I remember being in my twenties and listening to the audio of George Clayson’s Richest Man in Babylon.
Unfortunately due to buying a house I couldn’t afford and other foolish financial decisions, it would be years before I would start applying Clayson’s timeless principles told through the parables of Arkad, the richest man in Babylon.
I remember being frustrated when one of my wealthy clients at the time assumed I was at least maxing out my roth IRA. Little did he know, that I barely had enough for my basic expenses.
OK back to Arkad. He was a poor scribe who became the richest man in Babylon, going back 8,000 years. Since the classic book was written in 1926, the language is a bit different. You’ll have to do a bit of translating. Although there are several parables within the book, the main one is about Arkad sharing with his childhood friends how he became so wealthy. Here are the 3 main principles which are just as applicable today. I’ll also share my 2 cents.
- A portion of all you make is yours to keep – This is the main one and Arkad says that with just this, you can become wealthy. I was recently talking to one of my young coaches who at age 25 starting investing for retirement. I told him if he does nothing but that consistently, he’ll be a millionaire. Many people don’t realize that earning money and keeping money are 2 different skills. In order to become wealthy you must learn to live below your means. There are millionares who never earned more than 30 or 50K and there are people who’ve earned millions but are broke.
- Be careful who you take money advice from – Arkad learned the hard way when he entrusted years worth of savings with a bricklayer. I also learned this the hard way when I lost 20 thousand dollars in my twenties by taking the advice of a family member who was not an expert on finances. Now I know better and the person I take advice from will be someone who is responsible with money and has a proven track record.
- Let your money make money – Early in his journey, Arkad made the mistake of having a feast with his earnings and buying other things to enjoy. He then learned the importance of letting the money made from interest make more money. Arkad says to make you money’s children and children’s children work for you. Nice analogy. That might translate to investing in your business, mutual funds, and real estate.
In today’s technology culture, people want things fast. They want to develop an app and cash out for millions or just win the lotto. The reality is that isn’t how it works for most. The success lies in the hard work for a cause greater than yourself – Not flying somewhere on a private jet.
If you get nothing else from this, remember one thing. A portion of all you earn is yours to keep. You work too hard not to have anything to show for it. I can hear someone saying that they don’t have enough to save anything. I challenge you to save just 1% and see if you actually feel it.