We, at Quick Loans Express have collected some quotations about money and financial issues to give you food for thought. We’ve made efforts to make sure that they come from different cultures and historical periods.

To make for easier reading, we’ve loosely grouped them around different subject matters. These are:

  • Effects of debt
  • Attitudes towards money
  • Spending money
  • Drawing up a budget
  • Lending to friends
  • Conclusion

Along with the quotation, we also give brief details about who said them, when and if appropriate, their context.

Effects of Debt

With alarming figures about the extent of UK household consumer debt, you might think that this was a relatively new phenomenon. However, it would seem that debt has been with us since bartering replaced money. And quotes reflect how it can have an impact on our lives.

The Chinese teacher, politician and philosopher, Confucius (551-479 BC) said,

“He who will not economise will have to agonise.”

An old English proverb puts across the same point:

“Loans and debts make worry and frets”.

Debt is seen as detrimental to the well-being of the person who owes money. Warnings about debt are repeated over and over again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) was an American poet, lecturer, essayist and proponent of the transcendentalism movement. He said in his written work ‘Wealth’ (1860),

“A man in debt is so far a slave.”

The American critic, poet and member of the Modernism movement, Ezra Pound agreed with him. In an interview in the Writers at Work series in 1963, he commented,

“Wars in old times were made to get slaves. The modern implement of imposing slavery is debt.”

Attitudes towards Money

Voltaire (1694-1778) was a French writer and historian known for his wit. As a philosopher and social reformist, he was outspoken in his defence of free trade, civil liberties and freedom of religion. He wrote,

“Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money.”

In 1957 Ayn Rand (1905-1982) published her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’, which was set in the dystopian US. This allowed the Russian-American author and philosopher to explore themes of reason, individualism and capitalism. Chapter 2 contains the following quote about money:

“Money is a tool. It will take you where you wish, but it will not replace you in the driving seat.”

Spending Money

Before you draw up a budget, experts always tell you to begin by examining your expenditure. The American founding father and polymath, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) recognised the wisdom of this over 250 years ago. In 1758 he published a book of practical advice called ‘The Way to Wealth’ and in it he warned,

“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”

You should also examine your reasons for spending money. Will Rogers was an actor especially loved for his cowboy roles but later became a syndicated newspaper columnist with a readership of 40 million. He represented the views of Middle America and the most famous quote attributed to him still rings true today:

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people who they don’t like.”

As a solution, you could copy the example of the Ancient Greek Stoic philosophical movement. Although ‘stoic’ now means ‘unemotional’ in English, it originally meant self-examination, calm acceptance of events and simplicity of life. It can be summed up in a quote by Epictetus (50-135) who said,

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

Drawing up a Budget

The best definition of a budget was made by the American author, businessman and TV personality, Dave Ramsey, who said,

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

In an 1833 letter, the 7th President of the US, Andrew Jackson laid out some advice about money management to his ward, Andrew Hutchings. He advised him,

“Live within your means, never be in debt and by husbanding your money, you can always lay it out well.”

The comic character of Mr Micawber in Charles Dickens’ novel ‘David Copperfield’ is commonly believed to have been based on Dickens’ father. He was sent to debtors’ prison and the 12-year-old boy had to leave school and work in a factory. It was an experience that scarred Dickens for life. In Chapter 12, Mr Micawber says,

“Annual income £20, annual expenditure £19 and 19/6, result happiness. Annual income £20, annual expenditure £20 and 0/6, result misery.”

If your expenditure is higher than your income like Mr Micawber, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the Scottish philosopher, mathematician, historian and man of letters has some words of wisdom which can still apply to consumers of today.

In Chapter 10 of his book ‘Past and Present’ (1843), he wrote,

“There are but two ways of paying debt: Increase of industry in raising income, increase of thrift in laying out.”

Lending to Friends

Have you ever borrowed money from family and friends? The most repeated words about this is from Shakespeare’s famous tragedy ‘Hamlet’. In Act 1, Scene 3 Polonius advises his son before he sets off for the bright city lights of Paris,

“Never a borrower or lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

In other words, you risk losing your money and your friendship if the loan isn’t paid back.

In 1939, in an interview with the New York Times magazine, the American politician and Secretary of Commerce, Jess Holman Jones, also warned about the dangers of lending.

“One of the greatest disservices you can do a man is to lend him money that he can’t pay back.”

Perhaps that’s why reputable financial institutions now like Quick Loans Express carry out affordability checks.


Our final words of wisdom have been attributed to different people, including the American humorous writer Mark Twain and the American poet, Robert Frost.

“A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”

Reading through these quotes from places as far apart as China and Europe and from different historical periods from Ancient Greece to modern-day America, there’s one immediately apparent thing. Although the financial sector and consumer credit like payday loans online may have undergone changes, some of the quotations are as true today as when they were first said or written.

Bryson Oakes
Bryson is the leading engine of the Quick Loans Express blog. He has worked in the financial industry for 15 years and is the go to man for all money-related tricks and tips. When he is not spreading the latest financial news, Bryson can be found playing cricket with his mates or running in the park with his dog.

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* Warning: Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyhelper.org.uk.