On this Victoria Day, we harken back to the century of Queen Victoria and take note of the decided lack of bestsellers on personal finances. But the people of that era did find ways to cope and they didnt always involve scrimping and saving every dime, as so many personal-finance books of our time expound upon.
Take the financial affairs of Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England from 1874 to 1880 and Queen Victorias most kind and devoted Minister.” As a young dandy, Disraeli was eager to make a fortune and chose South American mining stocks as his vehicle. A mania was in progress and Disraeli had an inside track as a result of being hired to write pamphlets for one of the promoters.
Certain of fortune, he borrowed heavily and bought shares in the companies he was helping to puff (buying prior to release of his reports, of course). But the fever for New World mining shares suddenly broke in 1820 and his shares plunged, saddling him with huge debts that haunted him for many years afterward.
Disraeli then turned to writing with greater success. Under continuous pressure from his creditors, he authored popular novels, such as Vivian Grey (1826), and pamphlets on the political topics of his era. He parlayed his public profile as a writer into a political career: following several unsuccessful election campaigns, he won a Parliamentary seat in 1837.
One of the attractions of becoming a Member of Parliament was immunity from debt collectors. Disraeli also obtained some relief from personal finance worries by marrying a rich widow twelve years his senior.
So there are other ways to getting out of debt and becoming wealthy than foregoing ones daily latte at Starbucks . Disraelis example also shows that ones greatest asset may be not be financial but intangible: an indomitable spirit that transcends misfortune whenever it strikes.