A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you trying to impress upon someone the importance of financial education? The proverb “a fool and his money are soon parted” can teach your son or daughter the importance of learning how to manage money.

This post unpacks everything you need to know about the origin and meaning of this proverb.

Idiom Meaning

The meaning of the phrase “a fool and his money are soon parted” means that people with no financial literacy will generally unintentionally throw away any fortune that comes their way. Typically, the phrase does refer to money and the person’s economic sense.

A fool is a person who is careless and unknowledgeable, with no intention of improving themselves. As a result, they live in a pattern of behavior, and they don’t understand how to look after money; that’s why they are always broke.

If this fool wins the lottery, they will return to broke within a year or two because they follow the same financial patterns, just at a larger scale.

Instead of learning to invest the money, the fool will use it to purchase lifestyle purchases and other depreciating assets, losing it all when the sheriff comes to repossess the possessions to pay off outstanding debts.

Example Usage

“Did you hear about that guy that won the lotto and was broke 6-months later? A fool and his money are soon parted, right?”

“Remember to save more than you spend and olive within your means. A fool and his money are soon parted.”

“Son, you need to know the importance of money management. A fool and his money are soon parted.”

“What would you do with a million dollars? A fool and his money are soon parted, so learn to invest rather than spend it all.”

Idiom Origin

The origin of the proverb “a fool and his money are soon parted” goes back to the 16th century, with Thomas Tusser first penning the phrase in his work, “Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie,” written in 1573.

Dr. John Bridges would coin the phrase in his 1587 work, the book “Defence of the Government of the Church of England.” A passage in the text reads as follows.

If they pay a penie or two pence more for the reddinesse of them… let them looke to that, a foole and his money is soone parted.

Phrases Similar to A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted

  • If you can’t spot the sucker at the card table, you’re the sucker.
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Phrases Opposite to A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted

  • A successful man will lose everything and make it all back again.
  • Everything she touches turns to gold.
  • You have the Midas touch.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • Fools and their money are soon parted.

Ways People May Say this Incorrectly

Some people may use the phrase incorrectly in conversations. If the person had a run of bad luck and went broke after losing their business, that would not qualify for the use of the idiom.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase A Fool and His Money are Soon Parted

You can use the phrase “a fool, and his money is soon parted” in many social situations. You could use it when describing how lottery winners and footballers always end up broke or giving your son life advice about spending his money. Typically, you’ll use the phrase when talking to or about others, not about yourself.

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