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Shakespeare's Financial Advice

Day to Day personal finance contributor Michelle Singletary introduces us to Peter Enzminger, an award-winning high school student who wrote an essay that gives financial advice in the style of Shakespeare:

Shakespeare's Lost Folio

Friend Bassanio, word have I heard

That to Belmont you proceed, a task

Noble in effort yet precarious in form;

For the perils thou might face shall be neither

Few nor far between. Among these hazards

Fear not thy own mortality, rather

Upon the sharp rocks and siren songs of

Fiscal solvency focus thy energies.

Rife with deceit can the dens of the

Moneylenders be, so pack a prudent

Mind and wallet plump to weather the gale


To begin: a special reposit'ry

Shall be needed in which thy monies can

Be safely kept, preserv'd from those who might

Unravel thy tenuous lifeline from endless

Illiterate yesterdays - Yes! the future

Entire can an education deliver,

Though first saved your dollars and ducats

Must be, secure in the vaults of banks into

Which thou should'st thy savings deposit.

For one as thyself, Bassanio,

Choose not the Savings Account

But instead make certain a Checking Account

Shall be open'd in thy name, for the two

Are as night and day. A higher rate of

Int'rest may render the savings account's

Appeal the higher, yet consider thou

Must be at the bank directly to trade

Monies, while the Checking Account has

Not this obtrusive inconvenience.

Thou art permitted to write checks (paper

Bearing thy name and good credit: the

Esteem with which by others you are held)

To pay for purchas'd goods - cash now need

Not be perpetually carried, if thou

Has obtained a credit card especially not.

A brief lesson on the importance of

Good Credit may be now necessary:

To be held in high trust being Paramount

For success and the boons of responsibility

Recognized - think not that Citi nor Visa

Nor Discover nor Mastercard shall neglect

To bestow privilege upon he who

Each month in full his bill pays. Merely

Defers payment, thy credit card does, and

At the close of the payment period

Thou must complete thy bill and quit thy debt

Before't accumulates beyond thy means.

'Cause this dire hazard so potent, use plastic

Sparingly, caringly, as a fallback

For when cash becomes inconvenient

Or insufficient. Pay in full on purchase

When possible, but of this be certain:

Ample funds must in bank be present 'fore

More deals can be made. Expenses need be

Tracked, noted, and planned, the latter

Being a necessity to the practice

Of inform'd financial behaviour.

A budget, it is called, whose branches

Shall be as follows for a student as thyself,

Forsworn to learning and the love of fair

Portia: books and the life of knowledge therein

Come first in ascendancy and dear in

Cost - tomes of covers hard elicit sums

Of figures three. Forget not the common

Novel; textbooks shall not be the limit

Of what thou shalt read. Preceded are these

Tabulations by the Dormitory

Assumption: Thou shalt live on campus and

Save money with thy meal plan ticket by

Belmont U. provided. After books, for

School supplies thou must allow in thy plan

Each month: paper, pencils, pens, binder and

Other sundries. But what of thy fineries?

Remember'd must clothing be, and dress with

Care to from other suitors stand out. Certain

Spotless standards require weekly laundry,

A dose of mere coins each load, but coins soon

Become dollars, and dollars debt without a

Budget plann'd. Reserv'd should some monies

Be for the entertainment of thy fair

Maiden, for weekly dinner/movie duos.

Recourses plenty exist for thy hours

Of need, if thy final budgetary year

Should exceed the petition'd thousands three,

Look to scholarships, friend, as did I in

My time of youth. For thy Italian descent

And fiscal know-how newly inspired, monies

May appear in quantities unforeseen,

And such apparitions of monetary delights

Can you make real by mere applications

Completed and filed. As scholarships lift

Thy tuition, let work study, as it is cali'd

Relieve thy load in all areas and the final

Parcel of aid become.

With such wisdom in thy hand. God speed

And swift passage to Portia, Belmont, and financial facility.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michelle Singletary
Michelle Singletary is the personal finance guru for NPR’s Day to Day, filing commentaries that can be heard every Tuesday. In conjunction with her work for NPR, Singletary writes the award-winning, syndicated “The Color of Money” column for the Washington Post and is a regular contributor to Howard University's evening news radio program, Insight, on which she discusses personal finance issues.