I need help converting into today's language what Benjamin Franklin meant in this quote: "Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor." What does it mean?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To be content means to be “in a state of peaceful happiness, or in a state of satisfaction.”  Happiness and contentment aren’t necessarily connected to wealth. One can find contentment in things like family, friends, love, or a beautiful landscape.  Even a poor person can be content if they are happy with what they have and are thankful for it.  People can be rich in other ways than what money can provide; it depends on your attitude and outlook on life.  However, if a rich man is discontent and unhappy with his life, he will live a poor quality of life.  He will be “poor” in his contentment and happiness.  He will have lost everything even if he has all the money in the world.  The old saying that, “Money can’t buy you happiness” rings true in Ben Franklin’s quote. Sometimes the poorest are the most content because they live a simpler life lacking in responsibility and commitments.  It’s all a matter of attitude.  If you are thankful and satisfied with what you have, you will be rich in many ways. If you are discontent and unsatisfied, you will be “poor” or lacking in things that make you rich.

So, substitute some words from the definition into the quote and put it in your own words.  Ex.  Peaceful happiness can make those who have very little satisfied with life; however, if one’s happiness and satisfaction in life is missing, life can be considered poor in quality. 

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