Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"It's not return on my money I'm interested in, it's return of my money"

I recently stumbled upon this quote by Mark Twain and found myself comforted by its historic perspective. For those of you who don't know, Mark Twain lived from 1835 to 1910. Probably best known for The Adventures of Hickleberry Finn, Twain, really named Samuel Langhorne Clemens, is known as the father of American Literature []. He was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

The comfort of Twain's remark is that we have been through economic crises before. Hype is nothing new. People with money have been given empty promises way before you or I were even a thought. Scammers promised high returns on money since there was some one to speak to. Investment schemes have gone bad over the decades. Our country has seen the end of many good times and the start of many tough times. People before have lived through it all. That's what's comforting.

Twain in fact experienced some dire financial times in his life. Perhaps this quote is born from some hard won lessons on his part. Whatever their source, Twain's remarks remind us of what is important in economic responsibility: preservation of capital first, growth second.

We can find many sources of inspiration and often they come from the 'non-financial' sector. Someone with as much life experience and perspective as Mark Twain can shine a common sense light on what means to be economically responsible.

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