In an Over-Communicated, Intrusive World, Simple is Better
Ed

Clason’s “The Richest Man in Babylon” Part 2 – The 7 Cures for a Lean Wallet and The 5 Laws of Money

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

Part 1 of this 2 Part series ends the synopsis of George Clason’s book “The Richest Man in Babylon,” but Clason raises an important question: Why should
so few men be able to acquire so much gold?

The answer is because they know how.

One may not condemn a man for succeeding because he knows how. Neither may one with justice take away from a man what he has fairly earned, to give to men of less ability.

And so it was that the good king of Babylon sought out the richest man in Babylon to teach to others in his kingdom the secrets of his success.

This is a synopsis of what the richest man taught to the people
of Babylon:

The Seven Cures for a Lean Wallet

1) Start your wallet to fattening. Save one-tenth of all you earn. Remember that a part
of all I earn is mine to keep. Do this faithfully. Do not let the simplicity of this escape you.

When I ceased to pay out more than nine-tenths of my earnings,
I got along just as well.
I was not shorter than before, and, money came to me more easily than before.

2) Control your expenses. How is it that all do not earn the same yet all have lean wallets? Here is the truth: That which each of us calls our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to
the contrary.

Confuse not necessary expenses with desires. We all have more desires than our earnings can gratify. Examine which of the accepted expenses of living can be reduced or eliminated. Let your motto be 100% of appreciated value demanded for every dollar spent.

Budget your expenses so that your actual necessities are met without spending more than nine-tenths of your earnings.

3) Make your money multiply. Protect your growing treasure by putting it to labor and increasing. Money in your wallet earns nothing. Money that we earn from our money is but a start; it is the earnings generating earnings that builds fortunes.

When the richest man in Babylon loaned money to the shield maker to buy bronze, he said this: “Each time I loaned money to the shield maker, I loaned back also the rental he had paid me. Therefore not only did my capital increase, but its earnings likewise increased.”

4) Guard your money from loss. Everyone has an idea of how to make quick money; few, however, have the evidence of making money to justify their idea, scheme or offer of quick riches. The first sound principle of investment is security for your principal.

Before you loan your money to any man assure yourself of his ability to repay your loan, and of his reputation to do so. Make no one a present of your hard-earned treasure.

Consult the wisdom of those experienced in handling money for profit. Such advice is often freely given for
the asking, and may possess more value than the amount you
are about to invest.

5) Make your home a profitable investment. When you can set aside only nine-tenths of what you earn to live, and can use a part of that nine-tenths to improve the investment in your housing, do it; owning your own home is also an investment that grows with your wealth.

Your family deserves a home they can enjoy and call their own. It builds a sense of stability and well-being.

6) Ensure a future income. Build income-producing assets that do not require you to work forever. We will all grow old and die.

You should prepare a suitable income for the days to come when you are no longer younger and cannot work as hard, and to make preparations for your family should you no longer be with them to comfort and support them. Provide in advance for the needs of your growing age, and the protection of your family.

7) Increase your
ability to earn.
Desire precedes accomplishment, and the desire must be strong and definite. When you have backed your desire for saving $1,000 with the strength and purpose to secure it, you can then save $2,000.

Desires must be simple and definite. Desires defeat their own purpose when they are too many, too confusing, or too difficult to accomplish. Cultivate your own powers to study and become wiser, more skillful, and more productive.

Here is more sage advice from Clason’s masterpiece on financial matters:

The 5 Laws of Money

If you had to choose, would you choose tons of money or wisdom? Most men would take the money, ignore the wisdom, and waste the money. Here is the wisdom:

1) Money comes gladly and in increasing quantities to any man who will put aside not less than one-tenth of his earnings to create an estate for his future and the future of his family.

2) Money labors diligently and contently for the wise owner who finds for it profitable employment, multiplying unto itself in infinity if kept working diligently. Money multiplies itself in surprising fashion.

3) Money clings to
the protection of the cautious owner who invests it with the advice of men wise
in its handling.

4) Money slips away from the man who invests it in businesses or purposes that he is not familiar with, or which are not approved by those skilled in its keep. The inexperienced handler of money who trusts his own judgment, and puts his money in investments which he is not familiar, always pays with his money for his experience.

5) Money flees the man who would force it to impossible earnings, or who follows the alluring advice of tricksters and schemers, or who
trusts it to his own inexperience and romantic desires in investment.

Here is the hard lesson of the 5 Laws of Money: You cannot measure the value of wisdom in bags of money. Without wisdom, those who have it quickly lose money, but with wisdom, money can be secured by those who have it not.

This ends the condensation.

Business and Marketing

A businessman took a short vacation to a small Greek coastal village.  Unable to sleep early in the morning, he walked the pier.

A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large tuna.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” he asked.

“Only a little while” the Greek replied, smiling.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish? he asked.

“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Greek fisherman said as he unloaded them into a basket.

“But …. What do you do with the rest of your time?”

The fisherman looked up and smiled, ”I sleep late, fish a little, rest for little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, and stroll into the village, where I sip wine and play guitar with my friends.”

The businessman laughed, “Sir, I have a Master of Business Administration Degree and I can help you.

You should fish more, and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat.  In no time you could have several boats with the increase haul.  Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.  Then instead of selling your catch to the middleman, you could sell directly to the consumers.  You could control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal village and move to the city to run your expanding empire “.

The fisherman asked, “But, sir, how long will all this take?” “15- 20 years, 25 tops” said the businessman.

  “But what then?”

The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part, when the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public, and become very rich.  You would make millions”.

“Millions? Then what?” asked the fisherman.

“Then you could retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a nap with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your friends.”

“Isn’t that what I am doing now?” replied the fisherman.

Ask yourself, what is it that you want from your business, and from your life?

Make sure your goals are not being overlooked as you strive for success.

Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley

Almost everyone who has graduated from high school knows that Benjamin Franklin was a famous American.

Most of us have read that Franklin used a lightning rod to prove a theory he had about electricity. Others remember that he was the one who invented the bifocals which many of us wear today. (I just ordered a new pair of trifocals; thanks to Ben, I see better.)

But few of us also know these facts and observations about Benjamin Franklin:

Franklin was America’s best scientist, inventor, writer, business strategist and diplomat of his time. He was also one of the era’s most practical political thinkers!

Franklin’s interest in electricity led him to note the distinction between insulation and conductors, the idea of electrical grounding, and the concepts of capacitors and batteries.

Franklin discovered that the big East Coast storms known as northeasters, whose winds come from the northeast, actually move in the opposite direction from their winds, traveling up the coast from the south, thus beginning the science of weather forecasting.

Franklin combined both science and mechanical practicality by devising the first urinary catheter used in America.

Franklin declined to patent his inventions, freely sharing his findings, as his love of science was born of curiosity.

Franklin became the first person in America to manufacture type, because there was no foundry in America for casting type when he opened his print shop.

Franklin reprinted an English novel–Pamela–thereby publishing the first novel in America.

Franklin created America’s first great humor classic, Poor Richard’s Almanack (Almanac, in today’s usage), which Franklin began publishing in 1732, combining two goals of his doing-well-doing-good philosophy: the making of money and the promotion of virtue. His aphorisms and observations soon became legend.

Franklin’s genius as a 16-year-old writer was obvious when he authored 14 essays anonymously that were published in his brother’s newspaper, creating the character Silence Dogood, a widowed woman. Franklin’s ability to speak convincingly as a woman was remarkable, and his writing style would introduce a new genre of American humor: the wry, homespun mix of folksy tales and pointed observations that would later be perfected by such great American writers and humorists as Mark Twain and Will Rogers.

Franklin became America’s first gossip columnist.

Franklin became the patron saint of self-improvement guides by writing many personal credos that laid out his pragmatic rules for success. Dale Carnegie would follow in his footsteps, as well as hundreds of positive thinking, modern day self-improvement authors.

Franklin manufactured the first recorded abortion debate in America, not because he had any strong feelings on the issue, but because he knew it would help sell newspapers.

Franklin was the consummate networker, forming a club of young workingmen he dubbed the Junto, which met in a rented room and, by pooling the books of its members, became America’s first subscription library.

Franklin created a volunteer fire force (the forerunner of today’s volunteer fire department), and established the academy that would later be renamed the University of Pennsylvania.

Franklin was appointed to the top post office job in America by the British government. Within a year, he had cut to one day the delivery time of a letter from New York to Philadelphia. (The United States Postal Service manages to get the same letter delivered in an average of three days today!)

Franklin retired at age 42, with an assured income over the next 18 years of approximately 650 pounds annually; in his day, a common worker earned 25 pounds a year, so Franklin retired with an annual income 26 times a normal working person’s wages! (In today’s money, if you were making $50,000 a year in income, Franklin was getting by in retirement on an income of $1.3 million–$1,300,000–annually.)

Franklin became America’s greatest diplomat by negotiating the support of France (its money, its recognition and its military support), that led to the success of the American Revolution, and the creation of the United States of America as an independent nation.

Franklin was instrumental in shaping the three great documents of the American Revolution: the Declaration of Independence, the alliance with France, and the treaty with England.

Franklin was the only person to sign all four of America’s founding papers: the Declaration of Independence, the treaty with France, the peace accord with Britain, and the Constitution of the United States.

Franklin’s most important vision was an American national identity based on the virtues and values of its middle class.

Franklin came up with the concept of matching grant money, showing how government and private initiative could be woven together for the common good.

Franklin was America’s first great publicist. He carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity.

Franklin perfected the art of poking fun at himself, recognizing that a bit of wry self-deprecation could make him seem even more endearing.

Franklin was the first to note that “nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”

Franklin was also the first to remind us that “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Franklin might also have said “a penny, invested wisely, could be the start of a small fortune.”

Benjamin Franklin would have been one of the first people of his time to use computers, and would have been one of the first to start an Internet marketing business. Franklin loved to make money, and he loved the virtues of independence, self-reliance, hard work and innovation, all virtues associated with making a lot of money.

Franklin would have been front and center with today’s Internet marketers, in constant contact with his fellow entrepreneurs through online forums, e-mail messaging, and hobnobbing at seminars around the country and overseas (Paris was his second home).

Was Benjamin Franklin awesome? Absolutely.

About the Author: I am an Internet Marketer. For an excellent biographical source on Ben Franklin, I recommend Walter Isaacson’s masterpiece: Benjamin Franklin, An American Life.

Copyright 2013 by Ed Bagley

There is nothing like a space heater that works in the dead of winter. Imagine my surprise when I turned on my heater in June and discovered that it was NOT working, the one that had worked for years, without fanfare.
 
My basement is my home office, and it is normally 10-12 degrees cooler than the upstairs. That’s what happens when you live in a split-level house built in the early 1970s.

When my heater doesn’t work, my feet get cold, when my feet get cold, my body gets cold, when my body gets cold, I am distracted and cannot work. As a writer, when my work ceases, my cash flow ceases. This was a major crisis.

I wanted a new heater, and could not even tell you the make of the heater I had. It worked like a champ, wore like iron, and nothing but the same make and model would do. After picking up the heater, I was reminded that it is a Lasko heater, and, sure enough, there was an 800 number listed on the housing.

Two minutes later I realized that it was summer, and none of the stores were carrying heaters, it was all about fans. Panic set in. In desperation, I call Lakso. A customer service rep answers, a real person, not a recording with prompts. 

I share with him my plight: I am desperate. I will pay top dollar to get another Lasko heater, just like the one I took for granted, not realizing what a find I had all these years, just please tell me where I can buy one in my area.

You could have knocked me over with a single shot of Jameson when the customer service rep, who asked for the model number, informed me that my model had been recalled some years ago. Couldn’t prove it by the performance of my Lasko heater. 

Nonetheless, the customer service rep informed me that Lasko would send me–at its expense–a box to return the heater I had, and replace it with a brand new heater of similar quality and style. All of this at Lasko’s expense.

Heck, I was willing to pay for a new one because the one I had for years worked so well. And now I was being offered a brand new replacement at absolutely no expense to me.

I could have sworn that–based on banks, financial institutions, law firms, cheap retailers, scam artists and associated lower life forms–that, except for Nordstrom and Kohl’s, where my wife shops–that customer service had been dead in America for some time.

I stand corrected. Lasko has made a believer out of me based on the exceptional service I did not even ask for, and received.

Copyright 2006 by Ed Bagley

(Ed’s Note: I originally wrote this post in 2006, 14 years ago. What I share with you about shopping online today is even more true today, only the prices are higher. Some people will lay down thousands of dollars for an offer online. I was only a newbie when I attacked “Traffic Swarm” like a honey badger on a bee hive. I would not surf Traffic Swarm today, I’m a little wiser, and you can be too.) 

Any newcomers to Internet Marketing who would like to gather a little field intelligence on the landscape and competition need only to surf “Traffic Swarm,” which bills itself as “the fastest and easiest way to instantly increase traffic, visitors and sales to any website, product or service.”

Well, that claim is certainly debatable as there are more than a hundred offers on the Internet today that make the same claim with a straight face. Be that as it may, Traffic Swarm also lets you know instantly that its service is automated, targeted, cheat-proof, proven and “viral marketing” (a heady term that makes one think that he might now indeed be in possession of cyberspace), all five of these claims are Internet Marketing buzz words more common than a thousand bees making small talk at the entrance to their hive.

The uninitiated would learn that you can join Traffic Swarm free, post an advertisement of your own, and then surf (look at) other marketer’s ads to earn credits, which you can in turn spend to draw traffic and visitors to your own offer. It is a very nice little package for beginners which, even if it does not bring you sales of your product or service, does give your website or offer page exposure and presence on the Internet.

Traffic Swarm is where I surf to find out what is going on in the world of Internet Marketing offers. There are dozens of other sites that could provide me with the same fodder, but Traffic Swarm has, in my experience, proven to be as good as any other at what it does.

My message has nothing directly to do with Traffic Swarm; it has to do with the users of Traffic Swarm, who hawk their goods like any merchant in a loud, noisy marketplace with vicious, unrelenting competition for your hard-earned dollar.

All of which brings us to the Latin phrase “caveat emptor,” which means let the buyer beware. The New Oxford American Dictionary (we bow to the King’s English) says this about caveat emptor: the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made. Herein lies the problem with online purchasing: we cannot examine the goods before we commit to buying whatever it is a person may be selling.

This fact of purchasing works in the seller’s interest, and the seller, not the buyer, will do anything to keep it that way, including, but not limited to, exaggerating claims, playing upon your emotions, using psychological ploys to move you to the action they want you to take, pressuring you into making buying decisions with no opportunity to see what it is you are purchasing, and being disingenuous in an attempt to relieve you of your money.

I have begun to examine Internet Marketing ads online very closely, not to determine the legitimacy of any particular offer, but rather to determine the quality of language used in supporting the legitimacy of the claims made in any particular offer.

An e-mail that came to me this morning offers an example. It uses this opening sentence to hook you into linking to their sales page: “As incredible as it may sound you’re about to discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!”

(The hoped for reader reaction might be: My God, this is an answer to prayer, a system that can finally drive traffic and business to my website so I can make my first sale in 24 months as an Internet Marketer after indiscriminately spending hundreds of dollars on useless offers.)

As I analyze this opening sentence, remember the use of the words “incredible” (as in I am so lucky to find this offer, today, on the Internet), “discover” (my god, this is totally new and I could be the first one in and make a killing) and “$0 cost to you” (and to think, all of this without any expense to me).

As a newcomer to Internet Marketing I hit the link to the promised land, and the sales page greets me with this: “I’m Revealing My Secrets I Personally Use To Drive Thousands Of Potential Customers To My Websites!” This is coupled with the reassuring phrase “you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website and $0 cost you!” Again, remember the reference to “$0 cost to you.”

The most powerful word in this opening is “secret” (as in only this very successful person and I are going to learn the secret). The word “secret” and “guru” in Internet Marketing go together like matching bookends.

There is, really, no big secret; there really is just one-upmanship in thinking there is. Literally hundreds of other marketers are successfully using the same secret. The inexperienced buyer simply has not yet apparently acquired the knowledge, applied the knowledge and profited from the experience. The reader is then reassured that “This works for any product, website or affiliate website” (as in it can work for you too).

Then there is an invitation to “Join my Marketing Tips Newsletter and I will show you free marketing tips – worth $500” (wow, what I deal for me). Once signed up, you will in most cases be immediately put into an autoresponder, which bombards you with e-mail messages on a timed basis (like every other day for the next 400 days). You can opt-out of these messages at any point in most cases, but most newcomers do not figure this out until they become very annoyed with the process.

This entire sales page takes a sharp left turn here, the idea being to get the person on a mailing list in case they are not buying into the for real paid offer that follows (remember, we started with “discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!” (as in free).

Prior to learning the actual price point that is coming (as sure as there is handwriting on the wall) is this claim: “I absolutely guarantee that if you use these tactics, you will get substantially higher rankings” (in search engines).

This, of course, is an asinine statement to make as the author of the statement controls neither the search engines or their ranking of websites. At best, the author could only guarantee to return the buyer’s purchase price should he or she feel dissatisfied with their particular results in using the tactics offered.

The bottom line is if you really want the advertised information the discounted price ends up at $49.97, with the admonition that it will be raised to $79.97 on December 1 (so it is a Limited Time Offer and you better act now or be left out). These ads invariably pressure for immediate action.

One could argue that the statement “discover a system how you can drive 1000s of potential customers to any website or affiliate website at $0 cost to you!” is literally true, what is not being said up front, however, is that it is going to cost you $49.97 to get the “secret information package” that would allow you to do so.

Given a more than cursory view of the offer, you must now decide how credible the offer is, and whether you will act immediately in your own best interest, because there is no doubt that the author of this ad is acting in his own best interest.

Sid Miller Wants to Know: What are you voting for?

 

That moment when someone says, “I can’t believe you would vote for Trump”

I simply reply “I’m not voting for Trump.”

I’m voting for the First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.

I’m voting for the Second Amendment and my right to defend my life and my family.

I’m voting for the next Supreme Court Justice(s) to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I’m voting for the continued growth of my retirement investments and the stock market.

I’m voting for an end to America’s involvement in foreign conflicts.

I’m voting for the Electoral College & the Republic we live in.

I’m voting for the Police to be respected once again and to ensure Law & Order.

I’m voting for the continued appointment of Federal Judges who respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I’m voting for our jobs to remain in America and not be outsourced all over again to China, Mexico and other foreign countries.

I’m voting for secure borders and legal immigration.

I’m voting for the Military & the Veterans who fought for this Country to give the American people their freedoms.

I’m voting for the unborn babies that have a right to live.

I’m voting for continued peace progress in the Middle East.

I’m voting to fight against human/child trafficking.

I’m voting for Freedom of Religion.

I’m voting for the American Flag that is disrespected by the “mob.”

I’m voting for the right to speak my opinion & not be censored.

I’m not just voting for one person, I’m voting for the future of my Country.

I’m voting for my children and my grandchildren to ensure their freedoms and their future.

What are you voting for?

About the Source: Sid Miller is the Commissioner of Agriculture in the Great State of Texas.

(Ed’s Note: The current 2020 Presidential Election has been reduced to a choice between our “constitutional republic” form of government and creeping into a “socialist” form of government in America. We should not allow any political party in America to bring advancing socialism—example: The Green New Deal—under the guise of improving our constitutional republic. Every form of socialism as a government in history has failed to advance the welfare of the citizens therein. Smart people know that socialism does not secure our rights as citizens but rather reduces our personal rights to the point where we have none and ultimately end up as a dictatorship.)

Financial Thoughts
on Investing
by Warren Buffett

(Ed’s Note: The following condensation is from The Tao of Warren Buffett, written by Mary Buffett and David Clark and available for sale at Amazon and bookstores nationwide. I am always impressed by what Warren Buffett has to say and am doing this condensation to help promote their book.)

On Investing: Never be afraid to ask too much when selling offer too little when buying.
(Ed’s Note: How much you get from a sale or how much you have to pay when making a purchase determines whether you make or lose money and how rich you ultimately become.)

(Ed’s Note: For more of Warren Buffett’s advice go to the menu bar above and click on Financial Thoughts.)