Welcome back. This is part 2 of this series, What I Know About Money. In the first part I outlined the typical paycheck to paycheck, or what’s informally known as “hand to mouth” lifestyle. Now I will describe to you a common fallacy among the general population and attempt to change the way you think about accumulating wealth.
So without further ado…
Let me ask you something. Do you save? Some of us do, some of us do not , but do you really? Why do you save? What is the purpose of your savings? I’m sure you have been told to save your money for reasons like, in case of an emergency, if there’s something really nice you want to buy, to go on a nice vacation, for when you are retired so you can live off your savings and not have to worry about work. What I’m going to say to you may come as a shock but all of those reasons are absolutely WRONG!
That’s right, none of those are actually the true purpose for saving. I know what you’ve been told, and I know it makes sense to have a cushion of money in case things don’t go according to plan, but that’s a lie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not some conspiracy that the world plotted out against you. Whoever told you, probably didn’t know any better themselves. None of these are the proper application of your savings, however, fear not, for I bringeth good news. I’m going to share with you the correct usage of your savings, and hopefully, influence those of you who don’t save to start saving. Hopefully this post helps you correct your course, and sail valiantly off into a prosperous sunset with your chest up and head held high.
Big Sean said in his song “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers)” “ I guess it took ten years for me to be an overnight success”. That saying did not originate with him but the message is pertinent. Before I explain to you the proper use of your savings I have to establish in your mind that success doesn’t come to you overnight. There are many successful entrepreneurs who suddenly appeared as new players on the scene and to most it seems that they materialized out of nowhere with a viral idea and accumulated a ton of wealth in no time. That perception however is usually wrong. Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, who was once the richest man in America, started off with a tiny convenience store in the middle of nowhere, The store was a franchise of the Butler Brothers. He did this at the age of 26 with his savings and some loaned money from his father in law. It would be another 17 years before he opened his first Wal-Mart store, and another 23 years after that until Forbes named him the richest man in America. You have to think long term. I know it’s great to imagine yourself as a young rich business tycoon,the first to import your dream car, and riding around with whoever you desire, but that was not the path of most of the wealthiest people in the world. Unless you have the next billion dollar idea, and maybe you do, but most of us don’t, you have to follow in the footsteps of those who came before in order to arrive at their destination. It may not be the only way, but the wheel was already invented.
In the book “The Richest Man in Babylon” (In my opinion, a must read and a book that should be on the curriculum of every school) George S. Clason retells the story of Arkad, the richest man in Babylon. Arkad’s friends were lamenting on the fact that they all grew up together, and went to school together with Arkad who never seemed any smarter than they were. So why was it that he became the richest man in Babylon and they were on the borderline of poverty. They decided to approach him and asked him what his secret was. Arkad, being their friend, decided to share his method for acquiring his great wealth. He retold his experience as a young scribe, living no differently than any of his peers. One night he was approached by a very rich man who asked him to copy a law onto a clay slab for him. Skipping the details of that the old man eventually came to relay his secret in one phrase. “ A part of all you earn is yours to keep” Perplexed by this Arkad asked the rich man if all his money isn’t his to keep. The rich man then told him that when he spends his money on his needs and wants, he gives it all away.In contrast, what he should actually be doing is saving at least 1/10th of everything he earns for himself. Now you might be saying right now, Isn’t the rich man advising the very thing I just said a few lines up is a lie. Well here’s where it gets interesting. See the old man told Arkad that he’d be back in a year to see how is saving went and when he returned Arkad had indeed saved his money, but he took his accumulated funds and feted himself. I’ll save you the other follies that befell Arkad before he finally understood what the old man was trying to teach him and skip to the point. The old man taught Arkad that the purpose of saving is……INVESTING.
I urge you now to not be intimidated by that word. You might be thinking what do you know about business , and complex investment portfolios, equity, ROI,etc. Well let me tell you now that I’m not talking about starting an investment banking firm, unless you’re into that, then more power to you. For everyone else what I’m talking about is simply taking advantage of opportunities that arise and usually pass because you can’t afford to take them. I will go more into these opportunities in the next entry but for now let me outline the first step, acquiring economic power.
So its pay day again, just like last month, but this month you’re a little wiser.
This month you decide before you spend money on anything else, you’re gonna set aside 10% of your pay for your new ambition. (Notice how this transaction unlike the others does not affect your overall wealth)
Remember, you can save as much as you like, but never less than 10%. A rule of thumb is that you should live below your means. But as long as you save 10% of everything you earn, you’re going to be making progress. How fast your progress is, is entirely up to you. You felt so good the first month that you decide that you’re gonna continue for the rest of the year.
In the beginning of next year though, you start really seeing the fruit of you labour
Congratulations! You’re now rich! Well, richer than you were last year. Nothing has changed about your wage or expenses for the year but this year you are richer. Good job you!
You may not realize it yet, but what you have actually just acquired is power. You now have the power to change your life and circumstances for the better for the rest of your life. But what exactly are you supposed to do with your new found powers. Well my friends this is what the final part of this series is all about. Journey with me just a little further and I will show you just how deep the rabbit hole really goes.
Until next time,