FINANCIAL BOOK REVIEW: THE RICH MAN FROM BABYLON
I have a one month, one book goal to achieve this year. This will translate to 12 books, an insignificant number to most bookworms but to yours truly, this is a step in the right direction. I have broken down the reading into different categories; in the first quarter, my focus was on financial books. Would I be a financial writer if I did not focus on this, I don’t think so. The books include:
- The richest man from Babylon by George S.Clason
2.The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
3.Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill and
4.Making Cents: by Wacheke Nduati
So far I have completed The Richest Man from Babylon and with this came a lot of lessons. Set in 1926 the book by George S. Clason dispenses financial advice through a myriad of parables set 4,000 years ago in ancient Babylon. Almost a century letter the book is still considered a classic when it comes to financial advice mainly because, in the book, the author George Clason has is simple but timeless. The book has the foundational basics to money management and wealth creation. Here are the six laws of wealth from the book and my personal commentary on each.
The 6 simple but difficult laws of wealth.
The first law of Wealth: Keep a part of what you earn. Save at least 10% of your income.
I have written on the importance of not only saving but also having an emergency fund before so this isn’t new. In the book Nasir who is the Rich Man in Babylon advises his friend Ravi to keep some of what he earns, meaning save some of his money, 10% to be exact. The 50,30,20 budget rule is a good place to start. If COVID-19 has taught us anything then it should be the fact that emergencies can last up to a year or even more hence the need for a robust emergency fund. I’m no longer advising anyone to have an emergency fund with 3–6 months of saving instead, your emergency fund should have 12–24 months of saving. Yes, I know this is quite a stretch but we all experienced 2020 and no one wants a re-run. Remember there’s a new COVID-19 strain! So better safe than sorry. Save that paper sis, it goes a long way.
BONUS POINT- Control thy expenditures: don’t spend more than you need.
In the 50, 30, 20% budget breakdown, The 20% goes to savings which in my opinion is a relatively fair amount. It is best to live below your means. Spend less than you make, cut your cloth depending on the. It is important to have an expense tracker, this will aid in keeping tabs on where your money goes, to what extent and why. A Deloitte report found that 47 per cent of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media, compared to 19 per cent for all other age groups. We are living in the Social media age and how you use it affects you in one way or the other. I’d like to remind you that it ain’t real and at the end of the day you really don’t need the KKW beauty bible.
It is important to define your needs as an individual early before you earn the money for we all know money can sometimes get into our heads. My advice would be before you cash that check, have the shopping list in order, and while you are cruising that aisle, stick to that shopping list.
Adam Smith once said “If you don’t know who you are, this is an expensive place to find out.”, The Money Game
The second law of wealth: Put your savings to work for you. Invest it so that it can multiply.
Now that you have mastered the art of saving, your emergency fund has grown and your discipline is top-notch when it comes to budgeting then you can easily graduate to investing. I’m not trying to say that this is the only route to saving, NO it is however what I’d personally advise. If you find that there’s a different but effective way of creating wealth by all means do it. In the book, Nasir advises his friend to not only save a tenth of his income but to invest it too. Money lying in the bank is useless mainly because most banks don’t provide the best interest. In Kenya, the average annual saving interest is 7%. The other disadvantage is that inflation catches up with you real fast so don’t put your money in the bank unless it is in a high interest yielding account. “The best investment is knowledge” Warren Buffet also advises against investing in what you don’t know so instead of rushing to get into crypto or real estate take time and learn about the markets. Learn about your risk appetite and how you like your investment portfolio to look like and most importantly start when you are ready.
The Third Law of wealth Avoid debt, the poor pay interest while the rich gain interest.
Put your finger up if you have any debt. I am guilty, so my index finger goes up. I do have debt, good debt to be precise and so do many of us. From student loans to mortgages we all have taken some form of debt to help us in one way or the other. My question is do you have a debt repayment plan? If so, how does it look and how many times do you review it? Debt needs to be paid and this can only happen if we stop taking any more bad debt and acquire good debt that will help you grow and at the same time propel you to better opportunities.
The 4th Law of wealth- Don’t speculate in “get rich” quick schemes and invest in a solid business that you understand.
You might have reconnected with your high school friend who is already talking about a pyramid scheme, sis run. In the book, Nasir informs us of his first foray into investing which went awry. He believed someone he shouldn’t have and that made him lose most of his savings. Lesson learnt; if it sounds too good to be true then maybe it is. As I’ve mentioned, take time to learn about the investment and also gauge your appetite. You cannot start with Warren Buffet’s risk appetite for you lack the money to back you up so instead start where you are at and slowly grow your investment portfolio and risk appetite.
The fifth law of wealth: Invest in yourself- Gain Knowledge and Skills to increase your earning power.
I have listed the five financial books that I will be reading to gain an insight on finance and I think that you too should do so. Read about money. Knowledge is the best investment so why don’t you invest in it. Read articles, Investopedia has a number of books on money. This will open you up to investment opportunities and more money in the bank. So pick up this article and any other book i.e The intelligent investor and start reading.
The sixth law of Wealth: Safeguard your growing fortune with diversification and insurance.
We all know about insurance, why because most if not all insurance companies are known for defaulting when needed. I have to say that before I got insurance I was sceptical as well but this is where knowledge and research come in. Find an insurance company or policy that works for you, one with a good. Diversify your portfolio. The Crypto markets crashed a few weeks back and anyone who had all the money in either Dogecoin or is bleeding at the moment. Learn from other people’s mistakes. Instead of having all your money either in a bank, land or real estate why don’t you distribute this. This will not only give you more returns but also safeguard them from any risk.
Here is a summary from James Clear on the book and I couldn’t agree more. “Save at least 10 per cent of everything you earn and do not confuse your necessary expenses with your desires. Work hard to improve your skills and ensure a future income because wealth is the result of a reliable income stream. You cannot arrive at the fullest measure of success until you crush the spirit of procrastination within you.”
In his stand up Never Scared, Chris Rock mentions that money is new to black people hence the overspending and flexing. This might be true I mean, we cannot forget the years of slavery and colonialism that our forefathers went through. At the same time, they fought for better and I don’t think that our ancestors would be happy to witness our laxity with money in this era of financial awareness. So take it up upon YOU to educate YOU about money.
Remember that if it is to be then it is up to you!