Save Your Retirement in 3 Steps
I recently read an article about Andrew Pillow, a teacher at a charter school in Indianapolis, IN who is questioning his career decision at the age of 29.
He would tell his students, “Go to college, you’ll be able to afford all this stuff.” And in the article he’s quoted saying, “‘I feel like I’m lying to them.’ Pillow said. ‘This stuff’ included buying a house and having kids. He wondered how he will ever get ahead.”
A reality of his teaching job was that it took him eight years to earn more than the manager at a fast food place that he passed on his way to work.
An article published by the New York Times in September revealed the financial struggles facing many teachers across the United States. The article featured several teachers who took on various second jobs just to pay the bills. From window washing, retail, casino dealer, and a loader at an Amazon warehouse.
One teacher said, “I don’t feel like I can be the best teacher, and I feel like a horrible mother. My children are sobbing at the door when I leave. It’s hard to explain to them that mommy has to go to work so that we can have electricity.”
Across the U.S., teachers are facing major financial challenges, mostly due to ever-rising costs of living, stalled salaries, and crimped pensions.
But sadly, education is really about money, power, and misinformation.
A College Degree Does Not Equal Wealth
The conventional wisdom is that if you go to school and get good grades, you’ll be successful. In reality, the only success doing well in school guarantees is… success in school.
Many valedictorians have learned the hard way that success in school does not mean success in the real world of business and investing. The real world is a whole new game—an exciting, fast-paced game where different rules apply.
School does not prepare you for work in the real world. As many of us reading know.
Those who have read my other books already know that I had two father figures in my life. The man I call my rich dad was my best friend Mike’s dad. The man I call my poor dad was my real dad.
I still believe my dad was an academic genius.
He was a voracious reader, a great writer, a brilliant speaker, and an excellent teacher.
He was a top student all through school and served as a class officer. He graduated from the University of Hawaii way ahead of the rest of his class and went on to become one of the youngest school principals in Hawaii’s history. He was invited to do graduate work at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. In the late 1980s, he was selected by his peers as one of the top two educators in Hawaii’s 150-year history of public education and awarded an honorary doctorate degree.
Even with all of his academic success? He was poor.
Poor and broke do not mean the same thing. Kim and I were broke for a time in our life—we were even homeless at one point. I’ve had a lot of friends growing up who were both poor and broke. And even though the two both involve a lack of money, being broke is only temporary—poor is a mindset.
You can easily spot those with a poor mindset when they say, “I can’t afford that” with any level of frequency.
My rich dad was a dropout. He had to leave school to help run his family business. While he didn’t get a degree, he did get an education—running a business in the real world.
Using his education in the real world, my rich dad built a huge real estate empire and hired many “A” students to run his company. He did not need to be a valedictorian to be successful in the real world.
When you are faced with circumstances that are outside your control, you can still control how you respond to a situation.
The teachers I mentioned earlier are in tough situations, financially speaking.
They are angry, frustrated, and bitter. I can understand that. After all, they are at the mercy of a bunch of bureaucracy. It’s how they respond to the situation that will determine if these teachers bounce back or stay trapped by their financial education.
Here Are the 3 Things Teachers, and Everyone Else, Can Do…
The message is simple: Success in the classroom does not ensure success in the real world. The future belongs to those who can embrace change, see the changing climate of everything and anticipate its needs, and respond to new opportunities and challenges with creativity and agility and passion.
#1: Invest in Financial Education
Take charge of your financial future. Don’t rely on or expect someone to do it for you. Examine your schedule and ruthlessly cut out activities that suck up your time but provide little value. Then, fill that time with a prescribed course of financial study.
If you neglect your financial education, your options are limited to investments where you have little control and could be left in the cold, and your retirement years won’t be any better.
#2: Stop Saving for Retirement
And start saving for investments. With your newfound financial knowledge, don’t just sit on your savings. Put it to work in investments. And don’t think that means just the stock market. Look into all four asset classes: real estate, commodities, paper, and business.
Start small, learn, and build from there. Treat it like a real-life game.
Wise investors save for the short term, then use that money to buy investments that bring in regular cash flow.
The beauty of cash flow is that 1) it keeps coming in continually (assuming the asset is managed well) so you don’t have to worry about it running out, and 2) you can raise prices (like the rent on your real estate or the price of your business’s products), which means your cash flow income keeps pace with inflation.
#3: Learn to Delay Your Gratification
Once you start seeing some success investing, it will be tempting to “treat yourself.” Don’t. At least not yet.
Rather, use your earnings to invest more. Once you master investing, then use you cash flow to cover your liability purchases like cars, vacations, and more. But only once you’ve replaced your salary with investment income. Until then, delay your gratification.
Play it smart,
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily
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