Context - my interest for this book
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a very famous best-seller, ranked as #1 book in personal finances among numerous successful investors and entrepreneurs over the last years (to cite some of them, Ryan Scribner, Jeff Rose, FightMediocrity, …). These entrepreneurs, more specifically, caught my attention recently by their common and very interesting characteristic: they started from nothing, and patiently built highly potential ventures, as opposite to the so famous “started from nothing” I had always heard about before (Steve Jobs with Apple, Larry Page & Sergey Brin with Google, Bill Gates with Microsoft, Richard Branson with Virgin, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel with PayPal - in a nutshell, very sharp minds developing incredibly bold products, and selling them incredibly more boldly to everybody, by the means of high risks and tremendous pressure). No, these “started from nothing” I am talking about are fairly regular working-class people. No gifted IQ required, no exceptional business skills either.
They simply sought for more than taking their share to the Rat Race - working for someone else, to enrich someone else, and running after the paychecks. They quietly built solid products in this very turbulent and unstable web-oriented era we now live in, where social media has become a non negligible business platform, and where nobody can reach everybody with internet.
Intentions of Rich Dad Poor Dad
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a learning book about personal finances. It gives insights and tools on how to build a sustainable business and become financially independent. It also gives a very clear picture of the actual state of mind for professional success. It compares the different schools of thought (hence the title, as you can imagine): those who fit at school, study hard, get good grades, good diplomas, secure jobs, a company car and health insurance - with those more subversive, educating themselves along the powerful structures in our society: the banks, the CEOs and the entrepreneurs. No need of academic degree for that, but rather a sensitivity to how the things actually work today.
The author, Robert T. Kiyosaki, shares his whole journey, from his first lessons at age 8, to his present situation, and gives us his learned lessons along the journey - what makes the difference between the rich and the poor. This video is well-made summary of the book. There are nine Chapters and six Lessons in the book, but I have interpreted and summarized it all as follows
1: The Rich Don’t Work For Money, Mind Your Own Business, and The History of Taxes and the Power of Corporations.
The very first debuts of Robert Kiyosaki as an 8 years old boy in his quest to become rich like the snobbish kids in his neighborhood. He meets the ‘Rich Dad’, which teaches him that most workers (Robert’s “Poor Dad”) work hard for an underpaying job, and put the responsibility on their bosses, or even worse, the government. The rich people have their money working for them, and do not work for the money. They own and create corporations to protect their assets, reinvest them, and make them grow, as opposite to the working class, believing their house on mortgage is an asset (it is actually a liability for all the expenses it generates, as can be seen on the cash flow diagrams in the book), running after their paychecks to pay taxes and their life expenses. They are taxed by the government before being paid, and before paying their expenses (rent, car, life), whereas companies are being taxed by the government after paying their expenses. There lies a huge key to building value and growth with minimal - or at least that-can-be-minimized - contribution taken by the government.
2: Why Teach Financial Literacy ? and The Rich Invent Money
The only way the rich have their money working for them has been reached through financial literacy. Financial literacy is made of four fields that have to be mastered at some degree to create financial security and growing value: Accounting, Investing, Marketing and Law. In addition, Kiyosaki shows and illustrates multiple cash flow examples (income statement + balance sheet), which are very efficient tools to build and manage our fortunes. He explains each of the categories, and why your mortgage is not really an asset.
3: Work to Learn - Don’t Work for Money
My favorite, and certainly most unexpected topic covered in this book: be a jack of all trades; specialization is for insects. Robert Kiyosaki is not as sharp as my last words here, but his point is that academics and the general tendency is to push professionals to specialize in something, along the idea of being able to catalog yourself as something specific. Specializing, however, is actually very limiting; you will mostly be doing the same activity for decades, and not be able to progress and grow professionally as much as the ones who try a little bit of everything, in order to be great leaders. This last lesson resonated a lot with one of my favorite Podcasts of Tim Ferriss (so far): The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades.
Overcoming Obstacles, Getting Started, Some more To Do’s and Final Thoughts
To be honest, Kiyosaki does not have the highest writing skills - relax, he writes it himself, and I respect him a lot for being self-aware and conscious about what he does well and what he does a little bit less. He portrays himself more as a best seller than a best writer, and also discusses his book title choice, carefully thought out to make maximal impact. His goal is to attract as many readers as possible, to spread knowledge and elementary yet essential financial tools to have a healthier relation to money, your money.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is an excellent way to start getting your personal finances in the shape you want them to be. This book is a model for realistic and sustainable discipline, a mirror to your financial situation considerations. It teaches you how to be fully conscious of your financial balance without freaking about it. Because most people have very freaky financial habits, and usually tend to ignore checking or having anything to do with their balance - a little bit as if they were not accountable for it. You see what I mean, don’t you ? Well, Rich Dad Poor Dad makes you deconstruct your finances by priorities, it gives you numerous tools to make the difference between fundamental values and social “good practices” that are perceived as fundamental but really are not. At all. This book has changed my life and personal habits at the core, since the first chapter. It has made me fearless, and even, quite confident, about my earnings management, and a secure future life. Hard work is the key to success, however, poorly targeted and geared, hard work can lead to failure too. I think this is what most people fear about working hard to achieve financial independence. Kiyosaki gives us a lot of directions and goals, a lot of advice - the best one, my favorite of them all, because it is the most challenging one, is to be patient - to avoid a lot of failure cases. And of course, after giving us all of these tools, the only remaining thing to do is to be fearless and start acting. Start creating means and businesses, start creating value and empowering yourself against our complex and cruel financial world. Do not mistake me, it is not a start-up/business venture book; Robert does not care to make you create a multi-million empire. He just wants you to get your balance right, to be financially healthy and a master of your material means.