Rich Dad Poor Dad is the story of Robert Kiyosaki, the author, growing up with two father figures. One his biological father; the other that of his childhood friend. While both hard-working men, his two dads had drastically different perspectives on money.
To Kiyosaki’s biological father (poor dad), “the the love of money is the root of all evil.”
To his rich dad, “the lack of money is the root of all evil.”
Poor dad struggled to make ends meet—despite a high salary! Rich dad didn’t make it through high school, yet was able to pass millions down to his children…
Staring at two opposite ends of the spectrum, Kiyosaki, at a young age, decided not to choose sides. Instead, he embarked to learn everything he could from both dads’ perspectives.
The Rat Race
Growing up, Kiyosaki saw his biological father trapped in what he later termed “the rat race.” To explain this concept, Kiyosaki uses a young couple just starting their careers. I’ve taken a bit of liberty with the paraphrase, but here’s the gist:
As the couple begins their careers, they do not make very much money. So, they rent a small one bedroom apartment and own a single used car. What car, you ask? Let’s go with… a 2004 Toyota Corolla.
Checking in a few years later, both partners have received promotions. With the extra dough, they upgrade to a two bedroom apartment and buy a brand-new car. This time, it’s a 3-Series BMW. Damn!
When they receive their next promotions, they buy a house that’s just on the outer edge of their price-range. And naturally, they fill it with new furniture and matching appliances (Jack always had a thing for interior design).
Without really thinking, this couple has racked up credit card debt and taken on a mortgage they can barely afford. Later, a child comes along—a healthy, adorable boy named James—and they have to work even harder to make ends meet.
Kiyosaki’s couple has officially entered the rat race. As their income rises, so do their expenses. Lifestyle creep has ensured that they will be paycheck to paycheck for the foreseeable future. Yikes.
The ideas Kiyosaki brings forth in Rich Dad Poor Dad are rooted in how to avoid becoming an unwitting participant in this unwinnable game—the rat race.
Assets & Liabilities
The key to understanding much of Kiyosaki’s success is through his definition of assets & liabilities. Away with what you may have learned in accounting class! Kiyosaki rewrites the definitions as follows:
An asset is something that puts money in your pocket.
A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket.
That’s it! But what’s the significance? Take a house, for example. Most homeowners consider it to be their greatest asset.
But does that meet Kiyosaki’s definition? Even if a house is fully paid off, homeowners still pay annual property taxes and continuously funnel money into utilities, maintenance expenses, and repairs. According to Kiyosaki, that places a primary home firmly in the liability bucket.
An asset, in this sense, is more akin to a rental property—or an index fund. These are things that put money in your pocket. Focusing on obtaining assets before liabilities; that’s Kiyosaki’s secret to success.
From start to finish, Rich Dad Poor Dad is, surprisingly, a page-turner. Kiyosaki weaves topics—that are normally less than interesting—seamlessly into his childhood story of growing up with two father figures.
If there are two types of people out there—those that are content working for others and those that want others to work for them—Rich Dad Poor Dad is definitely geared towards the latter. Not all sections of the book—like the tax-advantages of starting your own C-corporation—are universal. But in my opinion, there are nuggets of information and advice in this book that are for everyone.
Hearing Kiyosaki explain the rat race and what steps we all can take to avoid it is invaluable. These ideas are powerful, resonant, and hold true over time. For this reason, Rich Dad Poor Dad gets a… wait for it… resounding 8/10 from Mr. Flash!
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