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Our prosperity as a nation depends upon the personal financial prosperity of each of us as individuals.
One of the reasons I’m glad I started this “10 pages a day challenge” in 2016 is, “Our thinking can be no wiser than our understanding.” Lisa Nicole Bell forewarned me that it would be impossible to read 10 pages a day, or almost 12 books a year, and not have your thinking changed. I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but I now have a greater appreciation for this fact. Although originally published in 1926, the wisdom of The Richest Man in Babylon still resonates today, perhaps now more than ever.
Summary: “They practiced sound financial principles in acquiring money, keeping money and making their money earn more money. They provided for themselves what we all desire..incomes for the future.” – The Richest Man in Babylon
It’s Ok to Desire More Money
If you want money, pursue it. Some have been taught that money is the root of all evil. It is evil to love money, to worship money. It is not wrong to want money, especially when so much in life is made easier, or more difficult, based on how much of it you do or do not have. Further, while money does not buy happiness, its absence is no guarantee of happiness either.
In my youth I looked about me and saw all the good things there were to bring happiness and contentment. And I realized that wealth increased the potency of all these. Wealth is power. With wealth many things are possible.
A Fool and His Money Will Soon Depart
“A fat purse quickly empties if there be no golden stream to refill it.”
Quickly following the pursuit of money, is learning what to do with it once you acquire it. The relevant translation today?
I found the road to wealth when I decided that a part of all I earned was mine to keep. That what each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.
The Keys to Building Wealth According to The Richest Man in Babylon
Pay yourself 10 percent first. The advice to pay yourself first was as relevant in the age of Babylon as it is in the dawn of Baby Shark. The sentiment to pay yourself first, typically 10-20 percent, is a common theme in every personal finance book I have read on the list. According to Mr. Clason’s take, “it should not be less than a tenth no matter how little you earn.”
If you live paycheck-to-paycheck you are free to protest this advice, but until you follow it, you will only continue in the same vicious cycle. You do not have to start at 10 percent. You do need to start. I started saving 10-percent of my income at $20,000 a year. When my money was stretched thin, which felt like all the time, I started increasing my savings rate by 1-percent until I reached my goal of 18-percent (to align with my personal finance goals). To break from a pattern of unhappiness, you have to take the first step in a different direction. If you’re not sure which step to make first, then step that is different from the habits you have repeated to get where you are will do.
The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.
You need a budget. Centuries have passed and this advice is still accurate. “The purpose of a budget is to help thy purse to fatten. It is to assist thee to have thy necessities and insofar as attainable, thy other desires.”
Own thy home. To be fair, we’ve had a lot of rent vs. buy debates around these here parts. A Life Hack from The Automatic Millionaire also offers insight into a simple change that helps you own your home to 7 to 10 years sooner.
Thus come many blessings to the man who owneth his own house. And greatly will it reduce his cost of living, making available more of his earnings for pleasures and the gratification of his desires.
Learn how to manage your personal finances. When I set out to become debt free, I did not set out to learn. I was singular in my focus. Although I achieved my goal, I didn’t learn as much as I should have along the way.
Therefore, six years later, I still had much to learn about how to manage money and more importantly, how to build wealth. Wealth building wasn’t even on my radar until after I got completely out of debt. I lost out on several compound investment years as a result. A wise man learns from observing the mistake of others, rather than desire the need to repeat them himself. In other words, do as I say, not as I did.
The last remedy for a lean purse is to cultivate thy own powers, to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to act as to respect thyself.
Everything that Glitters Aint Gold
When I was younger, my father would often observe that “I had more money than sense.” For years I thought he was complimenting my financial prowess since his observations were usually offered after I had made a material purchase. In hindsight, I realized I was in chase of all that glittered, not gold. I was well into my 20s before I realized he wasn’t complimenting my financial expertise all those years. If you want to collect equal cents to your sense, here is the final advice you should follow:
Invest with wise counsel. Although I believe all are well-positioned to invest on their own, if you are uncomfortable doing so, then you need to find an expert that can offer you reliable financial advice.
Youth would take shortcuts to wealth and the
desireablethings for which it stands. Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not.
- Save one-tenth of all earnings.
- Pay off all debts.
- Learn to live on less than you earn (after satisfying the obligations meeting #1 and #2).
- Strive to never to let your living expenses encompass more than 70 percent of your total income.
- Develop a money plan you can actually follow.
Like so many in this series, The Richest Man in Babylon is another great read. The financial advice offered centuries ago remains relevant to this day. While there are great insights throughout the novel, the one takeaway everyone should follow is: pay yourself first and no less than 10 percent of all earnings should be invested. Follow this timeless golden rule and you will grow