A prominent new york lawyer of wide experience says that, in his opinion, ninety-nine out of every hundred of those who make money or won the lottery or inherit it, lose it, sooner or later. What a spectacle, everywhere in this land of plenty, of inexhaustible resources and unlimited opportunity, where every man ought to be a success but to see God’s noblemen living like peasants because they never learned how to handle money in a business way! How many thousands of good, honest men and women there are in this country who have worked very hard and made all sorts of sacrifices of comfort and luxury in order to lay up something for the future, and yet have reached middle life or later without having anything to show for it, many of them finding themselves without a home or any probability of getting one, without property or any money put away for sickness, for the inevitable emergency, or for their declining years!
Its incredible that a strong, sturdy, self-made man, who has had to fight his way up from poverty, and who feels the backache in every dollar he has earned, should let his savings slip through his fingers in the most foolish investments, with scarcely any investigation, often sending his money thousands of miles away to people he has never seen, and about whom he knows practically nothing, except through an advertisement which has attracted his attention, or through the wiles of some smooth, unprincipled promoter. Great numbers of vast fortunes in this country have been and are being built upon the very ignorance of the masses in regard to business methods. The scammers bank on it, that it is easy to swindle people who do not know how to protect or handle their money. They thrive on the ignorance of their fellow man. They know that a shrewd advertisement, a cunningly worded circular, a hypnotic appeal will bring the hard earnings of these unsuspecting people out of hiding-places into their own coffers.
For the sake of your home, for the protection of your hard earnings, for your peace of mind, your self-respect, your self-confidence, whatever else you do, do not neglect a good, solid business course, and get it as early in life as possible. It will save you from hardship and many of falls, from a thousand embarrassments, and perhaps from the humiliation of being compelled to face your wife and children and confess that you have been a failure. It may spare you the mortification of having to move from an upscale home to a poor one, of seeing your property slip out of your hands, and having to acknowledge your weakness and your lack of foresight and thoughtfulness, or it may prevent you being made the dupe of a shyster. How many inventors and discoverers have fought the fight of desperation amidst poverty and deprivation for years and years, and have succeeded in giving the world that which helps to emancipate man from drudgery and to ameliorate the hard conditions of society, and yet have allowed others to snatch their victories away from them and leave them penniless, just because they did not know how to protect themselves!
Thousands of people who were once in easy circumstances are living in poverty and wretchedness today because they failed to put an understanding or an agreement in writing or to do business in a business way. Families have been turned, penniless, out of house and home, because they trusted to a relative or a friend to “do what was right” by them, without making a hard and fast, practical business arrangement with them. It does not matter how honest people are, they may forget, and it is so easy for misunderstandings to arise that it is never safe to leave anything of importance to a mere oral statement or chance. Reduce it to writing. It costs but little, in time or money, and when all parties interested are agreed, that is the best time to formulate the agreement in exact terms. This will often save lawsuits, bitterness, and alienations. How many friendships have been broken because understandings were not put in writing! Thousands of cases are in the courts today for this reason, and a large part of lawyers’ incomes is derived from them.
Many people have a foolish idea that others, especially friends or relatives, will be sensitive and think their honesty questioned if they are asked to put their proposition, or agreement, or understanding in writing. It is not a question of confidence. It is a question of business, and business should be done in a business way, so that in case of death, or some other unforeseen event, every possibility of complication or misunderstanding will be eliminated. The very people you may think will be sensitive or offended because you are so exacting will really think more of you for your straightforward business methods and your carefulness in avoiding misunderstanding.