The 5 rules of Making, Keeping and Growing Money.
[milk spins and froths in a warming jug]
“So, what do you do?”
“I’m in finance.”
“Oh, so you are like an accountant or something?”
“Not exactly, I’m in investing.”
“I know the accounting stuff, but that’s only part of what I do.”
“Oh, okay.” [insert a lie, an awkward silence and burning milk] “That sounds like… fun.”
Financial Mystery and Misery
That was the conversation I had with my barista last week. After more than six months of visiting the cafe early every morning, she finally made an attempt at small talk.
I don’t think she will try it again…
Because when most people talk to me about finance, particularly investing, they are either mystified or terrified of reliving a financial misery.
Taxes, you can’t avoid.
But investing? Why risk it.
Franky, I don’t blame anyone for thinking that way. Many financial advisers, brokers and bankers only tell you what they want you to know. Then, they will bamboozle you with technical terms so they can justify their fees.
Plus, you’ve heard the horror stories. About the banks, dodgy planners, the GFC, the dot-com bust, 18% mortgages, and the 90’s recession.
Why risk it.
But, what if I told you there are five rules about finance that could guide you forever?
Would you pay attention?
- No matter what the adviser/planner says.
- No matter how many Bitcoins your brother-in-law trades.
- No matter how much — or how little — you earn.
I won’t even try to take credit for these rules because they have been known and used for more than 100 years. Some say, more than 2,000 years.
I came across them in George S. Clason’s famous book, The Richest Man in Babylon. It is sometimes called the greatest personal finance book ever written. The Richest Man in Babylon was first published in the 1920’s but its lessons and stories date back thousands of years.
The 5 Rules of Making, Keeping and Growing Money
1. Save 10% of your wage no matter what.
Most people work for a living. Specifically, they work for money. Cold. Hard. Cash.
It is the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ — the ability to make money work for you.
But here is the beautiful thing about this rule, it doesn’t matter if you make $10,000 or $10 million. Paying yourself 10% of your salary allows you to…
2. Make your money work.
Once you have 10% put aside, what do you do? According to the Book, you need to invest it for the long term. Not a fool’s errand promising spectacular returns (cough, cough Bitcoin). But in sensible investments.
3. Take advice from wiser people.
This rule reminds me of a quote: “He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master” – Ben Jonson. There are times when professional advice is a good idea, but always keep your wits about you and…
4. Be careful who you take advice from.
I have seen it before. It is easier than you think to end up on a current affairs program after being caught up in a financial scandal.
The Book offers timeless tips for when you get advice from — and invest with — others.
It says, do not invest in activities in which you are not familiar (cryptocurrencies, timber forests, biotechnology), or with people who are not skilled with money.
You might be saying to yourself, “How do I know who is right for me?” That’s a good question. There is no set formula, as far as I can tell.
However, the way I do it is by first looking at someone’s incentives. Ask yourself: How does this person get paid? Are they incentivised to make money from me or for me?
Read some online reviews and ask around. Then, look at their qualifications and experience.
Advice is only worth something if you can trust its source.
Integrity is more important than talent in my book.
5. No explanation necessary:
“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.”
This is just as relevant today as it was hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Write down these rules and pin them up on your toilet door for all to see (when the door is closed!), or until you cannot forget them.
Until next time, here’s to your financial future.
Where are the Videos?!
If you are wondering where the next educational video is, so am I!
We are currently recording the first video of our new series, “The Value of Everything“.
It is a deeper look at valuation. The valuation of businesses, shares/stocks, property, bonds, life…everything.
We labeled it an ‘Advanced’ course, but no-one gets to the Advanced level without taking a higher-level course. So, if you are worried that you may not be up to it but have a hunger to learn more about accounting and finance, check our courses page later this week for the first video, or hang tight for next week’s newsletter!
P.s. We’re also gearing up for an ‘Accounting Basics’ course. Hopefully, it will help my barista ‘do financial numbers good’.
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