Eons ago, a city by the name of Babylon existed, nestled between the hills and dales of Mesopotamia and fed by the Euphrates river. The city was the cynosure of all eyes- a city so prosperous that the name Babylon inspires awe even today. Babylon was special-very special because the citizens followed the rules of wealth. However, the arrogance of their exalted status set in, and what was construed as their strength became their weakness, eventually leading to their destruction.
A series of invasions across the ages finally reduced the city to dust, the sands of time finally obliterating the remnants. A few excavation sites in present-day Iraq uncovered part of the glory of the past. They left behind a wealth of knowledge, in the form of clay tablets, recovered from the excavation sites of Mesopotamia. A few of the tablets, and their interpretation from ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George S. Clason, suited to current times – is as follows:
1. ‘A part of what you earn is yours to keep’ – interpretation – you pay yourself first, then the others.
2. The cure for a lean purse:
a. ‘Keep away 10% of your income – in today’s parlance, save, invest, and multiply your wealth.
b. ‘Control your expenses’ -2016 interpretation-avoid expensive designer clothes, eating out frequently, many vacations if you cannot afford them, and excessive credit card spend.
c. ‘Multiply your wealth’ – in other words, invest.
d. ‘Guard from losses’ – current wisdom – do not make unsafe investments.
e. ‘Ensure a future income to provide for growing age, and the protection of your family ‘- how?- by investing a fixed amount monthly, allowing it to multiply over time, and putting away cash for emergencies.
f. ‘Build skills’ – fast forward to 2016 – upgrade your knowledge, and learn new bankable skills – the world is constantly changing – shouldn’t you?
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3. To attract good luck, take advantage of the opportunities presented to you as the ‘Men of action’ are favored by the ‘Goddess of Good Luck’ – onto 2016 – they say, genius is seeing what everyone is seeing and taking action on what no one else is taking.
4. ‘Recognise what you are not familiar with’ – do not get into something without learning about it – time-travel to 2016 – stay away from Ponzi schemes, do your due diligence, investigate before you invest and if you go into business, learn all the aspects of how to run one, before plunging in.
5. ‘Better a little caution than a great regret’ – Do not gamble in the financial markets; get an education first.
6. ‘Do not be without adequate protection’ – sounds fancy?- in today’s world, it would mean being adequately insured.
7. ‘Where the determination is, a way can be found’ – 3000 plus years down the line, the interpretation for this one hasn’t changed and is not going to change millennia later. During one of the invasions, the invaders (a) diverted a part of the Euphrates river to reduce its depth and (b) tunneled under the walls of Babylon to attack the inmates who were celebrating a religious event their times.
Message (a): Circumstances can change, hence have multiple sources of income. In case a tributary of the river dries up, the other tributaries will sustain you. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Do not depend on someone else for your financial security.
Message (b): Keep your eyes and ears open for financial news that can affect you. Do not be caught unawares-like the ancient revelers of Babylon-do not let someone pull the rug from beneath you. Recognize the problem as a problem, and do not wish it away-tackle it head-on. Do not be in celebration mode. . especially when there is a problem.
Final Message – Circa 2016 to the unforeseeable future: A beautiful life and financial security should not be held by a single strand. Have multiple options. Your financial life depends on the options you look for and the options you have.