Riches and What To With Them

Riches and What To With Them

Paul Terhorst has written an interesting article in International Living magazine in which he discusses what people have done with their riches. He discusses Henry Ford, who at forty years of age, located Ford eleven investors to bankroll the Ford Motor Company with an original total $28,000 investment. One of them, a lawyer named John Wendell Anderson, wrote his physician father asking to borrow $5000 to invest in the company. Having secured the loan from his reluctant father he invested in the company and by 1903 that investment had become $19 Million. In fact, all of the investors had become enormously wealthy. Anderson cashed out and he and his wife joined the "jet set" of the times. He withdrew from the law practice, bought an expensive summer place and an 80 foot yacht. For the rest of their lives they enjoyed the money and traveled all over Europe

On the other hand, another original investor was lawyer Horace Rackham. He fortuitously became friends with Ford when the senior partners at his law firm were too busy to help young Ford and sent him down the hall to Rackham who then drafted the papers to form the Ford Motor Company. Rackham invested $5000 in the company. Unlike Anderson, Rackham continued his ownership in the company until bought out by Ford. During the rest of his life Rockaham continued to live as he had before becoming a wealthy multi millionaire. He rode street cars to work and even if it was raining he ignored taxi’s and would wait for the trolley. He shoveled his own snow and watched his pennies. He left his millions to charity.

Tehorst goes on to compare Henry Flagler, John D. Rockefeller’s partner in Standard Oil with Rockefeller Rockefeller. After eight years of being Rockefeller’s partner, he quit, moved to Florida, built the famous Breaker’s Hotel and the Royal Palm. He constructed a 60,000 square foot mansion, now the Flager Museum, in Palm Beach where he died at 83 years of age. Flagler enjoyed the good life his millions brought him.

Rockefeller on the other hand continued to live a orderly and dull life. He lived relatively frugularly and was regarded as a penny pincher with his own family. He continued work the rest of his life and to live a conservative life accumulating more and more money. When Rockefeller died at almost 100 years of age he was the world’s richest man. He left his money to charity.

So, there you have it. One person with millions decides to enjoy the money. Another, decides to use it to accumulate more and more until at death it’s left to others to use. What did Jesus say? It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And He told the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. The late Dorothy Day used to say that alms giving was the rich person’s means of salvation. All I know is that given the choice I like the tee shirt that reads "When I die, the dog gets everything."

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