• Getrude Orodo

The Richest Man in Babylon


Making money is one thing. Managing money is another.


When I left Kenya I was convinced that I would be a millionaire in a few months. What I wasn't prepared for was the cost of rent in London and its environs, the numerous taxes to be paid and the miscellaneous expenses that appear out of thin air.


I will not go into details but in my first few months, I lived from paycheck to paycheck with overdrafts here and there. Some changes had to be made.


Our education did very little to teach us about money. We must now teach ourselves. Fortunately, the world is full of resources to facilitate this. The Richest Man in Babylon is as practical as financial education gets.


Babylon was known to be among the richest cities with invaluable treasure. Arkad, the richest man in Babylon was therefore wealthy beyond measure. Nonetheless, his possessions grew annually. What was his secret?

  • Start thy purse to fattening. "For every ten coin thou placest within thy purse take out but nine. Thy purse will start to fatten at once and its increasing weight will feel good in thy hand and bring satisfaction to your soul." I couldn't even put this in other words. In our context today, this is like seeing you bank account balance growing each month.


  • Control thy Expenditure. All of us are burdened with desires. The value of budgeting in financial literacy cannot be overemphasized. "Live within your means" is a song that we often sing but don't truly understand or apply. Arkad's advice is simple; budget for your necessities and pleasures within nine-tenths of your earning.


  • Make thy gold multiply. Savings alone is not enough. It is wise to invest your savings to grow your wealth. Again, we are in a world with a variety of investment vehicles that require as low as a 10 dollars.


  • Guard thy treasure from loss. "Misfortune love a shining mark". Before putting your money anywhere, make sure you are aware of and is comfortable with the risks involved.


  • Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment. Here Arkad encourages us to own homes. Considering the cost of rent in most cities, this is a wise way of saving money.


  • Insure a future income. This means planning for retirement. The time to start is now. Joining a pension scheme is one such way. Practising all of the above is a another way.


  • Increase thy ability to earn. "...to cultivate thy own powers, to study and become more skillful, to act as to respect thyself." For instance in nursing, specialization will increase your chances for better pay and to have a stronger voice in the profession. This also means looking after your physical and mental well being.

Gaining financial discipline is an uphill task and every small step you take should be regarded a win. According to Arkad, the starting point is saving just a tenth of all your income. Even if you don't have a plan yet keep saving as you organize your skills and ideas.


There is more to the book than just these seven guidelines of creating wealth. The author also talks about luck and wealth, the power of determination and self empowerment and debt management. Only 194 pages long this book is easy to read and direct to the point. Also, The Shakespearean English is very refreshing.


 

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