Monday, January 11, 2010

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I spent my few last weeks, starting from the Hajj Break, reading some very interesting books that are yet difficult to summarize or share in my blog, which explains the long pause between my last post and this one. I here intend to overlook the unreasonable load of work I had to do at the mean time. Unlike the other books, Rich Dad, Poor Dad is very shareable with some (summarizable) ideas that would flow like one piece of writing if they were cut and put together.

In this book, Robert Kiyosaki helps one redefine people's relationship with work, education, money and even family and friends. It is not one of the best books I have ever read, but it surely is one of the most worth reading. It challenges one's financial perceptions as it explains why and how things are being run in our fast-paced present world. The book is based on the author's personal upbringing by his two dads: the rich dad and the poor dad; and how he, at a very young age, had to weigh the opposite options offered by his two different models in life.

The book, though a best-selling, was received with harsh public scrutiny when it first appeared in 2000 because it denounces the major values of parenting and education that are passed through generations. These values are passed, as Kiyosaki assumes, without undergoing the necessary alterations to make them fit in our continuously changing world. The book presents different interesting accounts of the author's life, some very worth considering observations, and some hard-to-apply suggestions. Kiyosaki writes in an easy one-to-one style with lots of interesting examples and funny stories.

Accordingly, I thought that sharing the parts I highlighted in my hard copy might give you a little insight to the writer's message to people with demanding jobs and insufficient income.

Here you go…


"Study hard and get good grades and you will find a high-paying job with great benefits," my parents' advice may have worked for people born before 1945, but it may be disastrous for those of us born into a rapidly changing world. The world around us has changed, but the advice hasn't. When we parents advise our children to "go to school, study hard and get a job," we often do that out of cultural habit. It has always been the right thing to do. The world has changed, but education has not changed with it. Children spend years in an antiquated educational system, studying subjects they will never use, preparing for a world that no longer exists.

If you look at the life of the average-educated, hard working person, there is a similar path. The child is born and goes to school, gets fair to good grades, and is accepted into college. The child graduates, and may be go to graduate school and then does exactly as programmed: look for a safe, secure job or career. The child finds that job. Generally, the child begins to make money, credit cards start to arrive in mass, and the shopping begins, if it already hasn’t. The bundles of bills arrive. The demand of cash is enormous. The happy couple decides that their careers are vitally important and begin to work harder, part time, seeking promotions and raises. The raises come, and so does another child. May be they take a second job. Their incomes go up, but so does the tax bracket. The happy couple, born 35 years ago, is now trapped in the Rat Race for the rest of their working days. They work for the owners of their company, for the government paying taxes, and for the bank paying off a mortgage and credit cards.

One of the reasons the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer, and the middle class struggles in debt is because the subject of money is taught at home, not at school. The child may graduate with excellent grades but with his parents' financial programming and mind-set.

I had two fathers, a rich one and a poor one. One had a Ph.D. and the other never finished the eighth grade. One struggled financially in his life. The other would become one of the richest men in Hawaii. One died leaving tens of millions of dollars to his family, charities and his church. The other left bills to be paid. One would say, "The love of money is the root of all evil." The other would say, "The lack of money is the root of all evil." One had the habit of saying "I can't afford it." The other insisted I say, "How can I afford it?" One dad says, "The reason I am not rich is because I have you kids." The other dad says, "The reason I must become rich is because I have you kids." One dad struggles to save a few dollars. The other simply created investments.

One dad believed in a company or the government taking care of you and your needs. He was always concerned about pay raises, retirement plans, medical benefits, sick leave, vacation days and other perks. The other believed in total financial self-reliance. He spoke against the "entitlement" mentality and how it was creating weak and financially needy people. One dad taught me how to write an impressive resume so I could find a good job. The other taught me how to write strong business and financial plans so I could create jobs.

Although both men have tremendous respect for education and learning, one wanted me to study hard, earn a degree and get a job, the other encouraged me to study to be rich, to understand how money works and understand how to make it work for me. "I do not work for money," were the words he would repeat over and over, "Money works for me".

If you learn life's lessons, you will do well. If not, life will just continue to push you around. If you learn life's lessons, you will grow into a wise, wealthy happy young man. If you don't, you will spend your life blaming a job, low pay or your boss for your problems. If you are the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you, you will live your life playing it safe, doing the right things, and saving money for some event that never happens. You will have lots of friends who really like you because you were such a nice hard-working guy. But the truth is, you let life push you into submission. Deep down you were terrified of taking risks. You really wanted to win, but the fear of losing was greater than the excitement of winning.

If you think your job or your boss are the problem, then you have to change your boss or your job. If you realize that you are the problem, then you can change yourself. Most people want everyone else in the world to change but themselves. Let me tell you, it's easier to change yourself than everyone else.

It is FEAR that keeps most people working for a job, the fear of not paying their bills. The fear of being fired, of not having enough money, of starting over. Most people become a slave to money. A job can be a short-term solution for a long-term problem.

Most people have a price, and they have it because of human emotions named fear and greed. First, the fear of being without money motivates us to work hard, and then once we get that paycheck, greed starts us thinking about all the wonderful things money can buy. The pattern is set. Their lives are then run forever by two emotions: fear and greed. They feel the fear, they go to work, hoping that money will sooth the fear, but it doesn't. The old fear haunts them, and they go back to work, hoping again that money will calm their fears, and again it doesn't. For millions of people, that old fear keeps them awake all night, causing turmoil and worry. They do not want to lose the big houses, the cars, and the high life that money has bought them. They worry about what their friends would say if they lost all their money.

They desire money for the joy they think it can buy, but this joy is short-lived, and they soon need more money for more joy, more pleasure, and more security. So they keep working, thinking money will soothe their souls, but money cannot do that.

What intensifies fear and greed is ignorance. That is why rich people often have more fear the richer they get. For example, a doctor, wanting more money to better provide for his family, raises his fees. By raising his fees, it makes health care more expensive for everyone. So, the poor people have worse health than those with money. Because the doctors raise their rates, the attorneys raise theirs, and so do the schoolteachers. Soon, there will be such a horrifying gap between the haves and the have nots because we do not learn from history. We only memorize the historical date and names, but not the lessons.

If you are going to build an Empire State, the first thing you need to do is dig a deep hole and pour a strong foundation. If you are going to build a home in the superb, all you need to do is pour a 6-inch slab of concrete. Most people, in their drive to get rich, are trying to build an Empire State Building on a 6-inch slab.

In 1995, I granted an interview with a newspaper in Singapore. The young female reporter was on time, and the interview got under way immediately.

"Someday, I would like to be a best-selling author like you," she said.

"You have a good style," I said in reply. "What holds you back from achieving your dream?"

"My work does not seem to go anywhere," she said quietly. "Everyone says that my novels are excellent, but nothing happens. So I keep my job with the paper. At least it pays my bills. Do you have any suggestions?"

"Yes, I do" I said brightly. "A friend of mine here in Singapore runs a school that trains people to sell. I think attending one of his courses would greatly enhance your career"

"You are not serious, are you? I have a master's degree in English Literature. Why would I go to school to learn to be a salesperson? I am a professional." She was now packing her briefcase forcibly. The interview was over.

On the coffee table sat a copy of an earlier best-selling book I wrote. I picked it up. "Do you see this?" I said pointing to her notes.

She looked at her notes. "What?" She said, confused.

Again, I pointed deliberately to her notes. On her pad she has written "Robert Kiyosaki, best-selling author."

"It says 'best-selling' author, not 'best-writing' author"

When I ask the classes I teach, "How many of you can cook a better hamburger than McDonald's?" almost all the students raise their hands. I then ask, "So if most of you can cook a better hamburger, how come McDonald's makes more money than you?"

The answer is obvious: "McDonald's is excellent at business systems. The reason so many talented people are poor is because they focus on building a better hamburger and know little to nothing about how to sell it.

1 comment:

Love SMS said...

While there are things that are somewhat not relevant in this book and the book may look a out of context work with no absolute know how about investments.

But, I learnt more about investing from this book than I did from my whole school years.

Expect this book to be a opening gate towards your financial sustainability.