Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery. ~ David CopperfieldOne of the things that has held me well in my life is the lesson I learned from this one line in the Dickens novel David Copperfield. I don't suggest following the life of the speaker of this line, one Wilkins Micawber. He was a good man who fell victim to vicious creditors, ending up in debtor's prison.
The lesson itself is sound, the difference between misery and bliss can be as little as six pence either side of income.
I prefer this lesson to the Polonius Postulate:
The Franklin Philosophy is simple:
Rather go to bed without dinner than rise with debt. ~ Attributed to Ben Franklin
And the Emerson Warning is appropriate to today:
Poverty demoralizes. A man in debt is so far a slave; and Wall-street thinks it easy for a millionaire to be a man of his word, a man of honor, but, that, in failing circumstances, no man can be relied on to keep his integrity. ~ The Conduct of Life