Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money--that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
What are you teaching your kids about money and financial success? Perhaps you want to ensure that they get a college degree, learn a profession or skill and then, hopefully, find a secure job working for a safe company.
But what about all those people who follow that well-worn path, and somehow get caught up in the "rat race"?
You know who they are. Some are your fi'iends, your neighbors, and your relatives. They have recurring bills, cred*t card debts, school loans, and large mortgage payments. The harder they work, the farther behind they fall. They look forward to their next pay raise but, when the raise finally arrives, it never seems to be quite enough. Saving for the kids' college education or even for their own retirement seems like a daunting task.
Some people go on to declare bankruptcy, even though they followed the trusted model of working hard to move up that elusive ladder of success. Maybe you can even picture yourself in this scenario.
Too bad we all didn't have the benefit of "two dads" to teach us about money.
Growing up in Hawaii, Robert T. Kiyosaki was fortunate to have a rich dad and a poor dad, and from them he learned a great deal about money-both good and bad. His own father, the poor dad, was a highly educated man and very successful as an educator and a Ph.D. in Hawaii. Even though he earned a substantial income throughout his life, he struggled financially.
Kiyosaki's rich dad, who was actually the father of his childhood friend Mike, never finished eighth grade, yet was one of the richest men in Hawaii. When he died, he left millions to his family, his charities, and his church. Kiyosaki's poor dad, on the other hand, left only bills to be paid. Kiyosaki explains the differences between his two dads very simply: One understood financial literacy and the other did not.
Kiyosaki is realistic in telling his childhood story in an easy-to-read style-how he learned from his rich dad to be self-sufficient and how he came to re alize the flawed financial logic of his poor dad. He loved them both; but he decided, as a young man, that the lessons of Mike's dad were the right way to proceed in life, and at age 47 Kiyosaki retired a wealthy businessman.
At first, 1 thought this book was just another "get-rich-quick" scheme. The more I read, however, the more I realized that Rich Dad, Poor Dad offers pure common sense. The author admits that financial wisdom takes time to develop. Kiyosaki wrote that wealth is like "... planting a tree. You water it for years and then one day it doesn't need you anymore. Its roots have gone down deep enough. Then, the tree provides shade for your enjoyment."
Kiyosaki acknowledges a fundamental problem with the general lack of effective financial education in today's schools, which are based on an archaic dogma. The teachers at his public school emphasized good grades as precursors to success in the real world, yet he knew his rich dad succeeded with a limited education. He and Mike realized early how traditional schooling discouraged creativity--they were taught to follow set procedures and not to deviate from the rules.
Kiyosaki elaborated, "We started to understand why our rich dad told us that schools were designed to produce good employees instead of employers."
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is filled with illuminating ideas that oppose conventional wisdom. In fact, the book's subtitle suggests that it stresses what the rich teach their kids about money that the poor and the middle class do not.
Perhaps rich people do think differently. One eye-opening example is how the rich focus on their assets, while everyone else focuses on their income. For the majority of Americans, their salary or pay is the complete extent of their income, and it grows slowly over time. But for rich people, assets produce income and produce it exponentially. Kiyosaki seeks to emphasize that to be wealthy, one must move away from income and move toward owning assets.
More times than not, the poor and the middle class buy what he calls "doodads"--things that take up space, depreciate in value, and do not contribute to earning money. He points out that "rich people buy luxuries last, while the poor and middle class tend to buy luxuries first." The rich wait until their assets produce enough income; then they buy luxury items as a reward.
Other people buy luxury items like a large house, an SUV, a boat, golf clubs, or jewelry because they want to look rich. These purchases are often made on credit. Later, the person comes to resent the luxury item because the debt becomes a financial burden.
Kiyosaki also explains that someone's home is not an asset, even though we are taught that it is. How many times have you heard people say their house is the greatest asset they own, or the best investment they've made? In the world of accounting, a house may very wall be defined as an asset as is other real property; but, in truth, a house is a liability. A house creates expenses such as a mortgage, insurance, maintenance costs, utilities, and property taxes. These all drain away a person's income.
While the author doesn't go so far as to advise people against buying a house, he stresses that buying a bigger house will just lead to bigger expenses. The mentality of the rich is to take the extra money needed to buy a bigger house and invest it in income-producing assets, such as stocks, bonds, or real estate. When these assets generate extra income, the owners then feel comfortable in buying a bigger house. As a fundamental basis for achieving financial literacy, Kiyosaki wants people to understand the difference between an asset and a liability.
Robert Kiyosaki made his millions primary through investing in real estate, micro-cap stocks, and international imports. This book is not about following his road to financial wealth. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is about understanding why most people get caught up in the rat race and never get ahead, while others become wealthy fairly easily and quickly. The secret is in becoming financially literate.
Financial literacy is not taught in schools and must be learned on one's own. It isn't hard to do, but it does require certain skills such as the ability to read financial statements and to understand investment strategies, the market forces of supply and demand, certain accounting and corporate rules, and state and national laws--and most importantly, it takes a willingness or desire to learn these things.
If these subjects are new to you, I recommend that you read this book as a starting point. And, if you would like your child to become financially independent, teach him or her these lessons.
You'll never regret it.
Keith Hicks is a fin an cial manager in the Air Force Budget Office, Pentagon, and a member of the ASMC Washington Chapter.
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|Publication:||Armed Forces Comptroller|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|
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