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Returning Back to the Babylonian Roots of Saving
By Crystal Dallo :: Monday, May 4, 2009 :: 19306 Views :: Article Rating :: Business & Finance

Michigan, USA - Even before it was fashionable in America, Chaldeans were proselytizing about the value of thrift and saving.  “I give all my American friends having financial trouble the book,” says Faith Yono a senior finance major at Wayne State University in Michigan.  “The book is small, but filled with wise financial sense.  This is a reason why Babylonians are some of the wealthiest people even today.”

Yono is referring to the book titled the Richest Man in Babylon written by George Samuel Clason which gives financial advice through a collection of parables set in ancient Babylon.  Through their experiences in business and managing household finance, the characters in the parables learn simple lessons in financial wisdom. By basing these parables in ancient times, but involving situations that modern people can understand and identify with, the author presents these lessons as timeless wisdom that is as relevant today as it was back then.

Chaldeans are known to teach that you should never spend what you borrowed.   “America’s culture of consume on credit is very bad,” says Yono.  “People are taught to buy whatever they like on credit cards and pay the crazy interest later.  The same stupid thinking is now in government.   They just want to borrow and spend and this is very bad.”

Yono says shortsighted government policy of easy lending to high risk borrowers turned Americans away from what had been an enduring social consensus that valued thrift.  Now public consciousness has been raised. People are looking for ways to dig out of debt and to build a nest egg. But they need information and advice on how to do it.

The banking industry used to run campaigns to help people save and used to sponsor school savings programs. But many banks have stopped doing so. This is why it is important to have new information campaigns. Give people simple, plain steps on how to go about saving.

“Chaldeans are getting caught up in this borrow and spend culture.  Some are stupidly spending tens of thousands for flowers in weddings instead of using that money towards a home or condo.  They also go out and buy wasteful things.  They are learning to spend money senselessly.”

Yono says that there needs to be a change back when America thought it was cool and smart to save.  “Students need to be taught in school how to save, make a budget, and learn good habits of spending.”

Even with her friends, Yono has started teaching them how to save.   “I teach them how to save and invest their money and how to spend smarter.  They really don’t need to spend six dollars a day on coffee.  That turns out to about $1,500 a year on something that ultimately hurts them. If they really need the cup they can consider brewing their own or purchasing a better tasting one at lower cost.  They really want the image of buying an expensive cup of coffee.  These companies pay lots of money to fool people into buying their products brand name and image.”  

Yono advises readers to track their spending for a few months and to review what they spend their money on.  As for credit cards, Yono says for high school and even some college students is dangerous.  “you are teaching the kids to spend what they don’t have.  At this age they are easily persuaded to buy things they want, not buy things they need.  A credit card could be used for emergency purchases, but parents should watch their children closely.  Even the ones in college.” 

Yono adds that Chaldean parents have a responsibility to educate their children about the realities of borrowing and spending.