In one of William Bennett’s books, he tells a story about Ben Franklin’s death. It seems that old Ben made a special gift in his will. In it, he left 1,000 pounds to the cities of Philadelphia and Boston with specific instructions. They were to set up a program of loans to young men under the age of 25, married, and who had successfully completed an apprenticeship, needing startup money for a trade or business. The money was to be loaned at 5% interest. The loan program was to continue for 200 years.
At the end of 100 years, the two cities were to withdraw $100,000 each for public projects, and continue lending the balance as stated above. At the end of 200 years, the fund was to be split between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Boston, and Massachusetts. In the year 1990 there was $6,500,000 in the fund. For 200 years, Ben Franklin helped young men get started in business by making those funds available, and had $6.5 million left over.
Just think of the many ways you and I could benefit our families, the community, or the lives of total strangers if we just took the initiative exhibited by Ben Franklin. By setting up a similar fund that earns just 5%, it would contain $17,292,581 at the end of 200 years. The purpose could be educational loans for family members.
Set aside $1,000 now and add just $100 per month to it for ten years, earning 5% on loans made from the account, and the fund would have $17,157. After the ten-year period of adding $100 per month, no more money is added and it continues to be loaned at 5% for the next 190 years. At the end of 200 years, the fund would contain $181,141,192. At that point, it could be converted to an outright “grant” program to which family members could apply for education funds.
Instead of focusing on just your immediate family, think about the legacy you could leave by planning much further into the future. Thanks to the “future value of money” concept, you could provide valuable support to many future generations. It’s just a thought, but why couldn’t we give it a try?