The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is a must-read for anyone interested in building wealth. Littered across its pages are real-time wealth principles that have transformed men and generations. This review is a highlight of the lessons in the book; however, you should take time to read it yourself. The good thing is the book is just 144 pages. That is 144 pages of ageless wisdom!
Here are eight amazing lessons from the book.
- Always spend less than you earn
This should be as common as air – everywhere, however, many people like to live a life of showing off. It is sad to see people appearing “made” at the expense of what they earn. In life, you don’t have to impress anybody. You might not be where you intend to be but in time you would get there. Just keep moving. Keep taking affirmative steps and never forget to spend less than you earn.
- A part of what you earn is yours to keep
A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be no less than 10 PERCENT no matter how little you earn. It can be as much more as you can afford. Always pay yourself first. Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. If you start with 10% tucked away, you will not even notice the difference. Your quality of life will have no noticeable difference. You surprisingly will learn to live without it.
- Make your saved money work for you
“Make thy gold multiply.”
One thing every wealthy person does that you don’t know is; they save for something that will earn them more money. Warren Buffett has been doing this since he was a child. He bought soda in a store and sold it to others for a profit during the summer. He eventually progressed to purchasing pinball machines and installing them in eateries. He and the restaurant owners split the money 50/50. He then progressed to larger and larger businesses till he became one of the world’s richest men. The philosophy is simple: save then Invest your savings.
- Don’t take advice from someone without experience
The lesson here is pretty simple: only take advice from people with a wealth of experience.
The truth is that you will lose money if you invest with people who tell you what you want to hear but know very little about the sector. If you make a bad investment, your money is almost gone.
Only follow the advice of the most knowledgeable experts in your profession. Any other advice you get should be taken with caution. Look around, everyone enjoys offering advice. In the book, the main character invested his money with overseas jewel sellers who claimed to bring back rare jewels for a ridiculously low price. Yes! He was duped – tinder swindling comes in different shades.
Like every hustler on the streets of Lagos, he did not give up. He made another attempt to invest his money in the shield industry with a man who worked as a textile maker. Think about it, what relationship ties shields and textiles? And yes, he lost his money again.
Only take advice from people who have proof they made a lot of money in whatever you want to invest in. Sounds simple, right? However, you’ll be shocked at how many people listen to anyone’s advice. A lot of successful people do listen to advice, but it’s not as stringent as it should be. They will listen to anyone who sounds successful or looks rich or is on a fairly famous podcast or has made at least six figures.
- If wishes were horses, beggars would ride
It’s amazing how people wish they would magically hit a jackpot and transform their lives. The truth is, there is a high chance to go back to stage zero if you win the jackpot. In fact, statistics have it that many lottery winners go through their whole winnings within a year.
Instead of thinking of hitting a $1 million jackpot, cruising in luxurious cars, shopping everywhere – eating the life of your head, you should work towards having a consistent and growing system that constantly makes you more money. The truth is, it’s never about how much you have earned or won, it’s how much you keep and how much you keep making in the future.
- You cannot be wealthy if you spend foolishly
“Gold flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings or who followeth the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers or who trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.”
What this basically means is that if you invest or use money in businesses you aren’t familiar with or people who aren’t good at a task, you will lose it. If you push too hard to earn money in a near-impossible way, you will lose it. If you buy into scammers, you will lose money. If you spend or use money based on your own inexperience or emotional urges, you will lose it.
- Invest in your ability to earn more
Simply put, it means you should allocate a portion of your time, energy and money to improve your skills and ability to earn more money. This is one golden rule of building wealth.
Some people think learning ends after school, but this is totally wrong. Learning never ends. You can be 10x ahead in life by developing yourself a little each day. The average person spends time on frivolous activities such as aimless chatting, watching movies, and unnecessary outings. Don’t be like the average person. Improve yourself!
- Greedy people always lose money
Have you ever heard of a 50% ROI per month? If you have, hopefully, you did not involve yourself in it. Realistically, there’s no business/investment that can guarantee you 50% returns per month. The risk involved is just too high. Don’t fall into the trap.
To build wealth, you must tame the greed in you. Although this is quite impossible, you can manage it and make intelligent decisions. Always ask yourself, what is driving me to invest in this opportunity/business/venture? If it is greed, that’s a red light. It’s not Valentine Red, but an emergency. Stay away from it!
“A part of all I earn is mine to keep.” Say it in the morning when you first arise. Say it at noon. Say it at night. Say it each hour of every day. Say it to yourself until the words stand out like letters of fire across the sky.
The next time you visit a bookstore, make sure you buy this book – so much wisdom scripted in a few pages. You too can be the richest man in your community.
MY WEALTH AND I
with Matthew Ashimolowo
Matthew Ashimolowo, founder and Senior Pastor of the London-based Kingsway International Christian Church (KICC) has been able to create a fine balance between spirituality and material wealth creation.
In the business world, he has built a couple of first-class business entities and personally owns choice properties in highbrow locations around the world. Here are some of his thoughts on wealth creation and success generally.
Success is hidden in what you do daily.
I recently taught a series on how to have a great day. This is the idea. Many people don’t know how to have a great day. When you have a great day, you have a great week and then a great month and a great year and so on. Many people don’t know how to manage a day, not to mention a year, and they wonder why their lives are such a failure.
If you can’t manage a day, you can’t manage your entire life. There are a few things you must do to have a great day; to make a great life. They are preparation and inspiration. You must be excited about the cause of the day, pray, plan and set the day before you. Also is organisation. Your day must be organised. There is also delegation. There are things you must delegate as you get to a point in life so that you can concentrate on the bigger issues.
It is not a curse to be wealthy
The day you receive Christ, you carry these blessings. But the church you go to or the ministration you sit under determines if these blessings will find fulfilment in your life. Some people go to churches where they are taught they don’t need these blessings. Some work on cursed ground and others work with cursed hands. The environment where you are operating is important to the blessings manifesting in your life.
As Christians, we are blessed for the following reasons: to be a blessing to our generation; to make a difference in our family and to be a major sponsor of the gospel, etc.
Money is a currency and it flows to where it is celebrated. To attract money, you must show passion to get it, passion to multiply it and passion to use it to bless and help others. All these can be done in two ways: using your gifts and through a business. It has been proven that if you want to do something great for the kingdom of God, you must be an entrepreneur. Salaries can never make you rich.
Wealth multiplies as you give it out
Wealth multiplies when you allow it to flow through you to others. The principle of wealth creation is universal. It has no respect for anybody. If an unbeliever practises it, it works and if a Christian doesn’t practise it, he remains broke. The business world calls it CSR (corporate social responsibility) but this is a fancy way to call this biblical principle.
I have practised this with results. Anything God blesses me with, I pass on to others to be a blessing. I just gave out my Hummer Jeep not long ago to a man of God who is in the heat of the Boko Haram insurgency. In the last three years, I have donated 24 cars to people.
Some of them are people who had been praying to God to be blessed and God laid it in my heart to be a blessing to them and I did.
It is not a sin to do business as a pastor
I used to think it was a sin to do business as a pastor as well. In 1974, I was in Bible school; in 1976, I started pastoring and in 1979, I travelled out for the first time. Upon returning, I bought a musical instrument for N500 and sold it for N1,200 in Nigeria. With that, I built my first house. At that time, my salary was N100. I started with a salary of N50 when I joined the ministry. People would say N50 was a whole lot then. It wasn’t. My wife used to get that amount from her father as pocket money while she was in secondary school.
So, I began to think and realised that from the age of 14, I started selling things. I hawked bread and the mark is still at the centre of my head. God told me that it’s my gift to make a difference and be a blessing to my generation. So, it’s okay to be where God has put you and use your strength to be a blessing and touch lives.