The Real-World Report Card (That You Need)
There are many different ways you can become rich. You might hope to win the lottery. You might hope that you can save your way to wealth, or even marrying a wealthy person. But with any method of attaining great wealth there is a price to pay—and it’s not always measured in money.
In the U.S. there is a weekly lottery called Powerball. Millions of people purchase a lottery ticket with the hopes of becoming rich. These tickets cost $2 each. You have better luck getting struck by lightning in Fenway Park than winning the jackpot. The vast majority will never become rich. But hey, you only spent $2.
There are better ways to become rich, with much better odds, but most people are not willing to pay the price. In fact, there are some ways of becoming rich in which the odds are in the person’s favor, almost guaranteeing that a person will become rich, but again the problem is that most people are not willing to pay the price.
In my experience, many people are looking for the answers that will make their lives better in some way. The problem is that, when they find the answer, they don’t like it. It’s the same as anything you have to work for. When I say I want to improve my physique, I get an answer I don’t like: “Stop stuffing your face with pizza, and start pumping iron for three hours day.” In other words, until I like the answer I’m getting, I don’t have a prayer of developing the body of a world-class athlete.
The reason most people will never become rich is simply because they don’t like the answers they are getting. And in my opinion, it’s more than just the answer they don’t like. It is the price attached to the answer that really puts people off.
As rich dad said, “Most people want to get rich. They just don’t want pay the price.”
And what is the price? Time, effort, and a bit of courage.
What Is the Price of Being Cheap?
As I’ve written before, many so-called experts say the path to wealth requires you to cut up your credit cards, save money, contribute the max amount to your retirement plan, drive a used car, live in a small house, and don’t take vacations.
Then you’ll be safe in your “wealth.” But what is wealth if not true comfort? Total freedom to do what you like with your money.
Don’t get me wrong, living below your means is an excellent idea for many people. The people who are financially uneducated.
But who wants to live this way?
My rich dad never said, “Cut up your credit cards.” He never said, “Live below your means.” He did say, “it makes no sense to live cheap and die rich. Why would anyone want to live cheap, die rich, and then have the kids spends your life’s savings after the funeral?”
Instead of telling me to scrimp and save, he said, “If you want something, find out the price. Then pay that price. But always remember, everything has a price. And the price for becoming rich by being cheap is that you’re still cheap.”
What Is the Price of Education?
I don’t talk very highly of education in the U.S. In fact, I think school does the opposite of what people think it does.
I am occasionally asked, “Are you saying that a person does not need to go to school?”
My answer is no, I am not saying that. Education is more important today than ever before. What I am saying is that the educational system is behind the times. It is an Industrial-Age system that is trying to cope with the Information Age.
My parents grew up during the Great Depression. Living through this time period, it affected their mental and emotional outlook. They saved money in their mattresses. They lived a life of scarcity. They encouraged us kids to get a safe, secure job because they knew what it was like to live without when the economy tanked.
Have we learned anything from history?
Millennials were just turning eighteen during the crash of 2007, they had a front row seat to the Great Recession. In a lot of ways, like my parents, they saw the importance of financially preparing for the future, unfortunately by living below their means.
In a 2018 survey by Bank of America, it found that 1 in 6 millennials between the age 23-37 have more than $100,000 in savings accounts, IRA’s, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts.
They too suffer from a scarcity mindset. Two-thirds of affluent millennials say they plan to retire on their savings accounts.
Millennial parents have taught their kids to be poor. For those of my parents’ generation, if you followed the old rules of money, you could be comfortable. I’m afraid that millennials will not have that same opportunity to live comfortably. What people do not seem to understand is that saved money loses value with every passing day. And that’s been the case since we came off the gold standard in 1971.
If you want to be rich, and you want your money to keep its value, you have to keep it moving!
What Kind of Education Do You Need?
Even though I don’t think highly of school as we know it today, doesn’t mean there aren’t important lessons that you learn in school. There are three vital types of education:
- Academic: The education that teaches you how to read, write, and do arithmetic.
- Professional: The education that teaches you the skills to work for money, such as learning to be a doctor, lawyer, plumber, secretary, electrician, or teacher.
- Financial: The education that teaches you to have money work for you.
Whether you do well in school or not, or whether you go on to become a doctor or a janitor, we all need basic financial education.
Why? Because regardless of what we do or who we become, we all handle money.
I have often wondered why we do not teach much about money in school. I have often wondered why the system focuses so much on grades and report cards when, in the real world, my banker has never asked me to submit my GPA to take out a loan.
Good Grades Don’t Matter in the Real World…
I wasn’t good at school when I was young. I knew it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like the way they taught us… I have always known I learn better by doing, but in school they made you learn by reading.
Rich dad said to me, “In school, students are given report cards once a quarter. If a child is in trouble, the child at least has time to make the proper corrections if he or she wants to.
“In real life, many adults never receive a financial report card until it’s too late.”
(Your financial report card? A financial statement. If you don’t have one, you need one.)
“Because many adults do not have a quarterly financial report card, many adults fail to make the financial corrections necessary to lead a financially secure life.
“They may have a high-paying job, a big home, a nice car, and they may be doing well at work, yet they are failing financially at home. They may be too old or out of time when they finally realize they have failed financially. That is the price of not having a financial report card at least once a quarter.”
The one thing to always remember, is your banker will never ask for your report card. But they’ll ask for your financial statement.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily