevation
- SILENCE: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
- ORDER: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have it’s time
- RESOLUTION: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
- FRUGALITY: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing
- INDUSTRY: Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions
- SINCERITY: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly
- JUSTICE: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
- MODERATION: Avoid extremes; forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
- CLEANLINESS: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation
- TRANQUILITY: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable
- CHASTITY: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation
- HUMILITY: Imitate Jesus and Socrates
To look deeper on how these Virtues can help you to create wealth, we take a look at the virtue of Sincerity
One of the primary causes to the mortgage crisis of 2008 was a lack of truthfulness and trust. Lenders and borrowers alike used deceptive practices, and false financial information to acquire mortgages for those who purchased homes beyond their means. In the wake of rampant foreclosure, banks still were unable to trust each other and larger industries thus preventing the ability to provide necessary credit. Without credit, industry fails and when industry fails, recession takes hold. All of this happened because many people told little lies.
Financial Sincerity has its roots in Frugality and bears the fruits of Justice, Moderation and Humility. The word “sincere” comes from the Latin root sincerus, which means “a clean, pure sound.” Another folksy but probably unlikely root is sine (without) and cere (wax) – as wax was used to cover flaws in sculpture. Franklin’s use of Sincerity implies being honest and open with yourself and in your dealings with others.
Within my family, my wife manages the checkbook and day-to-day expenditures while I manage the long-term retirement accounts and share the information between ourselves. Within any partnership whether it is in business or personal, we build trust from the practice of Sincerity. Trust is what is required to ensure the success of any financial endeavor.
In my business, prices for services are open and posted, and customers know exactly what they will pay after I deliver requested services. If I cannot provide a specific service, I say so, and even recommend competitors. This, along with delivery of quality services has created a level of trust between my customers and me and has enabled a greater word-of-mouth marketing that has provided business growth.
Sincerity also enables you to be truthful with yourself. The answers to “Can I afford this”, “Do I really need this”, and “How will my finances be affected by my action” can all be honestly assessed with the practice of Sincerity. Mastering Sincerity is a step towards the practice of Justice.
Begin to Use Sincerity in Improving Wealth
- The first use of Sincerity is when you honestly assess yourself and your current financial situation through the creation and use of the lists mentioned in the prior virtues.
- Follow Aristotle’s advice – “Bring your desires down to your present means. Increase them only when your increased means permit.”