Pirates of Personal Finance

If you know anything about pirates, you know they were ruthless and vicious men (and sometimes women) who were the terror of their times. What you may NOT know is that they were excellent personal finance advisors. Here are some piratical tidbits:

Heave-ho, ye blimey scum! If yer be spendin’ all yer money on grog in the Barbados, ye’ll have nought left for rum in Jamaica! Spend less than you earn. Even pirates understood that they needed to save for their retirement. Many times it was unnecessary since they were hung by the neck until dead, but if they did live to the ripe old age of 50 many of them chose to settle down in a nice beach town in the Carribbean and drink themselves to death – so at least a little bit in retirement savings were useful.


Ar, mateys, set aside some o’ them doubloons in Dead Man’s Cove in case we be assailed! Create an emergency fund. Pirates knew that they could be seized by the authorities any day, so it was prudent to keep a little stash somewhere in a cave or buried on a desert island. I probably would recommend ING or HSBC for emergency savings rather than burying your money in your backyard, but the general principle is the same.

Avast, there, ye lubber, don’t ye know which is the starboard side? 40 lashes fer ya! Educate yourself. If a pirate didn’t understand his business, he was going to end up off the boat via plank or mutiny or cannonball. Make sure you understand investing and saving to make sure you don’t end up going off the deep end.

Arrr, no need to enlist with the Navy there be plenty o’ opportunities fer a young pirate in these seas – rum running, lootin’, rampagin’. Entrepreneurialism. Pirates were risk-takers and highly focused on their goals. Unfortunately their goals were often somewhat negative (wipe out Cape Mercy township, burn it to the ground) but they pursued them, so that has to count for something.

Yo-ho-ho, be watchful fer them ships with Portuguese sails – they be runnin’ with barrels o’ port! The Dutch ships be filled with tulips, and ye olde Tulip Bubble be bursting soon!
Understand your investments. Similar to educating yourself, be aware of what’s going on in the markets. Showing the Jolly Roger was a big decision, and you needed to make sure you were getting the ship full of more or less liquid assets like doubloons or barrels of ale, not pigs or rubber tree plants.

Walk the plank, ye scurvy dog! That phrase has nothing to do with personal finance, I just needed to say ‘scurvy dog.’ Now get on with ye, there’s piratin’ to be done!

6 Replies to “Pirates of Personal Finance”

  1. Pingback: Personal Finance » Pirates of Personal Finance
  2. Very creative post. I guess I will take your adivce and go out back and try and find where I buried that money.

  3. Thanks SD, Kyle! I appreciate being told it’s creative, particularly considering my post that’s coming out on Wednesday… (you’ll see what I mean).

  4. Pingback: Personal finance at KMull.com

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