The Rockefeller Rules
As I said earlier, money is a game. If you know the rules, you win. And if you don’t know the rules, you don’t win. Warren Buffett, who became the world’s wealthiest stock market multi-billionaires has two important rules. Rule #1. Never lose money. Rule #2. Never forget rule #1. And here are some other simple rules to the Money Game..
Every dollar is a money seed.
You can grow rich on the money you’re now wasting.
You can’t make poor decisions today and expect to be rich tomorrow.
The longer you wait to get started the steeper the climb.
A dollar squandered today destroys a hundred thousand future dollars.
And since you are planning on spending a lot of time in the future, it would be nice to have plenty of money there waiting for you when you arrive. Wouldn’t it? So if valuing money is skill #1. What are the other 6 skills? Let just say, that a couple of the skills are hidden in the following quote from a book called Kids and Cash about the Rockerfeller family. Let’s see if you can pick them out.
According to Nelson Rockerfeller, the one time Vice President of the United States, his father John D. Rockerfeller, Jr, gave each of his five sons an allowance “We got 25 cents a week, and had to earn the rest of the money we got.” To earn part of that extra money he raised vegetables and rabbits…”We always worked. All the boys were required to keep personal daily account books. They were required to give 10 percent of their income to charity, to save 10 percent, and to account for all the rest.” They had to balance their account books every month and to be able to tell what happened to every penny they earned. (From the book, Kids and Cash Ken Davis and Tom Taylor 1979 Oak Tree Publications)
The Rockerfeller kids were taught a specific pattern for dealing with their money. I call them the Rockerfeller rules.
Work for all you get
Give away the first 10%.
Pay yourself the next 10%.
Live on the rest.
Account for every penny.
Isn’t it interesting that Rockerfeller made his kids learn the habit of work? But why do you think Mr. and Mrs. Rockerfeller taught their kids to give the first 10% to charity? Now, if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, or in any way squeamish about the subject of God, you’d better skip over this section. It’s just going to make you all grumpy. But if you believe there is a Supreme Being, then, read on. The Rockerfellers, like almost all of the great American billionaires, looked upon their wealth as a sort of spiritual stewardship. They believed that God gave them the money. It wasn’t theirs…they just were caretakers over it. They felt a duty to manage it for the betterment of others…while thoroughly enjoying it themselves, of course. If every dollar they received was a gift from God, they were glad to pay 10% of it back. (Andrew Carnegie gave all of his wealth away before his death.) You’d be surprised how many very successful and very wealthy people today and throughout the past 200 years have felt the same. God, for them, was always the best silent partner. And they didn’t do too badly for God and his children, either. Today, the Ford Foundation gives away hundreds of millions of dollars PER YEAR to various charities. The Rockerfeller foundation gives away almost 50 million dollars.
I wonder if God knew this was going to happen. Looking down on the earth in the late 1800’s did he say to himself. “To whom shall I give the idea for the automobile? And which lucky person is going to end up with the concept of oil? Hmmmm…let’s see. There’s that Rockerfeller fellow. He’s going to end up pretty decent. And most of his money is eventually going to go to help others. I think he should get a big chunk of oil. There’s that scrappy Henry Ford down there in Michigan. He’s got a few glaring blemishes but eventually, the money he makes with this idea is going to belong to his foundation and will bless millions of people. Let’s give him a big chunk of the automobile.”
How did Bill Gates end up with the computer? Or Andy Gove with the silicon chip? Or the guy (what was his name anyway?) who started Amazon.com? These days, billions can be made and lost in a single day in the stock market. Who’s going to get the next billion dollar concept? Do you deserve to get it? What would you do with it if you got it? Could God trust you with it? Would you squander it? Or would you be a wise steward over it? Would there be anything left to bless the lives of others? Tough questions. I would encourage you that, no matter what your financial circumstances, invest 10% right off the top in your favorite charity or church. If you don’t know where to put it, follow your heart. One day, all the money in the world, will not keep your heart beating. Sharing 10% with others will remind you that God owns everything and we’re transients here.
Now, after you pay the first 10% to your “Silent Partner” you need to pay yourself next. In the classic, “The Richest Man in Babylon,” George S. Clayson tells the story of the wise investor whose primary rule was, “A part of all you earn is yours to keep.” (If you haven’t read this book yet, buy it today and read it.) And then, when these two items are taken care of, Live on the rest. Make the decision that, starting today, you will no longer go into debt to support your lifestyle. You’re going to live below your means…no matter what. It may take you months to turn your spending patterns around (for an oil tanker to change course 180 degrees takes many, many hours and hundreds of miles to accomplish…you’re like that tanker, it will take time to turn your financial bad habits into good ones…so be patient with yourself.
And finally, Account for every penny.
This is the part that all of us seem to hate so much…accounting for every penny. I remember when I was doing my initial research, I looked, in vain, for a way out of this requirement. It seemed every successful money manager I interviewed was scrupulously meticulous about knowing where every penny went. And, of course, this was the exact opposite of my personality. Although my father was an accountant, I just didn’t seem to be blessed with the same genes. I knew how to spend money really well…but I couldn’t save a dime. One day I woke up and realized that in my business career I had literally gone through millions of dollars in profits and royalties. If I had religiously saved 10% of that income…if I had lived the Rockerfeller rules…I should have had a bank account filled with millions of dollars. But I didn’t. I asked myself…of all the millions that had gone through my life, couldn’t I have lived on 10% less. Of course, and that’s when I started to live this rule.
Now, I know that the subject of budgeting and saving and penny pinching seems tedious to most Americans (as it did to me for most of my adult life), yet, I can also attest to the fact that these skills or habits must become part of your life if you ever hope to achieve any measure of financial success. Don’t give me your old excuses. I used all of them myself at one time or another and not one of them every made me richer. Don’t you dare tell me you’re not good at math, or that you hate to balance your checkbook, or that you don’t have a head for numbers, or that you never went to college, or that you don’t know how to work a calculator, or that your spouse takes care of that stuff, or that you don’t have the time, or that life is short and that you’d better enjoy it while you can. Odds are, you’re going to live to a hundred years old…that’s thirty five years past retirement… and you must plan for it by taking charge of your finances NOW.
You can’t delegate this to anyone. You’ve got to do it. Truth is, nobody can watch over your money like you can. (Farmers have a saying that the best fertilizer is the farmer’s own shadow.) Strangely enough, when you make the commitment to watch every penny, the dollars start to add up quicker. If compound interest can make a single dollar bill grow into a million dollars…then it can also make a single penny grow into a million pennies… and that’s ten thousand dollars. From a single penny? Have you ever walked by a penny on the sidewalk and not picked it up because it was just a penny? The truth is, that hidden beneath that penny is a pile of a million pennies. Pick up that penny and invest it right.
Authors Details: Robert G. Allen – Prosperity, 7 Secrets.
His colossal bestseller Nothing Down established Robert Allen as one of the most influential investment advisors of all time. Also the author of ‘The One Minute Millionaire’