7 Money Lessons from The Richest Man in Babylon

Oluwadamilola Adeniyi Oyekan
3 min readNov 11, 2020

George Samuel Clason’s The Richest Man In Babylon is an amazing read that contains lots of investment nuggets and practical money management which are just as relevant today as it was 94 years ago (1926) when it was published. It is a remarkable personal finance classic. The book focused on Arkad, a son of a merchant who had a humble background but grew up to become the richest man in the ancient city of Babylon.

Here are 7 wealth-building lessons covered by the book and you can employ them diligently in building your own wealth.

I must say that, I’m still trying to work in all, however nuggets 1 and 2; I can boldly say I have attained and yet still working on them. We know that The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement :), so it’s a continuous path we need to keep walking. Jeff Bezos never stops making money even with his jaw dropping assets and liquidities. Let’s dive in!

  1. Pay yourself first — “Start thy purse to fattening” This may be one of the most basic tenets in all of personal finance, place a priority on paying yourself for your hard work first and allocate the rest of your income to fit your spending. Your savings will grow, and there’s a satisfaction that comes with knowing that you have something saved up for yourself. Learn to see the value of your work, and place a priority on paying yourself first.
  2. Live within your means — “Control thy expenditures” Always live below your means you can do this by differentiating your desires from your needs and resisting the habit of spending more. Do not confuse your necessary expenses with your desires. The goal is to earn more money than you spend..

3. Make your money work for you — “Make thy gold multiply” Understand. how finances appreciate, learn to make your treasure work for you, and how you can benefit from your earnings. Invest after months of saving up your income perhaps having saved a reserve of 6–8 months worth of living expenses.

4. Safeguard your wealth — “Guard your treasures against loss”

Protect your wealth One major principle of investment is security of your capital; do not be enticed by larger returns when your investment may be lost. Study carefully, make your research. Do not be misguided by larger returns to make wealth rapidly. Seek advice from people who are experts in their particular field, people who have actually experienced what you’re attempting.

5. Own your own home — “Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment” Build a home and have a building to your name, likewise you can rent a home you can comfortably afford. Buy a home that is below the maximum you can afford, yet one that you can still enjoy. Create a building plan.

6. Have a retirement plan — “Insure a future income” It is no news that all of us will become old and eventually stop work. Make plans for the day you stop working, look for ways to maximise your earning potential while you still have the energy to chase. Put plans in place for your income to continue working for you without you having to physically work. It’s never too early nor too late to start saving for the retirement you dream of.

7. Invest in your personal development — “Increase thy ability to earn” This last nugget cannot be overemphasised, develop yourself and strive to improve your abilities, and be more knowledgeable about whatever you are doing as this will provide the capacity for you to earn more. Knowledge is easily accessible through the use of the internet. For further guidance, you can create a simple system and divide your income like this:

10% = Pay yourself first. 10% = Pay debts (start with most small, expensive, high interest debts first). 10% = Future savings/Retirement 10% = Generosity (charity, church tithe, seed offering etc.) 60% = Living expenses. In conclusion, this book and the lessons therein, are very relevant and potent even in today’s world. These nuggets will help you become better at your finances if you are willing to implement them. It is a short story and I recommend everyone to read the full version of the book for more nuggets and insights.

Remember this always : LEARN > EARN > GET > GIVE.