“The financially intelligent have more options, because they are creatively looking for ways to play their current hand as aggressively and successfully as possible rather than sitting on the sideline complaining about the hand they’ve been dealt,” says author Robert Kiyosaki in the summary of his international best-selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.
In his books, including his latest, Second Chance — for Your Money, Your Life and Our World, Kiyosaki’s messages are loud and clear. One of these messages is a simple concept that’s difficult to actually put into practice: Substantial wealth is not gained through employment, but by making your assets work for you.
Another message in his books is the importance of financial education. If you take the time to learn about finance — including how to read income statements, reading financial formulas, how to determine how well a company is performing, and how emotions impact money and investment decisions — you will be able to grasp the concept of long-term, sustainable wealth.
We wanted to know more about this idea. So, we went straight to Kiyosaki and asked him a few questions. Here’s what we found out:
Cheat Sheet: At what income level can a person begin to have their income work for them? Or, can this be achieved at any income level?
Robert Kiyosaki: It’s more about mindset than income level. A 10-year-old can ask mom or dad to help them buy a silver coin or start a snow-shoveling business in their neighborhood. It’s about thinking entrepreneurially, about working to build assets instead of high income from a paycheck and it’s about investing vs. saving.
CS: Why do you think so many Americans lack the necessary financial education?
RK: Two reasons, in my opinion. One: Financial education isn’t taught in most schools. We’re usually left to our own devices (often trial and error) or what we’re taught by others (often our parents) who, by and large, didn’t have any “financial education” either. The key point here is that times have changed. That’s the second reason. What was good financial advice years ago — like saving money — probably isn’t the best advice today. Financial education helps someone become their OWN best financial advisor… someone who can see trends and opportunities and who is armed with both knowledge and experience to navigate turbulent economic times.
CS: What is your advice for those who want to learn more about investing, but don’t know where to begin?
RK: Start small. Read and listen and learn. Commit to learning a new “financial” vocabulary word every day. Read news stories about the economy and gold and silver and business news. Learn to understand the different asset classes and the advantages (and disadvantages) of each: Businesses, paper assets, real estate, and commodities. There is so much information available — much of it free — that if there is a will to learn, there is a way. I encourage people to play games — like Monopoly or the Cashflow game — because they teach so much about money and investing and understanding the power of debt. There are Cashflow clubs all over the world where people can meet other like-minded people who want to learn about money.
CS: What basic advice do you have for your book’s prospective readers?
RK: Make a commitment to shift your focus from income to assets — which means you can create a future in which your money is working hard for you, versus you working hard for money all your life.