Love or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher was an enigma! Visionary, controversial and decisive (some say stubborn), she made her mark in history- for better or worse. Respected and despised in equal measure, everyone has their own opinion of her.
One thing we can not deny about Lady Thatcher though, is her attitude to money. Not only did this come through in her numerous speeches but most of what she did in Government were rooted in her attitude to finance – and not just government finance, but personal.
So as we pay of last respect to the Iron Lady, let’s ignore political pundits on both sides and remember a few things she thought us about personal finance.
In a speech on Sept. 20, 1981, the then PM said “My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.” (The News of the World)
This quote sums up Lady Thatcher’s view on money and here’s some lessons from that;
- Your most important wealth-building tool is your earning! In another speech in 1979, Mrs Thatcher said – “Pennies don’t fall from heaven; they have to be earned here on earth.” True that. No matter how strong our desire to achieve financial freedom is, it is important that we are able to earn a decent income. And in this day and age when the prices of goods and services keeps going up, we need pay more attention to increasing our earning capacity.
- Live within your means:– This is a bit of a cliché but like many clichés, it’s true. It’s impossible to build wealth if you spend more than you earn or in fact if you don’t know what you are spending in relation to what you are earning! If your income exceed your outgo, your upkeep will be your downfall.
- Build a nest egg for the future – As simple as this sounds, it one of the most difficult to do. We recommend putting aside at least 15% of your earnings away for retirement. Hard, yes! Impossible? Only if you think it is!
Here’s another quote from the Lady …. “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.” Weekend World, 1980
- When it comes to generosity, intentions are good, actions are better. Intentions don’t buy food to feed the poor. Money does. Intentions don’t pay for vaccination against malaria. Money does. We all want to help the poor and contribute to the wider society, that take money, not just intentions.
“I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society – from a give-it-to-me to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.“Speech, 1984
- Your financial well-being is your personal responsibly, not the government’s. If you are blessed enough to be in good health, your financial future is entirely your responsibility. The government might help, your employer might offer some support but in the end, its down to you.