What Would Marcus Do?

Marcus Aurelius was the Emperor of Rome from 161 until he died in 180 AD. As a ruler, he was known for his ability to create stability, even during times of conflict, and his death marked the end of the Pax Romana, which was an extended period of relative peace and prosperity for the Roman Empire.

During his reign, he wrote down lessons learned through experiences and relationships, and these personal writings, collectively known as Meditations, now provide a rare glimpse into the unfiltered musings of one of the most successful rulers of the greatest empire in history. So what does Aurelius say about money?

He writes that from his mother he learned, “simplicity in [his] way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.” Or as the great philosopher The Notorious B.I.G. put it: more money means more problems. Aurelius understood that obsessing over the trappings of success is not only expensive but stressful. Expensive things require constant and expensive maintenance, so instead, he learned to enjoy the simple things in life.

Aurelius also comments that from his governor he learned, “endurance of labor, and to want little, and to work with [his] own hands.” It goes against our natural instincts, but hard work makes us happy. The pride that comes from productivity and accomplishing goals cannot be taken away. Often, we just want to skip the work and go straight to the reward, but if you don’t earn it, it won’t be fulfilling.


Josh Norris is an Investment Advisory Representative of LeFleur Financial. Josh can be reached at josh@LeFleurFinancial.com.