rich dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad – by Robert Kiyosaki

I thought I wouldn’t take much away from this book as I was told the concepts are fairly basic.  However, I figured that since it was a gift from a good friend and I have the time I should read it.  I have to admit, I learned more than anticipated and enjoyed certain aspects of the author’s writing style.  He can be a bit coy at times, overly playing off the idea that the advice he is sharing is that from one of his two dad’s.  I find it hard to believe that the nine year old Robert Kiyosaki was taking in financial insights like this at such a young age.  It’s an intriguing perspective that it may be easier to take advice from someone who is passing it on instead of preaching to you from their own experience.  Maybe that’s a large component to his literary success – not only the message but the delivery.  With that cleared out of the way, it felt odd to be reading a finance book after spending much time reading about Stoicism, which speaks heavily on the perils of greed and desire.

People may read books like this because, well, they want more money.  Many troubles in life begin due to money and desire and it caught me off guard when in the beginning of the story Kiyosaki gets into a discussion on that.  People seek money not only for the necessities (food, shelter, clothing, etc) but for the joy we think it can buy us.  Then they ‘need’ more joy, more pleasure, more comforts.  There’s a trap caused by fear and desire and those emotions can begin to control people’s thinking.  Now that the author is willing to touch on Stoicism, even if he did so unintentionally, I’m on board to see where the book goes.

For those who haven’t read Rich Dad Poor Dad the idea is fairly straight forward.  The book can be summed up in a couple sentences.  Most people spend their money on things, which are liabilities in so much as they aren’t assets.  The overarching idea is to convert your earned income into either passive income or portfolio income.  The challenge lies in having the discipline to put into action the ideas he writes about.  What I find fascinating about this is the tie in to the above discussion.  Someone could state that anyone who wants to read a book like this is greedy – all they want is more money.  Stoic philosopher Epictetus would say that instead of working hard to be wealthy you should train yourself to be satisfied with what you have.  Ironically, to achieve the goal of the book you end up having to curtail your current desires in the name of delayed gratification.  You can’t purchase that shiny new toy today because you’re going to do something with those funds that will pay off in 15-20 years.  This also helps with the fear aspect of fear and desire – you’re setting up yourself and your family for a more financially secure future.

Everyone I’m here with faced challenges with desire.  Whether it was for drugs, money or both.  I can find solace in the idea that to achieve wealth you actually have to give up on the want of something in the present so you’ll hopefully achieve it in the future.  By then you’ve learned to live a humble enough lifestyle that you don’t feel a need for all the things your new found passive and portfolio income sources could buy.  As Seneca put it, the man who adapts himself to slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum is truly a rich man.  In my view, the end goal of all Kiyosaki’s advice is to have a financial security net combined with enough flexibility in the work you pursue so you can do what’s truly priceless – spend more time with the people you love.

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