Happy Birthday, George

Happy Birthday, George

February 16, 2015 – If you’re off work today here in the United States, it may surprise you to know that it’s not because Presidents Day is a federal holiday since no such holiday exists.

5 USC ยง 6103(a) does, however, make Washington’s Birthday, celebrated the third Monday of each year, a federal holiday.

As presidents go, George Washington usually ranks among the top five all time in terms of overall net worth. Not all presidents were so lucky with their fortunes.

In fact, about 20% of our nation’s chief executives experienced insolvency at one time or another in their lifetimes.

Who knew the position was fraught with such a high chance of financial insecurity?

FranklinOne famous founding father whose age was likely the only thing preventing him from becoming president was Benjamin Franklin. Ranking No. 181 on the all-time richest people ever list, Franklin did pretty well for himself and his heirs moneywise.

Franklin was 83 at the time of Washington’s inauguration, 26 years older than our first president.

In addition to passing a significant amount of property and valuable personal possessions to his heirs, Franklin’s last will and testament laid out some pretty detailed annuity requirements.

The one for his sister, Jane Mecom, was a rather straightforward “fifty (later increased to sixty) pounds sterling . . . to be paid to her annually” annuity in addition to the house he bequeathed her.

The annuities left to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia for schooling, hospitals and apprenticeships were a little more creative and specific. And they were set up to run for 200 years. Now THAT’s forward thinking!

Unlike Washington, who married into his fortune, Franklin’s wealth was a result of his own initiative.

And you can bet a man who preached that “a penny saved is a penny earned” understood the value of the time value of money. No doubt this belief influenced his annuity decisions.

Perhaps helps explain why most people would rather have a Benjamin than a George.

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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