The Lessons of The Richest Man in Babylon

Friends Bobbi and Shelley at Ephesus


“Albert Einstein, when asked what he considered the most powerful force in the Universe, answered: ‘Compound interest!’”—Mignon McLaughlin

George Clason wrote a wonderful little book entitled The Richest Man in Babylon. It is the story of a group of trades people in ancient times in the city of Babylon. The butcher, the blacksmith, the shopkeeper, and others are talking together about money. They marvel how one of them became the richest man in town, when he started out as just the potter down the street from them. How did he do it? they wonder. They are all still struggling day to day to get by. They decide that they will all go together to ask him to share with them the secret of becoming wealthy.

The richest man smiles when he hears their request. “A part of all you earn is yours to keep,” he says. That is the magic formula he imparts to his old friends. Out of every portion you are paid, reserve 10 percent for yourself. This money you never spend, but invest and get the money working for you. The money will multiply itself through wise investing, and work for you even when you are not working. His formula for budgeting was also simple: Save 10 percent for investments, use 20 percent to pay off debts, and the other 70 percent is for living expenses. Once all debts are paid in full, you have 90 percent for living expenses.

These simple lessons still work well today. Save 10 percent of your income in retirement accounts—see a financial planner or investment advisor to set up a plan of action for you now. Make a list of all your debts and devote yourself to a “PDQ” program—20 percent of your income until all debts are paid in full. The rest is yours to play with, to create your home and lifestyle.

Who knows? You could be the next Millionaire Next Door or Millionairess Across the Street.

Today’s Affirmation:
“I work smart, I work easy, and I work rich.”

My friends Bobbi and Shelley in Greece

There’s so much to know these days – in order to market your business on the internet, you have to have more than a website and a newsletter. You have to know Social Media – how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and every other group ad infinitum. When you master teleclasses, then they want you to learn and invest in webinars, then video marketing, then video conferencing. It all takes some much time, money, and brain space!

So I posted this on Facebook:

“Just had a friend explain to me how to create a Facebook URL, only to discover that I already did that. There’s so much to know and remember these days that I forget to remember what I know. Sigh. Anyone else have that problem??”

I must have hit a nerve, because dozens of people chimed in to share. Here’s a sampling:

“Me, I’m always thinking of the hereafter. I’ll be in the office and I’ll go to the kitchen and think…….what am I here after?”

“OMG – I can relate…you have no idea! 😉 And to take the time to re-read what I now know so I can better remember it…sigh. Good thing life is full of wonderful surprises so we can keep cramming more stuff into our “remember this” buffet.”

“I think I have that problem, but I can’t remember…”

“You have no idea how good your post made me feel. I go crazy everyday with this social media networking.”

Sometimes it just feels so good to have company in your whining and know you’re not alone!

Save 10 percent for investments, use 20 percent to pay off debts, and the other 70 percent is for living expenses.

Prosperity is a habit. You have to practice it every day.

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Chellie Campbell is a Financial Stress Reduction® Coach and the author of The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy. She is one of Marci Shimoff's “Happy 100” in her NYT bestseller Happy for No Reason and contributed stories to Jack Canfield’s books You’ve Got to Read This Book! and Life Lessons from Chicken Soup for the Soul. Past president of the LA Chapter NAWBO, she was "Most Inspirational Speaker" by Women in Management and "Speaker of the Year" by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs. She does daily inspirational videos in The Wealthy Spirit Group on Facebook.

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