"If you have to ask, you can't afford it" (1926)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat May 22 02:56:23 UTC 2004

IF YOU HAVE TO ASK + AFFORD--6,020 Google hits, 6,100 Google Groups hits

  From an editorial cartoon in AM NEW YORK, May 21-23, 2004, pg. 10:
   GAS (seen on the roof of a station--ed.)
(From a sign just outside:--ed.)

   We've discussed this before, but I don't see it in the archives.  Morgan is credited with "If you have to ask..." regarding a yacht, and Louis Armstrong is credited with "If you have to ask..." regarding jazz.

Daily Northwestern - 2/7/1933
...remarked: "Any man who ASKs how much a YACHT costs can't AFFORD one.....to It may have been J. P. MORGAN or someone else equally gilt..
Oshkosh, Wisconsin   Tuesday, February 07, 1933  771 k

Zanesville Signal - 6/26/1934
...a. YACHT, that "nobody can AFFORD a YACHT who even has .to think about the.....steam YACHT Elfreda. Has crew of J. P. MORGAN's big black Corsair is most of..
Zanesville, Ohio   Tuesday, June 26, 1934  983 k

Indiana Weekly Messenger - 2/20/1936
...But If Philo can't AFFORD to run a YACHT why does he put it overboard? He.....it cost to own a YACHT? Well, J. P. MORGAN once answered that question by..
Indiana, Pennsylvania   Thursday, February 20, 1936  792 k

Lima News - 8/26/1938
...TO keep up a yacht: "IF YOU HAVE TO ASK such a question, YOU can't afford.....popular film j teams of recent years, HAVE been j reunited and they will come..
Lima, Ohio   Friday, August 26, 1938  1011 k
Pg. 5?, col. 3:
   A large yacht costs from half a million dollars upwards, and maintenance runs into five figures yearly--which forms the basis for the elder J. P. Morgan's famous comment, when asked by a friend how much it cost to keep up a yacht: "If you have to ask such a question, you can't afford one."

Mansfield News Journal - 11/13/1949
...orchestra like a yacht? IF YOU HAVE TO ASK how much a yacht will cost, YOU can.....J. P. Morgan once said. IF YOU HAVE TO ASK how much a symphony will cost, YOU..
Mansfield, Ohio   Sunday, November 13, 1949  993 k

Nebraska State Journal - 11/15/1949
...orchestra like a yacht? IF YOU HAVE TO ASK how much jgcht will cost, YOU can't.....af_ J. P. Morgan once said. IF TO ASK how much a symphony will cost, YOU..
Lincoln, Nebraska   Tuesday, November 15, 1949  636 k

Lowell Sun - 5/23/1953
...who ASKed how much it cost to run a YACHT? "If you have to ASK. don't buy.....and models to find the kind he could AFFORD for the type of pictures he was..
Lowell, Massachusetts   Saturday, May 23, 1953  760 k

Gettysburg Times - 9/5/1954
...that if he had to 'ASK what running a YACHT cost, he couldn't AFFORD It.....have changed a good deal since J. P. MORGAN frostily told the fellow..
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania   Sunday, September 05, 1954  800 k

The Wall Street Journal Straws; Paternalistic Exchange Control
Wall Street Journal (1889-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Sep 14, 1926. p. 2 (1 page):
      _Can You Afford a Yacht?_
   There are two degrees of millionaires: the kind who can afford a yacht, and those who can't.  At least that is what the late J. P. Morgan seemed to think.  As witness the following:
   A banker, who by most people would be considered very wealthy, able to own a town house, a country estate, a hunting lodge, all kinds of automobiles, and several college bredchildren, one day decided he needed only a yacht to round out his possessions.  After a bit of investigation he thought he'd better ask the advice of an owner of a yacht, and went to the late J. P. Morgan.  "John," he said (that's the kind of banker he was), "do you think I can afford a yacht?"  And the answer was:
    "If there is any doubt in your mind, you can't."

Almost the Naked Truth
By JAMES S. COLLINS. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Mar 6, 1929. p. 15 (1 page):
   His attitude recalls the advice of J. Pierpont Morgan, the elder, once gave a friend who told him he was thinking of buying a yacht.
   "I am wondering if I can afford a yacht," he told Morgan.  "How much would it cost to maintain one?"
   "No man who asks himself that question can afford to own a yacht," replied the master of the Corsair.

By FRANK L. KLUCKHOHNWASHINGTON.. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: May 18, 1941. p. SM12 (2 pages)
First page:  Thus far there is nothing to differentiate this ship sharply from the yacht of a moderately wealthy individual.  To it, certainly, does not apply the dictum attributed to the elder J. P. Morgan, who, when asked by a young friend what it cost to operate a yacht, is reported to have said, "Young man, if you have to ask, don't get one."  It cost, however, $60,000 to convert the ship for Presidential use.

Apostle of Swing; Benny Goodman thinks it's on the upbeat, and sets out on tour to test his point.
By GILBERT MILLSTEIN. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Apr 19, 1953. p. SM17 (2 pages)
Second page:  Like Fats Waller used to say: 'Man, if you have to ask questions about it, don't mess with it.'"

By LAWRENCE PERRY.. Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (1876-1904). New York: Aug 1901. Vol. Vol. LII., Iss. No. 4.; p. 0_014 (11 pages)
Secon page:  Some years ago, when persons were not as rich in worldy goods as they are now, a man of no small means remarked that he did not see how it were possible for any one, try as he might, to spend more than $100,000 a year.  Later this gentleman bought a large steam yacht.  It cost him $70,000 or more yearly to run it.  History fails to (Third page--ed.) record whether he ever qualified his statement by adding, "Unless he takes to yachting."
   (This is also a popular yachting phrase--ed.)


   Every time I arrive home to my studio apartment, my doorman asks:  "How many people did you put behind bars today?"  The doorman then asked the handyman how much the judge makes an hour.
   "$200?" the handyman guessed.

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