the richest man in babylonA book which comes highly recommended by many successful people is The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a link to a free pdf version.

Some have dubbed this short read as “the bible of financial freedom”, and surprisingly, you won’t find any real surprises or top secret tricks to getting rich. In fact the lessons to be learned in this book are very mundane and seemingly useless, when in fact they’re the safest, most effective strategies one could ever use to gain financial freedom (with a creative tax strategy added on top, of course)

Here are the “7 Cures” for a lean purse

Start thy purse to fattening

Work to start and maintain a flow (or many flows) of income. Then comes the most important part: pay yourself first. No matter how many debts you have, you must set aside 10% (5% if you really can’t afford more), even if that amount seems insignificant (less than $10). Set up a separate bank account, or designate a box or jar at home for cash. Then DO NOT TOUCH IT.

Control thy expenditures

Once you are setting aside a portion of your income, you must learn to live within your means. Often as our income increases, our spending expands to match it. Once you learn to live with 90%, each raise you receive should go towards your savings. If you’re at a point where you’re not happy with the way you have to live, allow yourself some reward with the raise, but designate the majority of it (50-90% ideally) to savings.

Make thy gold multiply

Here comes the fun part – investing! The most powerful force on earth, according to Albert Einstein, is compound interest. Learn basic investment strategies from the world’s best – Ray Dalio, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim, and Amancio Ortega to start.

Guard thy treasureinvestment from loss

Investing can be a dangerous venture when you don’t understand the risks and how to protect yourself from massive losses. Stocks for example can be considered very risky, yet are seen as an essential part of a balanced portfolio. Determine how much risk you’re able to stomach without feeling anxious every day (your risk tolerance) and set stop losses on your investments to gain control over how much can be lost. Learn advanced repair techniques to potentially reverse a loss if you’re interested in trading options (options require daily attention).

If you’re unsure about stocks, signup with TD Ameritrade and use their “paper” trading platform to practice trading with fake money. Once you have a strategy that works, you’re ready to start trading with confidence!

A large loss for many people we must consider is everyone’s favorite – taxes. Set up a tax strategy to ensure you keep as much of your hard-earned dollars as possible.

Make of they dwelling a profitable investment

Renting an apartment or home tends to cost a premium, especially if you’re living on your own or making the whole payment yourself. You’re giving money away that you’ll never see again. Of course in some cases, it makes sense to rent. You’re young and not ready to settle down, or you just don’t have time to take care of an entire house.

But if you have savings that are sitting around losing value to inflation, buy a duplex or fourplex, live in one unit, and hire a management company to take care of the place for you. Now you’re living somewhere for free (the tenants covering mortgage and taxes for you), and maybe even making profits on top of it. And you’re still free to move whenever you want!

Insure a future income

This principle touches on retirement and insurance planning. Retirement seems to be going out of style, in that people enjoy working as long as they’re doing something they actually enjoy. So to make sure you can do this without worrying about financial security, you’ll have to build up your investments so they generate enough interest to comfortably live on.

Increase thy Investing knowledgeability to earn

All of this investing and wealth building takes a lot of learning and wisdom. Improve your job skills on a regular basis so your reliable income can maintain and increase. Take classes and small jobs that have learning potential, read four books a month on investing and anything else that you find interesting and that can make you a more interesting person when you’re networking. Meeting people can bring the best opportunities.

To make sure you’re moving forward, set goals for yourself so you can see how well you’re doing compared to where you’d like to be.

Many people may see these principles as common sense, but how many of us actually take them seriously and follow them? According to the overwhelming levels of financial trouble in the US, very few! It’s too easy to make excuses for why we’re always short of money, and we make ourselves slaves to it. Working to live instead of enjoying life’s journey.

It doesn’t matter (to a point) how much you make. Save a minimum of 10%, and while it may seem minuscule and a waste of time, you’ll soon see the power in it, and feel real confident and in control of your life.
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