Real Estate the Highest Form of Property-Real Estate a Necessity - The Acquisition of Property Implies Moral and Intellectual Qualities - Capital is Needed to Acquire Property - Capital the Result of Saving - How to Save - The Saving Habit a Valuable Asset and Easily Acquired - No Time so Opportune as the Present - Rules of Thrift Laid Down by Russell Sage - The Desirability of Owning a Home - Setting the Money to Work - Going Judiciously Into Debt - Savings Banks and Building and Loan Associations - What Sort of Investments to Avoid.
Sec. 22. Land, because of its immovability, its indestructibility, and its relative permanence in value, as well as on account of the many fine sentiments'that cluster about its ownership, always has been and is now esteemed above all other forms of property.
Sec. 23. "Private property," says St. Thomas, "is necessary to human life for three reasons: first, because everyone is more solicitous to look after what belongs to himself alone than what is common to all or many; secondly, because human affairs are handled more orderly when on each individual is the care of managing something; thirdly, because thereby a peaceful state of society is secured, while each one is content with his own."
Sec. 24. Economists tell us that a man's capital is a fund of wealth through which he expects to receive an income. The acquisition of wealth implies certain moral and intellectual qualities. The power of saving and of postponing enjoyment is necessary to the formation of capital. A man who desires to accumulate capital will have to pursue the object steadily and under difficulties for a considerable length of time, and he must have a will strong enough to curb his appetites and an imagination broad enough to foresee the advantages which will accrue from the possession of capital; and that by means of capital he can lessen his toil and cease active efforts with a sense of comparative security in his declining years.
Sec. 25. To acquire property, one must have some money. It is difficult to save money and still more difficult to invest it profitably. A man must succeed in something to be happy. He must save to succeed. He can save, if he will make it a fixed rule and principle of his life to invariably spend less than he earns. If a man will do this, he will begin to accumulate capital.
Sec. 26. In regard to saving, there is no time so opportune as the present in which to begin. If a man neglects to save in his earlier years, he may not have as good an opportunity to do so later in life. "No morning sun lasts the whole day." The habit of saving must be formed. Habit is the regular performance of an act until it becomes almost involuntary or a second nature, requiring but little effort or thought. The man or woman who acquires the habit of saving early in life has a most valuable asset. Begin to save, repeat the act a few times regularly and the habit will do the rest.
Sec. 27. When one first begins to save, he should place his money in a savings bank, where it will draw interest, and thus set the money to work. All reputable savings banks pay about the same rate of interest, and such being the case, there are but two points for the intending depositor to consider: one is the safety of the deposit and the other is the selection of a bank where his business relations will be pleasant and agreeable.
Sec. 28. Savings banks are required to publish statements annually, and an idea of the safety of a particular bank can be obtained from its statement. Its resources should be in cash or in items readily convertible into cash, such as coupon bonds and corporate stocks. It should have a fair portion of its assets in ready cash. Its liabilities should show a good paid-up cash capital and proportionate deposits. There should be an item of surplus or undivided profits, which will indicate that the bank is prosperous and is making money. Its directors and its principal shareholders should be men who have accumulated fortunes in reputable, legitimate, non-speculative lines of business.
Sec. 29. Or, the budding capitalist may invest his savings in the stock of a building and loan association of known worth. He should examine the annual statement, and inquire into the standing of the directors and principal stockholders of the association, and also make inquiry among outsiders as to the reputation of the association. Such an association loans the monies collected from its stockholders on improved real estate, the appraised value of which is generally made by men of excellent judgment, and the rule is to loan not over fifty per cent of the appraised valuation. The loans made by the association are distributed over a large number of properties, so that the security is apparently much safer than if the individual were himself to loan his money on one parcel only, and the rate of interest is usually higher than that paid by a savings bank, being from 6 per cent to 10 per cent paid by the association as against 4 per cent paid by the bank.
Sec. 30. Mr. Russell Sage, who has been known for many years as one of the leading financiers of the world, has laid down the following rules for the guidance of those who desire to accumulate capital: Thrift is the foundation of success in business, of contentment in the home and of standing in society. Out of every dollar earned, save twenty-five cents; save seventy-five cents, if you can, but never less than twenty-five cents. Don't gamble. Be circumspect in your amusements. Be courteous in your manners; bad manners often spring from a bad heart. Be honest. Always have the courage to speak the truth. Don't depend on others. Even if you have a rich father, strike out for yourself. Cultivate independence at the very outset. Learn the value of money. Realize that it stands, when honestly made, as a monument to your value as a citizen. This is a tremendously practical world, and no man can get the most out of the world who is hampered by a constant want of money.
Sec. 31. Every married man should make a vigorous effort to own a home. As soon as he has accumulated sufficient money, he should invest in a home, where his family may live permanently. A home owned is more than mere property; it speaks to the heart, enlists the sentiments and ennobles the possessor. Viewed as a matter of economy, a man can occupy a home of his own at less expense than he can rent, and avoid the inconvenience and expense of frequent removals. In addition, if he buys right, he may have the satisfaction of knowing that his property is steadily increasing in value while he occupies it.
Sec. 32. Credit is defined to be the trust or confidence placed by one individual in another when he assigns him money or other property in loan, and gives him a stipulated time for repayment. The credit so extended is often spoken of as going in debt, and is viewed in some quarters with a sort of horror. Paradoxical as the assertion may seem, it is safe to say that no man ever accumulated much property without judiciously going in debt. The fact that a young man has the courage to go into debt to provide a home for his family of itself inspires confidence; and so in the larger and more speculative deals in real estate, the man who has the temerity to go judiciously into debt, leaving a safe margin between his assets and his liabilities, is looked upon with favor by bankers and capitalists, who extend credit, as it is to their advantage to keep their money employed on good security in earning interest. If everyone were to wait until he could pay cash in full for each parcel of real estate he purchased, the transactions in real estate would be limited in number and a few individuals would be large land owners. This state of things is overcome by the partial payment of the purchase price in money and by the giving of credit for the remainder.
Sec. 33. There are certain species of investment which the investor who desires to be successful, will avoid, at least until he has accumulated so much that a slight loss will not materially embarrass him and until he is thoroughly familiar with investments in general. Among the things to be avoided are the treasury stocks of mining companies, rubber plantation schemes, buying diamonds on the installment plan, and in fact, every get-rich-quick scheme. No legitimate enterprise can pay from 15 per cent to 300 per cent per annum, for any great length of time, and meet its obligations. The corporate bond, which apparently promises absolute security, is not always secure, and guaranteed stock is a misnomer. Every young man and woman should make one resolve early in life, and that is to buy no shares of treasury stock. Stock certificates, in many cases, are the equivalents of so much paper. Paper is cheap.
Sec. 34. On the contrary, it may be stated, as a general proposition, that real estate is the most judicious investment, as it enhances in value the most steadily, and yields the best returns. The security, the increase, and the income are the three essentials to be sought for in making an investment.