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Dave Ramsey: Abraham Lincoln’s debt letter to his brother

June 1st, 2010

Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to His Deadbeat Brother who needed to get a job, instead of borrowing more money …

Dear Johnston:–

Your request for eighty dollars, I do not think it best to comply with now.

At the various times when I have helped you a little, you have said to me, “We can get along very well now,” but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again.

Now this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not _lazy_, and still you _are_ an _idler_. I doubt whether since I saw you, you have done a good whole day’s work, in any one day. You do not very much dislike to work, and still you do not work much, merely because it does not seem to you that you could get much for it.

This habit of uselessly wasting time, is the whole difficulty; and it is vastly important to you,and still more so to your children, that you should break this habit. It is more important to them, because they have longer to live, and can keep out of an idle habit before they are in it easier than they can get out after they are in.

You are now in need of some ready money; and what I propose is,that you shall go to work, “tooth and nail,” for somebody who will give you money for it. Let father and your boys take charge of things at home–prepare for a crop, and make the crop; and you go to work for the best money wages, or in discharge of any debt you owe, that you can get. And to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of next May, get for your own labor either in money or in your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar.

By this, if you hire yourself at ten dollars a month, from me you will get ten more, making twenty dollars a month for your work. In this, I do not mean you shall go off to St. Louis, or the lead mines, or the gold mines, in California, but I mean for you to go at it for the best wages you can get close to home, in Coles County.

Now if you will do this, you will soon be out of debt, and what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But if I should now clear you out, next year you will be just as deep in as ever.

You say you would almost give your place in Heaven for $70 or $80. Then you value your place in Heaven very cheaply, for I am sure you can with the offer I make you get the seventy or eighty dollars for four or five months’ work.

You say if I furnish you the money you will deed me the land, and if you don’t pay the money back, you will deliver possession–Nonsense! If you can’t now live _with_ the land, how will you then live without it?

You have always been kind to me, and I do not now mean to be unkind to you. On the contrary, if you will but follow my advice, you will find it worth more than eight times eighty dollars to you.

Affectionately your brother,
A. LINCOLN.

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Who was the Johnston in Lincoln’s Debt Letter? John D. Johnston was Lincoln’s Step Brother. Abe sets some boundaries.

June 1st, 2010

Dave often talks about the infamous letter that Abe Lincoln penned to a debt-beat, lazy relative who wanted to borrow $80.  If you haven’t seen the letter, written on December 24, 1858, or want to enjoy it again, it’s here.

There seems to be a lot of disinformation floating around on exactly who the “Johnston” is that Abe is writing to.  Many times, Johnston, is referred to as Lincoln’s brother in-law.  It’s easy to see how such a mistake could have been made.  Mary Todd Lincoln’s family sounds like a bad Dave Ramsey call.  It seems that Mrs. Lincoln could have used some boundaries in her family.   Johnston was, in fact, Lincoln’s step brother, John D. Johnston,  the son of Lincoln’s father’s second wife – Sally Johnston.

You can tell from the letter that Lincoln has had it with Johnston and sees that giving him $80 is not going to help him.  Dave tells folks on his show all the time that giving a drunk a drink is not helping.  Abe got this concept at least with Johnston.  Of note, the letter to Johnston was written on the the same page as a letter that Abe wrote to his father in which Lincoln gives his dad $20 to keep his land from being foreclosed on in order to payoff a judgment.  It seems that Lincoln may have had lots of boundary issues in his life, I don’t know what the story with his father is, but if he was losing his land and had judgments, he for sure was not enjoying financial peace.

It was well known that Lincoln was generous towards people that he cared for but it seems that Johnston’s past behaviors made Abe take a different approach with his brother.  In a previous letter, Johnston had stated that he was “broke” and “hard-pressed” on the family farm in Coles County, Illinois.  It seems from Lincoln’s response that this was a situation that happened frequently and Lincoln realized that just giving Johnston money was not helping him.

There may have been other reasons for not giving Johnston the money.  Dave often tells people that they are too broke to be helping someone else.  Lincoln probably didn’t care to put his own family at risk in order to help old Johnny out yet again.  I doubt that he was in a position to be doling out $80 too often.  In  1858, when Lincoln penned the famous debt letter, he was a professional politician who was very poorly compensated if at all for his efforts at getting the brand new Republican Party off of the ground.  He had just lost a race for the Senate to his arch-rival, Stephen Douglas and $80 was a LOT of money.  $80 in 1858 is the equivalent to about $1,800 in today’s money.

The New York Times, in an article dated February 11, 1917, stated that this letter “out-Franklins anything of Ben Franklin, in the matter of good advice to the unthrifty.”

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Why do you always buy too much stuff at Costco?

April 3rd, 2010

Source:  Science Explains Why You Always Buy Too Much Stuff at Costco.People don’t shop rationally. They make decisions based on an “emotional tug of war” between the pleasure and pain sensing parts of their brain.

But it’s not enough to just excite the NAcc (pleasure): retailers must also inhibit the insula (pain). This is where Costco really excels. When consumers are repeatedly assured that low prices are “guaranteed,” or told that a certain item is on sale, the insula stops worrying so much about the price tag. In fact, researchers have found that even when a store puts a promotional sticker next to the price tag⎯something like “Bargain Buy!” or “Hot Deal!”⎯but doesn’t actually reduce the price, sales of the item will still dramatically increase. These retail tactics lull our brain into buying more things, since our normal response to price tags is pacified.

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Andrew Jackson: The Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover President?

March 1st, 2010

Andrew Jackson, Dave Ramsey

In the history of the United States, Andrew Jackson is the only president to pay off the national debt. While impressive, this foray into Federal Baby Step 7 was short-lived and Uncle Sam whipped out the credit card when Murphy visited the following year in the form of a severe depression.

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Dave Ramsey – Gold is the Snuggie of Investments

February 21st, 2010

Gold is the snuggie of investments.  You buy it on midnight cable and it makes you look stupid. – Dave Ramsey

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Dave Ramsey: Hope you like the car!

February 8th, 2010

“Taking on a car payment is one of the dumbest things people do to destroy their chances of building wealth. The car payment is most folks largest payment except for their home mortgage, so it steals more money from the income than virtually anything else. USA Today notes that the average car payment is $464 over sixty-four months. Most people get See Morea car payment and keep it throughout their lives. As soon as a car is paid off, they get another payment because they “need”a new car. If you keep a $464 car payment throughout your life, which is “normal” you miss the opportunity to save that money. If you invested $464 per month from age 25 to 65, a normal working lifetime, in the average mutual fund averaging 12 percent (the seventy-year stock market average), you would have $5,458,854.45 at age sixty-five. Hope you like the car!!!!!!!”

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“Fear the Boom and Bust” Hayek vs. Keynes Rap

January 26th, 2010

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Dave Ramsey Wishing Well Plasectomy?

January 19th, 2010

Source: Failblog.org:  Some people need all the help they can get

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Credit Card Blues

January 11th, 2010

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What does Dave Ramsey think of buying gold?

January 11th, 2010

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