The Gold Lender Of Babylon

Rodan comes into a large sum of gold and can’t figure out what to do with it. He initially thought of all the worldly goods he could imagine; however, it seems that he also had a desire to keep his massive pile of gold. He eventually turns to the money lender for help figuring out what he should do with his gold.

The money lender tells a story of the ox and the ass. The ox works hard and is upset that the ass simply has to bring the master around each day. If the master goes nowhere, the ass may rest. The ass teaches the ox that if he plays sick, he could earn a days rest. He’s helped his friend; however, pays the price, for he becomes the one to pull the plow that day. He learns that if you want to help a friend, do so in a way that won’t make your friends troubles yours.

He tells another story which ends with the following lesson: “Humans in the throes of great emotions are not safe risks for the gold lender.” He also talks about the folly’s of youth and how youth often do not have the experience to stay out of debt. This is a big reminder because I have made my fair share of financial mistakes. I really, really want my kids to avoid those. I’m not saying that I want to shelter them from all mistakes, I just don’t want them to be in a debt trap.

He also mentioned that he encourages the lend of gold if it is for a wise purpose. If your money is lent unwisely, it is very difficult to get back. Allowing your heart and your family to pull you into a decision simply because they are your family is unwise. “Be not swayed by the fantastic plans of impractical men who think they see ways to force their gold to make earnings unusually large.”

Better a little caution than a great regret.

Nate points out in his e-mail that, like the money lender, people are often very excited to share their knowledge. Not everyone of course, but the majority of people do. I know that I do, when I know something that someone doesn’t. It a) make you feel smarter and b) helps the person asking. Book that lunch date – people are social creatures.

Nate points out the same passage I pointed out above: if you want to help a friend, do so in a way that won’t make your friends troubles yours. Furthermore, he explicitly states: You can’t expect to get paid back from someone who doesn’t make any money. Sounds logical, but there are tonnes of people who will ignore this to “be helpful.”

Here are the types of people who you should not give money to:

  1. Someone who is emotionally distraught. Emotions cloud judgement and you never know what they will do next.
  2. Someone who is borrowing for earthly pleasures. If they’re just borrowing to buy the newest this or that, you might want to pass. If they are borrowing to use that money to make money – they will probably pay it back.
  3. Someone who is not open to any forms of advice. If they are not willing to hear any advice given (or brush it off), chances are that they will brush off warning signs that will cause the money to disappear and leave them unable to service their debt.
  4. Someone who lacks experience: this might be a little tricky. Generally it’s the young that lack experience. Not always, like in the case of someone trying a new business, but often. It’s not like the young don’t deserve a shot. They are less experienced though (generally). You should be very careful with this group, lest they piss your money away. I’ll be the first one to admit that there are people out there way younger than me that are WAY more experienced than I am. Judge for yourself . If it feels shaky to you, bow out.

Nate says the biggest takeaway from this whole chapter is that you need to keep your money safe. Grow it, but don’t take foolish risks. Nothing is 100% fool proof but you have to know you did your best. “Giving your gold to someone who cannot or will not pay it back is not a safe investment.” I found this funny: “If you want someone to leave you alone – loan them money.” We all know that’s true.

Nate offers this suggestion for loaning money to family members. Don’t. Give it to them as a gift and never expect repayment. If you can’t afford to give the gift, don’t give it. It’s not easy to do, but it’s necessary to protect your gold.

Maybe if they are struggling with money – you can help them with knowledge, like a budget, the concepts in the book or Nate’s course. Most times that’s worth more than it’s weight in gold.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *