The first of the wise lessons in this chapter relates to wisely caring for one's existing wealth. Solomon especially urges his son to avoid financial entanglements by not entering into a surety agreement. In rough terms, this means being extremely cautious about cosigning a loan. If he does cosign, and realizes he's gotten into a risky situation, he should try to get out of the deal even if doing so causes humiliation. While this does not prohibit all forms of debt or lending, this Scripture strongly advises being careful not to waste what has been earned (Proverbs 6:1–5).
Just as cosigning for an untrustworthy person might cause poverty, laziness is another way a person can become destitute. Solomon tells his son to consider the ant. Without supervision, it works hard to meet its needs both present and future. Unless a person works, poverty will overtake him as surely as a robber or an armed man overtakes his victim. Here, again, the general principles are seen in common sense. Wasted opportunities cannot be "made up" when times get hard (Proverbs 6:6–11).