This episode, Mak & G look at the history of building wealth and the different money-building secrets we can learn from The Richest Man in Babylon.
The Richest Man in Babylon shows how the fundamental aspects of building wealth have stayed the same over the last few thousands of years.
So what are these aspects? What can we learn from the book? What are the key ways to build wealth?
This “Money With Mak and G” podcast episode, Mak & G look at the key lessons taught in The Richest Man in Babylon, how they can be applied to life today, and how when used correctly they can help you build wealth…
“It’s never too early to start saving for retirement.” – Mak & G
“Make your money work for you.” – Mak
05:20 – Ghost peppers, the Scoville scale, and the hottest pepper on earth.
08:50 – Where the concept of building wealth started.
09:50 – The Richest Man in Babylon.
11:18 – How much of your income you should save.
11:48 – The importance of controlling your expenses.
12:25 – The challenges of investing.
13:25 – Protecting your money.
13:55 – Looking at your house as an investment.
14:50 – What things we should get insurance for.
15:53 – Increasing your ability to earn.
17:59 – The lessons from The Richest Man in Babylon.
Connect with Ben Jones:
#1 Where are higher-income families more likely to do most of their Christmas shopping, compared to lower-income families?
A) At a pet store
B) At the North Pole
D) At a yard sale
#2 What are lower-income families more likely to use to pay for Christmas shopping?
A) Home-grown vegetables
B) Compliments to the store clerk
C) Monopoly money
D) Credit card
#3 How do 29% of Americans plan to pay off their holiday bills?
A) By doing the dishes for six months
B) By joining TikTok and hoping they go viral
C) Using their tax returns
D) With money from generous strangers
#4 How long did we calculate a typical $1500 credit card bill would take to pay off at average interest rates if you only paid the minimum amount?
A) 44 months
C) Ten years
#5 Prices today are around 50% higher than 20 years ago because of what?
A) 44 months
C) Ten years
MAK: Wow, dad takes this money thing seriously, and really works on it. Why am I surprised?
GRANT: I think he clearly wants to make sure we don’t worry our entire life about having enough for food, housing, education and retirement.
MAK: Dude, we’re 12, retirement, really?
GRANT: Yes. As dad says…
MAK/GRANT: It’s never too early to start saving for retirement.
MAK: I don’t even really know what retirement is.
GRANT: I think it’s when you get old and lazy, so you just sit there and live off your money and social security. I think that’s it.
MAK: That makes sense. But, he does say you have to start early a lot. That’s for sure.
GRANT: Have you ever thought of all the stuff dad says OVER and OVER…
MAK: And OVER. Yes I have. There’s a lot.
GRANT: Pay yourself first.
MAK: A penny saved is a penny earned.
GRANT: Buy low, sell high.
MAK: Make your money work for you.
GRANT: Education frees your mind and increases your bank account.
MAK: Uh…… wait a minute. I don’t think he said that last one.
GRANT: Yeah, but maybe he SHOULD have. Learning is so key to building your wealth.
MAK: And that’s one of the things Rich Dad Poor Dad said. Hey, what do you think they did about wealth really far back in the past?
GRANT: You mean like last week?
MAK: Grant, you must be a little off your rocker. That’s not far back. I mean like hundreds or thousands of years ago.
GRANT: Do you think they actually thought about money that far back?
MAK: ABSOLUTELY they did. Money’s been around for thousands of years, haven’t you seen our money video on YouTube? Building wealth is NOT a new concept.
GRANT: Ok, good to know. Why don’t we scream like we always do and ask dad?
MAK: I’m in….
MAK/GRANT: Dad, tell us a story about money thousands of years ago!
MAK: What’s that banging I hear in the kitchen
GRANT: It sounds like dad is tenderizing a chicken.
DAD: OUHOOOOOEEE!!!! H-H-H-H-H-H….
MAK: Dad, your face looks like it’s on FIRE!!! Why all the “ha-ha-ha’s”?
GRANT: Dad, breathe, 1…. 2…. 3… Why is there milk all over the floor?
DAD: GASP, Breathe, GASP, Breathe. HOT!!!! HOT!!!
MAK: Did you burn your hand or….. your face, because that’s bright red?
GRANT: I think he forgot to turn off the gas to the stove, and he probably touched something VERY hot and burnt himself.
DAD: Scoville, S-H-U. Over 1million. Ghost, ghost!
MAK: I think he’s simply talking crazy. “SCOWEEE PAHOEHOE”, one million. That doesn’t make any sense. Does it make sense to you?
GRANT: Maybe he saw a ghost and it scared him crazy and now he’s disoriented.
DAD: (struggling) Carolina Reaper right there!! Over 2 million, S-H-U. (panting) No touching!
MAK: You don’t think the “grim reaper” showed up from Carolina. He’s not going to die is he?
GRANT: Mak, he has way too much color in his face to die. It’s neon red, and he’s got his tongue so far out, he looks like a dog.
DAD: Ice Cream. Now.
MAK: Great idea, dad! I LOVE Mint Chocolate chip. I say, if dad can’t talk, we leave some here for him and go enjoy the rest of it by ourselves on the screened in porch.
GRANT: Sounds AWESOME!!! Enjoy the floor, and when you’re ready, come find us and we can talk. Wait… Look, he’s getting up. Good for you dad.
DAD: Wow, that ice cream really helped. You guys would kick a guy when he’s down, wouldn’t you?.
MAK: Looks like you’re doing better. We didn’t know what was going on.
GRANT: You were alive and kicking and you weren’t grabbing your chest or anything. So we figured all was good.
DAD: At least you know how to call 911. So I shouldn’t be too mad. Hey, you know I love hot stuff, right? Uncle Tony challenged me to try a couple hot peppers. So, I started with the Bhut Jolokia (Hyphenate: Butt Jo-Licky-a).
MAK: What? So, why did you say “Ghost”.
GRANT: Then you said something about the “Grim Reaper”. Sounds like you were scared to death or something.
DAD: Well, the Bhut Jolokia is called the “Ghost” Pepper, it’s about 1 million Scoville Heat Units, and the Carolina Reaper was going to be next at 2 million on the Scoville sale.
MAK: Let’s just say the hottest I’ve ever tasted was that jalapeno at Uncle Julio’s restaurant. How hot is that one rated?
GRANT: I just looked it up Mak, and it’s… Get this… 8,000 Scoville.
MAK: What? 8,000 and the “butt o licky” one is 1,000,000? Dad, are you INSANE?
DAD: Ok, I wasn’t thinking straight, you know how I get when Uncle Tony dares me to do something. And, he asked me to video tape it.
GRANT: Did you? Let me see it… Mak, check this out…
MAK: I guess that explains the milk. Dad, you do know your nose is for breathing and smelling, not shooting milk out of it.
DAD: Ha, ha. Funny. I should have never trusted uncle Tony.
MAK: That probably goes without saying. And, what is this Scoville thing?
DAD: A guy named Scoville started rating peppers in 1912. He’d mix them in a solution. Probably water and stuff. Depending on the amount of dilution to take away the heat taste, he’d come up with a score.
GRANT: Interesting. It says here that Pepper Spray, you know the stuff used to fend off people, and used by the police. That’s rated at over 5 million.
MAK: Wow. Grant, is this right? They say the Ghost pepper is used in the Indian version of tear gas. You know that stuff they shoot into crowds and make you cough and tear up or cry.
GRANT: Yeah the Indian army calls them “Chili Grenades”. Cool, huh. I read that the Carolina Reaper feels like you’re eating molten lava. SOOO Cool!!
DAD: So, don’t even think about TOUCHING that thing. I used gloves. I read a not-so-funny story about a guy who touched one and went to the bathroom. It ended with a lot of screaming.
GRANT: Oh no. As a guy I can say that would’ve been TERRIBLE.
MAK: That guy doesn’t sound like he thought things through….
DAD: You got that right. Oh, I love this. The inventor of the Infinity pepper which is a little hotter than the Ghost pepper said it burnt the back of his throat, then got so hot he couldn’t speak and began to shake.
GRANT: That’s insane. One Trinidad Scorpion pepper rates at 1.3 million Scoville. It looks like a Scorpion’s stinger and has a “fruity” taste.
MAK: I think I’ll pass. All interesting, but we wanted to know if people thought about how to handle money throughout history.
DAD: They absolutely did, and I think that’s a great topic we should explore. Since we’re talking about books, there is a great one called “The Richest Man in Babylon”, which was set thousands of years ago.
GRANT: Is this the book that you’ve spoken about with the Chariot builder.
DAD: Sure is. I can’t believe you remember it. Strike one up for dad!!
MAK: And, chariots were invented about 5,000 years ago. So, that could be a very old story.
DAD: Well, the author was making a point that these concepts could’ve started thousands of years ago and still work today.
MAK: If it’s an old story, I bet they spoke a lot about gold. The Egyptians used gold around 6,000 years ago for money.
DAD: He did, and I bet you can find some similarities with the book Rich Dad Poor dad.
GRANT: Ok, so let’s jump in and figure it out.
MAK: Maybe you can lay down some of the background.
DAD: There were two friends, named Bansir who was a chariot builder and Kobbi who was a musician. They were the best at their craft but had no money and were poor.
GRANT: So, the chariot builder knew how to build wheels, great structures to be pulled behind one or more horses, right?
MAK: And, the musician was probably well known.
DAD: They didn’t have the highest paying jobs, but they made a really good living. However, they were still poor. They went to seek the advice of a childhood friend Arkad, who grew rich and amassed fortunes.
GRANT: So what did he say?
DAD: Well, he let them in on 7 secrets or “cures” for a lean purse.
MAK: Did you say a purse? Is this his way to show you how to have more money so your “purse” gets fat?
DAD: Yep, back in history men and women held their money in a purse. They found a purse on Otzi the Iceman, who was a guy frozen in the Alps, who lived around 3200 BC and was found in 1991.
MAK: That’s cool. That’s over 5,000 years ago. See Grant, money was a big thing throughout history. So, what were the 7 purse “fattening” ideas?
DAD: To start your purse “fattening” you have to pay yourself first. He recommends saving at least 10% of your income.
GRANT: Ok, I think I got this one. It means you have to save at least 10% or you’ll never build anything. This sounds very similar to Rich Dad Poor Dad.
MAK: Yep, dad did say that several books say VERY similar things.
DAD: You’re right Mak. If you can’t save at least 10%, you may never have wealth. You have to spend less than you make which leads to the next point.
GRANT: I think you have to control your expenses. Is that it?
DAD: You got it.
MAK: Wow Grant, that’s excellent. Does he give any extra insights to this one?
DAD: Sure. Even when you make more money, living below your means is very helpful to accumulate wealth. If you do this, it increases faster.
GRANT: That would make a lot of sense. If you make more, and keep expenses down, you’re now saving over 10%.
DAD: Good job G.
MAK: Since I’m a believer in dividends, I think he has to say that Money has to work for you.
DAD: He does. He says to “Make the gold multiply”, which is exactly the same thing.
GRANT: There’s that gold thing. So, they thought about making money for you. Sounds like a great plan.
DAD: Agree. He speaks about gold labors diligently and contently for the wiser owner, and gold clings to the protection of the cautious owner who invests it under the advice of wise men.
MAK: Or women.
DAD: Agree completely Mak. So, when you invest your Gold, if you expect impossible earnings, or in things you are not familiar with, your gold will slip away easily.
GRANT: Sounds like you have to do your homework, and seek good advice.
MAK: Agree. If not, “A fool and his gold are soon parted”.
DAD: Excellent Mak. You have to be smart and “Guard the treasures from loss”. You MUST study carefully, don’t be too confident in your wisdom, and learn from experience.
GRANT: Wow dad, that sounds a lot like increasing your financial knowledge.
MAK: It really does, if you want to do real estate, it makes sense to learn from someone who’s already done it.
DAD: Exactly. We must do our diligent effort to find great investments with great people. Great job Mak. This next one has to do with your home.
GRANT: Is this a question of owning or renting your house?
DAD: It is. The author wants all of us to look at our home as an investment and says “Make the dwelling a profitable investment”.
MAK: Is this where you buy a house and don’t pay rent so you have an investment of value as you go through your life?
DAD: It is. He clearly says the money is for your own investment instead of someone else’s.
GRANT: It’s mine.
MAK: No it’s mine!
GRANT: Is this where I read “There is no better feeling and investment than living in your own home”.
MAK: Sounds right to me. Spending your money to buy your home instead of renting sounds like it makes sense.
DAD: So, do you think we should ever do anything to protect ourselves and all the money we saved?
GRANT: Wasn’t this about our discussion involving insurance?
DAD: Sure is. Especially if you have a family you want to protect them if the main earner is hurt or sick. So, the author’s advice is to insure your wealth and future income.
MAK: That makes sense. If you really want to build your wealth, you should protect.
GRANT: Agree. That makes complete sense to me. So, what kind of things would you protect?
DAD: Well, idea #5 is to buy your home. So, insurance for bad things happening to your house is one. Another is if the person who makes the most money dies, so that’s life insurance.
MAK: This sounds like another conversation about reducing risk. If there is a risk of losing money, you might want to protect it.
GRANT: Especially if there are big risks that don’t happen often, it’s worth the small amount you pay for it.
DAD: Well said G. You don’t want one bad thing that’s not likely to happen to wipe you out. Agree. I really like this last one, and I don’t think we’ve heard it before.
MAK: Knowing dad, it’s about education.
GRANT: Yeah, you’re probably right, since he spent years studying.
DAD: It kind of is. You always have to increase your ability to earn. The more wisdom, the more we earn. The chariot builder needs to learn new methods, exchange ideas, consult and exchange knowledge.
MAK: So, is that why you got all those letters behind your name?
GRANT: Or, did you like being nerdy?
DAD: I love to learn, no doubt about it. But, I learnt those things to help myself in my own life, and also open doors for jobs that paid more. I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn’t get a great job.
MAK: Well, you have to have a job, because Grant really likes to eat and needs money for hair gel.
GRANT: Well, you like nice clothes and crafts. I guess not having to worry about earning money would be helpful.
DAD: Agree. It wasn’t another worry I wanted in my life. You guys are more than enough to talk about, right?
MAK/GRANT: Agree. But, we’re fun.
DAD: I love you both. I know we learnt a couple new rules, and also had some similar ones. I’m looking forward to our next podcast. I love re-visiting some of my old favorites.
MAK: This is fun. Did Bansir, the chariot builder, learn anything?
GRANT: And, Kobbi was he better off?
DAD: Yes they did. One, because they put themselves in the money mindset, and were ready to hear the wisdom and work hard to make these things habits.
MAK: Dad, maybe we should talk about the habits of successful people as lessons are one thing…
GRANT: And action is another.
DAD: I think you’re right. Let me think about it, but for now, let’s say goodbye, and we’ll get back together next week. How’s that sound?
MAK/GRANT: Great. Thanks dad! Bye!!
Ben’s 2 Cents
In the Richest Man in Babylon, Bansir, was the chariot builder, and even though it was a story set in a time thousands of years ago, the lessons are easy to learn and live by.
1) Start the purse to fattening
2) Control your expenditures
3) Make the gold multiply
4) Guard the treasures from loss
5) Make of the dwelling a profitable investment
6) Insure your wealth and future income
7) Increase your ability to earn
These shouldn’t scare you at all. Are you saving some of what you earn? 10% sounds like a solid number, but you can always raise it. How many times have we spoken about controlling your expenditures? This shouldn’t be new.
And, we all have to make our money work for us. You can’t bury your money, but we have to be thoughtful in our investing so it can grow. Benjamin Franklin commented on money and said, “Money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more.”
I think that’s a perfect way to say it. It generates more, and having money makes more money. But, we have to protect it from loss. A fool and his money are quickly parted. Decisions should be thought out and the right expectation should be set.
As for where you live, buying your house is seen as investment. Real estate has historically been a very good investment. It takes time to get there, but in the long run, it can be an excellent purchase.
Let’s not be stupid or try to cut corners and not buy insurance to cover our wealth and future income. Thousands of years ago, there wasn’t insurance, but now there is. We can reduce our risk with many forms of insurance. If you need help, find an expert.
And, lastly, always look for your opportunities to increase your ability to earn. It takes time and effort. But when it pays off it feels great to be paid more because you made the effort. Take courses, webinars, tests, hands-on extra work, find a mentor to help. There are so many ways to make yourself more valuable, it just takes a little effort.
Thanks for being here. Don’t forget to like, subscribe and comment on the podcast. We really appreciate it and we look forward to seeing you next week. Bye!!