Financial fulfillment means different things to different people. But, whatever it means to you, a really good starting point is to apply the principles from George S Clason’s book The Richest Man in Babylon.
The book may have been written before computers and technology took over our lives (it was first released in 1926), but the concepts still hold true today.
He has 7 simple rules that if consistently applied, will lead you to financial fulfillment.
- Start thy purse to fattening
Or, as we like to refer to it: pay yourself first. Because if you don’t pay yourself first there probably won’t be anything left to pay yourself last.
Aim for 10% of your income. If you are in Kiwisaver (or some other savings scheme), you may already be saving 3%, so check with your provider and then start to work on the shortfall.
- Control Thy Expenditure
When George wrote the book he didn’t have credit cards or internet banking to contend with, so living within your means was easier. Sure you could still borrow money, but by and large you got paid in cash, you spent cash, and when it was gone, you went without.
The way to control your expenses is to be very clear about the distinction between your needs and wants.
We’re not saying that you can only spend on needs. The idea here is to make sure you cover all your needs and your wants out of 90% of your income. If you can’t do this, then cut back on the wants, not the fattening of the purse.
- Make thy gold multiply
In other words, invest your 10% where it will grow. You do this by earning interest on your investment. If you reinvest your interest and keep adding more to the pot, the magic of compound interest will help your investments grow.
What you don’t want to do is stick your money under the mattress where it may feel safe, but it won’t grow, and will actually decline in value over time.
- Guard thy treasures from loss
If investing your money in the bank or some other passive form of investment isn’t for you, that’s fine. There are many other ways you can choose to invest your money. (I’m not a financial adviser, so I’m not going to go down that track!)
Whichever option you choose, make sure you get independent advice before you go ahead. And remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Also, probably not a great idea to take your life savings to the casino and put it all on 20 black on the roulette wheel!
You want to protect your hard earned savings from loss, so make sure you do your homework and take advice from those who are qualified to give it.
- Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment
This concept probably isn’t quite as achievable as it was back in the 1920’s, but the idea of owning your own home rather than renting is still something that many of us aspire to.
You could look at it from a different angle. Rather than own a home that you live in, you could own a home for someone else to live in. You would ideally want to generate more rental income than you are paying out in mortgage and other ownership costs. In our current market, this may take a bit of time. Again, getting good advice is crucial.
- Insure a future income
Risk advisers love this one, but it does make sense. We insure our house, our car, our boat, but quite often we forget to look after ourselves and insure our livelihood (through income protection) and ourselves (through life and various other insurances). If the worst does happen to us we want to make sure our family are secure.
Increase thy ability to earn
This may be stating the obvious, but it never ceases to surprise me that this is often the last thing that is thought of. Taking on a second part time job, turning a hobby into an income generating activity, or asking for a pay rise are all ways of increasing your income. Learning new skills is another way of increasing your value in the marketplace.
If you’re in business, look at ways of increasing your income by changing your marketing strategy. Start networking to get your business known. Look at your numbers to see how much your current customers are spending with you and see what you can do to increase their spend.
There are plenty of ways of increasing income – you just need to be open to new ideas.
So there you have it. The 7 steps to financial fulfillment. Pretty much unchanged since penned by Clason in the 1920s.
If you want to know more about what you can do to become more financially prosperous, do contact us! We’re happy to help.