We live in strange times, in a strange place.

When it comes to money, Macau is not like any other place on earth. The universal laws and principles of money become convoluted, and the function of money as a store of value is distorted.

The connection between financial success and its usual indicators such as skill, time on task, diligence and intelligent investment is often broken, and instead fortunes are won and lost overnight based on this impalpable thing called ‘luck’.

Exorbitant financial values are placed on unusual objects in pawn shops while some forms of human labour are grossly devalued. Citizens pay little to no tax, while entitlement runs at an all-time high.

Macau can be equated to a ‘financial black hole’, where money gets sucked in one end through the vast casino floors and spat out the other end whilst massive amounts of money are lost in the financial ether in the process.

We sometimes hear of a gambler who hit a jackpot and literally filled the penthouse bathtub with money, or even a friend who strolled into a casino for some casual fun only to lose a year’s worth of salary!

So how do we keep our heads screwed on properly in the face of all the financial disorientation and temptation? When navigating a turbulent financial environment like Macau, it helps to be able to refer to timeless wisdom that can serve as a map and compass.

“The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clayson is such a book. Written just before the Great Depression, it has stood the test of time when it comes to financial wisdom and countless millionaires around the world swear by its principles.

Today we share some of its main principles, but I would highly recommend you read the book for yourself.

  1. Start thy purse to fattening

This is perhaps the simplest but most important lesson of the book, and deserves to come first. When most people get their salaries, they spend it as required over the month and try to save whatever is left. The rich pay themselves first and foremost before they spend any of the money they earned so they can save money and start investing.

  1. Make thy gold multiply

After a while of saving first before spending, you should have some capital saved. The next step is to consider each dollar as a little ‘soldier’, and deploy it on a mission to capture more soldiers. Every time you spend a dollar, you should consider “Is this dollar going to bring me more dollars?”

  1. Increase thy ability to earn

Investment in yourself is one of the best investments you can make. Constantly increase your financial knowledge through reading books, taking courses and speaking with like-minded people interested in living a fuller life.

  1. Invest thy coin under the advice of men wise in its handling

In the “Richest Man in Babylon”, the main character invests his money with shady foreign jewel traders that promise to bring back rare jewels for cheap and was scammed.

He also invested his money in a shield business with a man who was a cloth maker and had no expertise in the production of shields. Needless to say, he lost his money but gained a lesson.

Be careful who you listen to for advice, and only invest with those who are experts in their area and know what they are doing.

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