Samuel Allerton’s Advice

October 3rd, 2012 — 12:29pm

Near my home there’s a beautiful mansion and formal gardens called Allerton Park. It’s the former estate of Samuel Allerton who made his fortune in the livestock trade in Chicago. He wrote this letter in 1878 to his children. I always pay attention to the distilled wisdom of a person’s life.

To my dear beloved children, Kate and Robert,

Now it is one thing to make money and another to keep it. For every man that has it, there are men laying for fools who have it, to cheat and to get it from him.

When you go in business, go slow until you fully understand it and make yourself a master of it. Speculators are smart men who will make plenty of money on paper and pretend to be a great friend, but you must act on your own judgement or your money will be gone. Never go into anything you can’t get out of and have money left.

Capital constantly increases if properly invested. A man must always live on his income, never spend all his income; never enter into a new enterprise to the full extent of your capital. Keep a certain amount safely invested to ensure an income at all times.

Money is a necessity and a great blessing when properly used, but if spent in dissipation and to the detriment of the world it is the greatest curse that a man can have. Most fathers are afraid to give their sons money unti they have grown to manhood for fear they might lead a thoughtless and dissipated life, but I have confidence in my son that he will lead a thoughtful life remembering that the only true course of happiness is to shun evil. Keep the truth (which is everlasting) and manly courage on your side to do the right. Never wrong man or woman intentionally and lead a life that will fear nothing or no one.