The Take from Babylon

I remember the exact date I met "The Millionaire". He was a real cocky person. He told me quickly he was very wealthy and he owned the entire cul-de-sac. Upon arrival and shaking my hand, he briefly asked me about another IT person who he found on Craigslist, someone who had made him upset. I told him I didn't know any other IT people in the Tucson area. He gave me a stare then smiled, "Hopefully you can help me with my computers."

This was back in 2016, early December. I had quit my job as a teacher at a charter school. I felt they screwed me by letting my teaching license expire. I literally had someone say I didn't need it anymore. Little did I know the charter system didn't work off of Arizona licenses and the school had basically trapped me to working with them. I now am a fierce advocate against charter school systems and I currently work as a public school teacher. So in 2015 I decided to quit and do an IT job for another school district. The pay wasn't much but I had my father as a roommate, who supplemented some money and I also was starting off a new service business called "The Geeky Grandson". My mother loved the name and I was happy that my first few clients were friends and neighbors. I got brave enough to post on Craigslist and within a few weeks I had gotten a line of gigs. This is how I met the Millionaire.

The Millionaire had a really old Mac computer, a laptop. It was white, bulky and practically useless, outdated to many apps. My job was to make it useful. He pointed to his browser and said, "It says I need to update and when I do, it tells me my OS is outdated and it can no longer update. I don't get it." I mentioned to him that computer software move away from the old technology to protect their client's security - which is true.

He didn't like the answer. He wanted to use his old machine. I get it, people like using what they already have. As I attempted to update his OS and find some bypasses around his apps we got into talking about money. He mentioned a book that he said changed his life. I didn't consider it exciting at first, but he left the room for a moment and returned with a tiny little green book with gold letters. It was George S Clason's classic book, The Richest Man in Babylon.

I asked the Millionaire if I can borrow the book to read it. He laughed, "Absolutely not! This copy is mine. If you're serious about becoming rich, get your own copy."

I never was able to help the man with his computer. He did pay me and paid me fair. Most of the clients I had were always very generous, usually doubling my rate and telling me I was a good worker. I liked hearing it and I liked the additional tip. But the Millionaire didn't tip and I found it odd for someone who bragged about wealth, suggested about finance but gave me the exact rate. I later realized why the action was taken and I have no quarrels with the man's action. I think now looking back, if I was in his shoes, I had done the same.

I bought the book at Bookman's and began reading it that night. It was my first finance book and it was also the book that put me on a new course of life. It literally changed everything about how I see things and what money really is. I'm writing to thank the Millionaire for giving me this wonderful gift. I'm shocked to think that a tiny book that cost $5 allowed me to drastically fix my financially damaged life - get me out of debt, get me to saving large sums of money and most importantly get me to think about how money can work in my behalf instead of the other way around.

That year for my side gig I made only a thousand dollars. But ironically my last client inadvertently changed my entire life for me, my family and my friends forever.

Three things I got from reading Babylon:

One, you need to figure out how to save at least ten percent of your income - no matter how poor or rich you are. That ten percent means so much and it may be a dime to your dollar, but dimes do add up, and quick! In ten years, you'll have a year's worth of your income. If anything goes bust you can always resort back to that ten percent machine you've built for yourself. Luckily that ten percent machine is constant and forever.

Two, you need to remove your debt, starting with the smallest and work your way up. Like bricks, your debt is the wall that blocks you from seeing the future. As you destroy each brick the horizon is present, and glorious. When the debt is clear, as is your vision. It's breathing room, wiggle room, relaxation in it's grandest form. If you can't completely remove yourself from debt, make a plan to do so. Literally write out your monthly progress toward that plan and stick to it. Make the plan realistic and honest. No use in lying to yourself if you're the only one who suffers. I cannot tell you the relief you get when you destroy your debt bricks. It's an inch above the water and an inch away from the others who truly suffer.

Three, money is a tool. That's the bottom line. It's no different than a ruler. It's no more sophisticated than an IOU. I didn't exactly get this bullet from the book but I did however realize this when I took efforts to making my life financially better. At the time I was seven thousand into college debt, had four thousand against my credit card, a new car payment that ate away half my paycheck and I nothing to show for it. I was a walking debt collection and it made me sick to my stomach that I was pathetically useless to my community. Luckily that all changed, and for the better. I now have only one debt and that is to the Millionaire. He himself gave me something I cannot repay except to tell you this secret. Please read the book. Change your life.

If you have any questions regarding the book, please email me. I'd love to chat.


Amazon associated monetized link to the book (or save some money and find it at your local bookstore):

The Richest Man in Babylon

Pictures of my ugly butt with my original copy of the book:

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor. I have no proper training in finance or consider myself an expert in money and finance. This blog is just my personal journey in gaining control of my money, my life and sanity. I don't expect you to get rich but I hope you will turn out successful with your finance management. I hope these tools, tips and strategies helps someone out there as much as they have helped me. Please contact me for any concerns. - Adam