October 27, 2010 in Books and Book Reviews
It is just amazing to me that the wisdom from 8000 years ago still holds true today. I have just finished re-reading a classic called “The Richest Man in Babylon” that was written in the 1920’s by George Clason. For anyone that hasn’t read it, I highly recommend that you do.
This is a a short book that is a quick and easy read. The main topic of the book is “The seven cures for a lean purse”. Since millions of folks are struggling with this same problem today, it is still a timely book.
Explaining The Basics of Money
The Richest Man in Babylon explains the basics of money and reveals the secret to personal wealth through stories and Babylonian parables. It talks about the secrets not only to acquiring money, but keeping your money and making it work for you. It also addresses how “good luck” is almost always preceded by “opportunity”, and that it is by acting immediately on opportunity that brings us our good fortune or “good luck”.
Why the Babylonians Were Rich and Successful
Babylon was a wealthy and glamorous city located by the Euphrates River. There were no forests or mines or other natural resources in this area that would enable those residents to earn a living. All of the resources of this civilization were man made. What they did have was the river and fertile soil and they devised dams and elaborate irrigation systems so that they could harvest crops.
The Babylonians were the first engineers, astronomers and mathematicians. They were also the first to have a written language which they carved into clay tablets. Whole libraries of these tablets have been found by archaeologists. It was upon these tablets that they recorded all of their stories.
The Seven Cures for a Lean Purse
“If you have a great desire for wealth and take advantage of opportunities available to everyone, anyone can become wealthy.”
The First Cure. Start thy purse to fattening.
The first cure is the principle that we call “pay yourself first”. Keep 1/10th of everything you earn. This money is the part of your earnings that you will invest.
In real estate, there are many ways to do this, but one suggestion is to wholesale some properties to build a cash reserve to fund your main investing strategies and to us for marketin.
The Second Cure. Control thy expenditures.
A lot of folks ask how they can keep 1/10th of everything they make, if they can’t cover their day to day expenditures. The advice given in this book is the same advice that any financial planner would give you today. And that is, keep cutting until you have a “balanced budget” in spite of the pain.
This certainly pertains to real estate but for all businesses.
The Third Cure. Make thy gold multiply.
This principle points out that you must invest wisely to grow your money. After you are disciplined to save 1/10th of all you earn and have your expenditures in line, then it is vital to invest the money you are putting aside so that it will work for you and grow. Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians understood the “power of compounding”. While they describe it differently, the principle is still the same. This is definitely the way to make your real estate empire grow.
The Fourth Cure. Guard thy treasures from loss.
The basis of this principle might be compared to what we call “if it seems too good to be true it probably is”. It reminds us not to been tempted by opportunities that seem to be a shortcut to wealth; to invest only where our principal is safe, where we can get our money back if we desire, and where we will make a good return. Real estate has proven to stand the test of time when you invest wisely.
The Fifth Cure. Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment.
The men of Babylon were encouraged to take part of their earnings and buy a home. They understood that this would not only make for a happy family, but that owning property was indeed a wise investment that would help them to grow richer. This principle is as true today as it was thousands of years ago. It's even better if you got a great deal on your personal residence.
The Sixth Cure. Insure a future income.
This principle is about making preparations for when you are no longer young (for retirement) and for a possible time that you might no longer be with your family should you die. The sixth cure talks about investing in real estate as a means for providing future income.
It specifies that all men should make regular payments in order to pay off the mortgage on the property in a timely manner. This would insure that he had “treasure” for his old age and for the protection of his family, no matter how prosperous his business and his investments may be.” Accumulating wealth from real estate was to be in addition to other earnings from business and investments. Build your rental portfolio for retirement income!
The Seventh Cure. Increase thy ability to earn.
The seventh and final principle addresses the idea that we all need to increase our capacity to earn. The book states that preceding any accomplishment must be desires which are strong and definite. In addition to the strong desires, you must have a plan that is easy to execute. It cannot be beyond a man’s training or be so complicated that he will be defeated.
The value of additional education is also addressed as well as the value of a good work ethic. The seventh cure points out that wealth is accumulated first in small sums, then in larger ones as a man learns and becomes more capable. Even 8000 years ago, they understood that “the more you know the more you can earn”.
Real estate investors are definitely life long learners.
The Negative Effects of Debt
No book about money would be complete without touching on the subject of debt. The Richest Man in Babylon talks about debt and the negative effects it has on your life as well as the principles for getting out of debt. The formula laid out in the book states that 1/10th of all earnings should still be put aside even if you have debt. You were then instructed to take 2/10ths of the remainder of your earnings and use this to pay on your debt until it was paid in full.
As you can see, the principles for sound money management are pretty much the same today as they were 8000 years ago. I would encourage anyone that hasn’t read this book to pick up a copy today at your local book store.
Those early lessons written 8000 years ago are just as valuable today as they were then.
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