Money books for the stocking

2011-11-12 10:13

I have to confess that I have only recently read George Clason’s The Richest Man in Babylon. The book has been a bestseller and a hot topic for some time now, but when FNB CEO Michael Jordaan started quoting it to me I realised it was time to read it myself.

He told me about the parable where Arkad, the richest man in Babylon, said to a room of people: “If you say you cannot afford to put away one-tenth of your income, then how does the person who earns less than you survive?”

This book should be required reading at school as any young person would benefit from understanding the simple facts about how to create wealth from their first pay cheque.

It is not rocket science and many of the principles you may know already, but sometimes we need to be reminded.

The book is set 6 000 years ago in the time of ancient Babylon, which the author describes as “the cradle in which was nurtured the basic principles of finance now recognised and used the world over”.

Through parables in which a rich man shares his knowledge with the people of Babylon, the book lays out simple truths about acquiring money, keeping money and making money earn you more money.

In one parable Arkad talks about the seven cures for a lean purse:

» Start thy purse to fattening

The basic rule of creating wealth is to save one tenth of all that you earn.

Arkad, the richest man in Babylon, uses this example: if you have a basket and each morning you put ten eggs into it and in the evening you take out nine eggs, what will eventually happen?

The basket in time will overflow. So will your purse if you save a tenth of your income.

» Control thy expenditure

So how do you save one-tenth of all you earn? You control what you spend.

As Arkad says: “That what each of us calls our ‘necessary expenses’ will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.”

» Make thy gold multiply

Invest your money wisely so that it can grow. “A man’s wealth is not in the coins he carries in his purse; it is the income he buildeth, the income that continueth to come whether thou work or travel.”

» Guard thy treasures from loss

Beware of scams; everyone is presented with opportunities that promise great wealth, but first make sure you understand the risks of what you are investing.

“Is it wise to be intrigued by larger earnings when thy principle may be lost? I say not. Be not misled by thine own romantic desires to make wealth rapidly.”

Arkad told his students to seek the advice of those people who are experienced in handling money for profit. “Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold.”

» Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment

A very simple principle – own your own home as soon as possible rather than paying rent.

» Insure a future income

You need to make provision for your old age and also protection for your family if you are unable to provide for them.

“No man can afford not to insure a treasure for his old age and the protection of his family, no matter how prosperous his business and his investments may be.”

» Increase thy ability to earn

Invest in yourself and your skills. The only way to increase your earnings is to increase your productivity.

“The more of wisdom we know, the more we may earn. The man who seeks to learn more of his craft shall be richly rewarded.”

Arkad talks of a time when, as a young man working as a scribe, he noticed that some men were producing more work than he was and therefore being paid more.

He realised by working harder he could earn more. “More interest in my work, more concentration upon my task, more persistence in my effort, and behold, few men could carve more tablets in a day than I.”

The book teaches many lessons, such as how to attract the Goddess of Luck, and explains the five laws of gold.

» For an inspirational read that delivers the secrets about creating wealth, buy The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason. Price at R96

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