Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki shares with SkyQuestCom how being fully educated about money matters can lead to financial freedom.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
SQC: SkyQuestCom RK: Robert Kiyosaki
SQC: It is my honour and privilege today to introduce our guest, Mr. Robert Kiyosaki, who is a millionaire, investor, entrepreneur and author. He is the bestselling author of the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which struck a chord with readers, selling millions of copies and topping the New York Times Bestseller’s list.
Robert retired as a multi-millionaire at a very early age and travels the world as a motivational speaker teaching people to become millionaires. According to Robert, the main reason people suffer financially is because people work hard for money instead of making money work for them. So let’s get some insights from the man himself on how to improve financial literacy. Thank you Mr. Kiyosaki for joining us today.
RK: (Robert smiles) Thank you!
SQC: First of all, could you tell us what your definition of wealth is and is it possible for anybody in the world to attain financial mastery?
RK: Well, that’s a very, very big question. Wealth is many, many things to many people but I think wealth is primarily what you know. The definition of wealth I subscribe to, financially, is that, wealth is the number of days you can survive without working while also maintaining your lifestyle.
For example, let’s say, it costs you 3000 dollars a month to live as your lifestyle and you have $12000 in the bank. That means your wealth is measured in days or in this case, 4 months. You know, (Robert pauses) 3 into 12000 means you can survive 3 months. (Robert pauses) 3 into 12 is 4 months, you can survive 4 months.
So what I mean by “wealthy” is that my wife and I, we have more than enough money coming in without working from our assets, from our properties, from our stocks, from our businesses so that we never have to work again for the rest of our lives. So that’s what wealth means. Wealth means simply the number of days you can survive without working while maintaining your lifestyle.
SQC: How can one develop financial literacy?
RK: I’ve always wondered why the school system doesn’t teach people about money, I mean, too many school teachers like my poor dad treat money as an evil subject. Whether we’re rich or poor, we all use money, whether we’re the government or business, we use money. Whether we’re employer or employee, we all use money.
They don’t teach us about money because too many people think it’s dirty. When I read my financial statement, it tells me the story of somebody’s life. Are they going to be rich or poor? A quick check on reading the financial statement will tell whether they’re going to be rich or poor that quickly because it tells a story.
The second thing about financial literacy are words. In my new book, where I talked about how my bankers asked me for my report card. The bank wants to see my financial statements. So the thing I learned earlier on is my poor dad has a vocabulary of a school teacher, he spoke words of a school teacher, whereas my rich dad spoke the words of a capitalist.
So if you want to be wealthy, you know you must know the words that the rich use. So what I’m saying is basically how to read and how to understand the vocabulary of becoming rich.
SQC: Having written so many books and done so much research, can you summarise your best strategies for helping an ordinary person on the street to achieve financial independence?
RK: A poor person starts with poor thinking. They say, “I can’t do that, I’m not interested in money, I’ll never be rich.” The worst thing a poor person says is, “I can’t afford it.” If you say “I can’t afford it”, you become poor. You become your thoughts and your actions. If you say, “I can’t do that”, you become poor, because you have a loser’s sense of mentality.
So words again are probably the most important thing you need to be in constant check of yourself. You know, don’t say “I can’t afford it”, rather, say “you can’t do something”. That’s where it all begins and then begin to learn the vocabulary of what the rich know. Words have the power to make you rich or poor.
SQC: Can you explain what the rich dad’s “cash flow quadrant” is?
RK: The quadrant was my rich dad’s way of explaining to me the four different types of people that make up the world of business. They are “E”, “S”, “B” and “I”. “E” stands for Employee. “S” stands for Self- employed or Small business. “B” stands for Big Business and “I” stands for Investors.
So guys like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, they would be “Bs”. The guy who owns the local chicken shop on the street is an “S” – small business owner. The difference between a small business owner and a big business owner is this; when the small business owner, like a doctor or attorney or retailer, stops working, their income stops also.
The big business owner; their income just keeps increasing whether they work or not. Employees are people who look for jobs. They are always looking out there for safe and secure jobs that pay better. They want security. A self-employed person’s theme song is, nobody is ever better or if you want a better life, you live by yourself.
That’s why their way is to stay by themselves. The “E” and “S” are completely different people. A business owner, a big business owner, is different from the small business owner. An investor is purely looking for a very low risk, high yield returns and with as much safety as possible. So there are four different people.
If you want to be successful in the world today you need to be more that just one. In other words if you want to be an employee, it might also be good that you become an investor also. Because there’s a shift of core values. Many times, an employee who wants security is looking for safe investments and that’s why they make the worst investments.
SQC: If one were to start out in financial investments, what advice would you give to somebody who is new in the game?
RK: If you want to understand financial investments, it’s many. Number one is to start small and don’t worry about the money. Worry about your education.
In other words, one guy whom I met at the airport in Auckland, New Zealand the other day said he’s bought six houses. I said, “What have you learned?” He said, “What I’ve learned is it gets easier and easier. So the first one was hard, the next one was easier, by the fifth one, it was easier.” So what increases is actually your knowledge more than your money.
If you haven’t made a penny yet, of course it’s not going to be easy. That’s one of the most important things about starting.
The second most important thing is an exit strategy. Every “I” from the “I” quadrant, cash flow quadrant, has an asset. So if I’m going into a deal, I want to know if it goes bad, how do I exit? If it goes well, how do I exit?
The average investors just go in and I call it “buy, hold and pray”. Let’s say they buy a stock, say for 10 dollars, goes to 50, it crashes down to 20, then they hold it and they just pray until goes back up again. That’s not too intelligent.
SQC: Let’s move from the first-time investors to the really astute and sophisticated investors. Are there any special investment strategies that the rich apply that differs from ordinary people on the street? ”
RK: Yes, many differences. Like I was saying when I was at the National Achievers’ Congress (NAC) conference just recently, that the average middle class person thinks it takes money to make money, and thinks investing is risky. That reality is what keeps them stuck.
If you want to shift the reality to a whole new concept, you will find out that it takes no money to make money and there is no risk in investing. Once you can shift that reality, bam (Robert snaps fingers)! What I tell people is this, “If you knew you couldn’t lose and if you knew it took no money, what would you do, I mean how wealthy could you become?”
Well, until a person is willing to pay the price which is you know, go through the trial and errors to learn, to shift their dimensions thoughts or shift their reality, they say, “working at a job” or “looking for job security”, “trying to save money”, “pay up the bills”, stuff like that. It’s very hard to flourish financially.
You may lead a good life and all that but I’d rather have financial freedom. And as financial freedom goes, I don’t have to take any risks and I can make as much money as I like and it doesn’t take money to make any money. Different reality. But there’s a price I pay to being in that reality.
SQC: Thank you very much Mr. Kiyosaki for your time. We appreciate you coming by and sharing that with us.