Rich Dad Poor Dad recently had its 20-year anniversary. According to Kiyosaki the system behind our financial struggles is very much alive, so find financial freedom to define your future. That system being ‘get an education, get a good job, get promoted, earn a higher salary’. Even if this leaves us financially illiterate our whole lives, in most cases.
I’m the first one to admit that the title of this book initially put me off. And I guess that’s down to my conditioning around money and the negative connotations surrounding it (being rich) that I’ve grown up with. Money is the root of all evil, etc. But what I realised within a very short space of time, is that it’s about far more than that. As Robert Kiyosaki says himself, he’s not a financial expert; this book is a motivational tool. But he combines that with the message that anybody can achieve financial freedom and become a financial expert if they so wish.
Contrasting his ‘two’ Dads is a clever way of providing opposing viewpoints and money mindsets. Whilst also allowing the reader to feel what Kiyosaki’s ‘real’ Dad does not teach him about finances.
The “System” Keeps Most People Poor: Find Financial Freedom To Define Your Future
Succeeding generations leave school and even top universities without understanding the first thing about money and personal wealth. Because schools are teaching people how to be poor. Entrepreneurship is never really presented as an option growing up.
We have been so indoctrinated by this employee mentality that we believe “it’s just the way it is” and there is no alternative. We’ve been taught that you need money to make money and people have to be born rich to get richer.
“The main reason people struggle financially is because they have spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is that people learn to work for money…. But never learn to have money work for them”. [Robert Kiyosaki]
We’re told to put a percentage of our wages each month (if we can) into savings accounts. But they don’t keep up with inflation which is mathematically impossible, according to Robert Kiyosaki.
You may be thinking that’s easy for Robert to say because he’s a multi-millionaire. But his philosophy is that financial freedom is attainable for everybody with the right education and mindset. Even the dedication in the beginning of the book is very altruistic. Written for ‘parents everywhere, a child’s first and foremost important teachers, and to all those who educate, influence and lead by example’.
From the outset, the learning style of Rich Dad, Poor Dad empowers the reader to take responsibility for their own learning
Because we’re in the digital age now and we all have access to the internet. And, if you don’t understand something, ask somebody to help you or do some research. If, like me, you like this style of instruction, it works really well as Robert Kiyosaki talks to you not at you. In my opinion, this only makes the writing style more relatable and the subject matter more approachable.
We’re living in the information age
The age of self-education, so we can learn online about attaining financial freedom should we choose to do so. But it’s how we use that information that determines how successful we become at this. We can become wealthy by educating ourselves. He very much advocates ignoring everything we learned in school and not looking for a job to make us wealthy. Not that he’s suggesting we all resign tomorrow, far from it.
Being An Entrepreneur Isn’t What You Do, It’s Who You Are
What we can do is keep our jobs but start buying assets. Or we can transition away from employment to entrepreneurship if we choose to, because we all have the skills it takes to be entrepreneurs and achieve a higher level of wealth. It’s about learning how to use your strengths to create wealth.
I usually have a mental block when it comes to numbers. But in this book, there wasn’t the dual struggle of styring to get my head around financial concepts and complicated language. It’s very much explained in layman’s terms as Robert Kiyosaki has a gift for breaking down quite complex topics and concepts into bite-sized, easily digestible chunks. And you can use its 9 study session sections to use as you re-read, discuss and study the book with friends and family. Useful recap on each chapter, the repetition of which….
I’d describe myself more as kinaesthetic than visual. But the diagrams explaining cash flow, assets and liabilities made it much easier for me to absorb what have always seemed far too complex topics for my more creative brain. There is no hiding behind flowery language, the book’s content speaks for itself.
Taxes are based on your facts and circumstances – changing your facts will change your taxes
The average person in a developed country spends nearly a third of their life (or 13 years) working just to pay taxes. That means more than two hours of every workday are dedicated to feeding your government. And three to four months out of every year are spent working solely so that you can pay your taxes.
Now, make no mistake, feeling wealth and abundance is a whole different topic and something I’m very much a believer of. I read this book purely because I wanted to be better financially educated. It has gone very much hand in hand with coming to the realization that time is not money. That I longer need to trade my time for money as an employee. As Robert Kiyosaki also states in this book, school teaches us how to be employees. And, as employees, we spend our lives working for our bosses, our governments and our mortgage companies.
On a personal level, I’ve had a love hate relationship with our mortgage in recent years
Not in terms of how much it costs us each month, but the fact that it’s a six-figure debt. So when I read that this book ‘challenges the belief that your house is an asset’, I realised that Robert Kiyosaki was speaking my language (or rather I could speak his). In the decades before I became a ‘homeowner’ (notice the contradiction in terms), I was always being told I should ‘get on the property ladder’. From my early twenties when the likelihood was about as certain as paying off my student debt that decade. And, at that age, I didn’t get it nor did I want it.
My husband and I bought our first home when we were 40 and 38 respectively, albeit with some parental financial support. But we have managed to turn our home into an asset. How? By building an annexe on the side of the house and renting the main house to tenants. So it has become an asset and a great source of passive income. But in terms of financial freedom in the truest sense, we have a long way to go. Hence why I knew I needed to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and see what Robert Kiyosaki had to say about it.
We all want to own our own home
And a mortgage makes absolute sense when the alternative is to rent for not much less per month. However, as far as I’m concerned, a house and a home are not the same thing. A house is something you only really own once (in many cases ‘if’) you pay off your mortgage. Whereas a home is yours whether it’s mortgaged, rented, self-built (my personal preference) or otherwise.
What rich people show to the world, i.e. the luxurious hotels they stay in, the huge houses they live in, the cars they drive, is possible because of what we don’t see. Assets are what got them to where they are today, income-producing assets such as real estate or stock, which make them money. In other words, rich people buy assets first. Then their assets buy them their luxury items, rather than acquiring liabilities (e.g. a credit card debt). Which is what the rest of us seem to do when we want to buy something we don’t have the money for at the time.
“Rich Dad Poor Dad is a starting point for anyone looking to gain control of their financial future”. [USA Today]
Overall, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is an extremely effective presentation of educational financial concepts. Some themes are more in depth than others. But we are all responsible for our own financial education so those points can be researched in greater detail by those who wish to do so.
For me, it’s just a bible of lightbulb moments and my go to book on financially educating myself. After all, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself, your education and your future.
To me, financial freedom will come from investing in self-education. To the degree that I can reinvest revenue from my business and start creating bigger assets requiring a higher initial investment. To make my money work for me, not work for my money. And to continue with self-learning and my self-development because
“Change is the end result of all true learning and the minute we stop learning, we begin death, the process of dying”. [Leo Buscaglia]
Much as we aren’t taught to look after our minds, we aren’t taught to look after our money. The way we think about work and money has got us to exactly where we are now. Mindset conquers all and Rich Dad, Poor Dad has certainly transformed my money mindset and my relationship with it
“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant”. [Robert Kiyosaki]