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I’ve always said you can learn a lot from the stories and experiences of other people. When I first came to America in 1986, I invited several successful men I met through my local church to lunch to gain insight from their experiences. Two of them recommended that I read the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason; the third recommended that I listen to Jim Rohn, who often cites the “The Richest Man in Babylon” from stage. When three people recommend the same book to you, you have to read it.
I attribute the book to jumpstarting me on the road to financial success more than anything else I’ve ever done. It gave me more of an education than my years of formal education!
“The Richest Man in Babylon” centers on a man named Arkad, a scribe who seeks to become rich. He meets Algamish, a wealthy money lender, and asks him how to become rich. Algamish offers simple, timeless advice that Arkad applies to his life. After a setback, he begins to gain wealth and is eventually put in charge of Algamish’s estate, where he continues to grow his wealth.
I absorbed the wisdom of Algamish and adopted his lessons into my life.
1) A part of all you earn is yours to keep. Put another way, pay yourself first. Although many people have heard that phrase, not many apply it, likely because they feel they can’t afford to. The reality is they can’t afford not to.
My mentor, Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” Start small, with whatever you can afford, whether it’s $10 or $100. Set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account to your savings, 401k, investments or real estate accounts so you don’t even have to think about it each month. The more decisions you have to make about money, the easier it is to make the wrong one. Live within your means and you can increase the amount of money you are able to put away. Then, reinvest the dividends so your money can continue to grow.
2) Don’t give your money to a bricklayer to buy diamonds. In the book, Arkad thinks he’s being clever when he gives his savings to a bricklayer to purchase jewels from abroad. Algamish calls Arkad a fool, saying “He who takes advice in his savings from he who is inexperienced in such matters shall pay with his savings, for proving the falsity of their opinions.” Never abdicate your financial decisions to someone else. To find a trusted financial advisor, get referrals. However, never let go of control over your money; always know where your money is going.
3) Don’t expect unreasonable returns from your investments. Albert Einstein said, ““Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.” Money takes time to grow, but rest assured, if you only add to your savings each month, the interest will add to your returns. Keep reinvesting the returns so it’ll continue to accrue.
Wealth doesn’t have to be elusive. By starting small and keeping a percentage of all you earn, you’ll build the foundation for financial success.
If you’d like to hear more about “The Richest Man in Babylon,” listen to episode #097 of The Brian Buffini Show podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the weekly podcast so you don’t miss any great content. If you’ve already subscribed, become a Buffini Insider for behind-the-scenes information.
It’s a good life!
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