The short book The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason, is considered the “bible of financial freedom” to many successful people. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a link to a free pdf version. Not only are the strategies easy to follow, if you add a creative tax strategy on top of these, you’ll be well on your way to financial independence.
There are a number of important principles discussed in this simple story, and here we will discuss:
The 5 Laws of Gold
I. “Gold cometh gladly and in increasing quantity to any man who will put by not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and that of his family”
Many of today’s financial gurus like Dave Ramsey and Tony Robbins speak about this exact point. Save 10% (as a minimum) of everything you earn, even if it’s $5.00 or less, but here’s the key: no matter what. No matter how many bills you have to pay or how badly your daughter wants that new iPhone. Of course this no matter what rule has exceptions in extreme circumstances such as starvation or the house or only mode of transportation being repossessed.
This law is especially relevant for anyone who finds themselves saying, “I don’t know where it (money) all goes”. Get into the habit of saving 10% every single time, and DON’T TOUCH IT. For most people, 10% won’t even be noticed, and when you’re ready, increase this percentage.
II. “Gold laboreth diligently and contentedly for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying even as the flocks of the field.”
Of course money will do no good sitting around, especially while inflation exists. Learn about investing, and start letting your money work for you while you sleep!
III. “Gold clingeth to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of men wise in its handling.”
There are many ways to invest, and only the cautious and wise investor will see that money grow rather than shrink or do nothing. Depending on your interests, some people prefer to invest on their own, and some prefer to hand over that responsibility to someone else they can trust. In either case, begin learning with Tony Robbins Money: Master the Game.
IV. “Gold slippeth away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes with which he is not familiar or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep.”
The wise investor Warren Buffett swears by this very principle – invest in what you know. When investing in the stock market for example, it is FAR easier to analyze a company and determine whether they’re on the cutting edge or a complete scam, if you have experience in that industry. Choose investments that excite you and make you want to learn more.
V. “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.”
As exciting as some investing trends can be (eg. cryptocurrency) you must remain aware that these are incredibly risky, and you should really only invest an amount you would be completely comfortable with losing. There are also plenty of scammers out there who are ready to take anything you will give, and some are hard to pick out of the crowd. One sure sign of high risk is an investment that promises massive and absurd returns. Go with your gut in these cases, and then ask the professional opinion of an investment advisor.
After you’ve taken the time to do your investing, the tax advisors at D&M will be happy to plan your taxes and make sure you save as much as possible.