Financial Advice
Travelers to the 18th Century


Here at the Bank of England, we know that many of our more adventurous customers may be considering taking advantage of the recently discovered portal into the 18th Century. Beyond the other complications associated with time travel -- of which these customers may already be aware -- it is important to put careful consideration into the less-often cited financial ramifications of such a decision. For that reason, the Bank of England has created this website so that our customers can make the most informed decision possible.


One of the most important aspects of the rise of consumerism in the 18th century was the emergence of the concept of imaginary money, or credit. During an age of growing cultural and societal ideas and experiments, people began to develop a system that allowed money to take on forms other than coins, having no inherent value though still available for purchasing and payments. Credit could also be raised through other sources, such as stocks of merchandise, tax receipts, revenues on land, and any commercial obligations.1 It allowed consumers to make the most of their wealth by buying on credit more than they could directly afford with the option of paying later and investing in stocks of merchandise. This set the economy on fire, as it was fueled by a flood of new purchases. Such developments, along with the nearly simultaneous emergence of paper money, resulted in the creation and rise of the middle class as a major new economic force.2


The UN has published a list of Rules & Regulations governing the use of the portal. Of particular note is Item 9, which states that a traveler's 18th Century financial status will be made to be the 18th Century equivalent of his or her current financial status. In the manner in which it is presented in the Rules & Regulations, however, this process is not made particularly clear. For a more practical means of understanding what your 18th Century financial equivalent will be, use our 18th Century Financial Planning Tool.


For links to more information on this topic, visit our bibliography and notes pages or the ECE homepage. If you need additional help, feel free to contact anyone listed on the credits page or just stop in to your local Bank of England branch office.