30 August 2010

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I had heard a lot of good things about Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Eric picked it up on audio from the library several weeks ago. He has taken to listening to audio books while he makes his thrice-weekly (or thereabouts) commute to and from Provo. As he listened, he filled me on his own opinion of the book. When he was finished, we had just started our first family reunion in Park City, which meant that now I was doing the commute from Park City to Salt Lake City every day. He suggested I listen to Rich Dad Poor Dad during my daily journeying.

In short, this book just didn't resonate with me. There are a couple of things the author and I can agree on:
  • People just don't know enough about money and how it works.
  • Schools should focus more on teaching financial skills.
  • Many things that people consider assets are actually financial liabilities.
And that's about it.

Kiyosaki seems to think that everybody wants to be uber-rich. In actuality, I think most people just want to be comfortable; of course "comfortable" has different definitions for different people. On the whole, though, I don't think most of us have a life-long desire to be extraordinarily wealthy. Because of his assumption that everybody does want to be that wealthy, his message seems very misdirected.

He talks a lot about getting out of the "rat race" and having your money work for you. Kiyosaki acts as though having a full-time job (of which a reasonable portion of your income goes to taxes) is the worst thing in the world and anyone who is doing that is in the "rat race." While I can certainly agree that your money should be working for you (by investing it wisely and earning interest rather than paying interest), I am not personally willing to take big risks with my money. I am perfectly content putting money into a Roth IRA every year and putting a portion of my earnings into a 401K while also setting aside regular savings into a money market account and CDs at the credit union. Sure it would be nice to have a risky investment go extremely well, but the risk is not worth it to me.

And besides, we can't all get out of the "rat race." Who would keep my water running? Who would manage my apartment building? Who would pick up the garbage? Who would run my bank where my money is kept? Who would invest my retirement savings? Some salaried employee has to be doing these things, and I would appreciate if those people would stay in the "rat race."

Personally, I don't mind the "rat race." I like my job. I'm good at my job. I have very few stressful responsibilities at my job. I have health insurance, 401K, paid time off, maternity leave and job security. If I got out of the "rat race" I might lose a lot of these things, and I like them!

What really irked, me, though, was Kiyosaki's idea of "giving back." First of all, let me say that I have listened to Dave Ramsey's finance show three times. I agree with much what he says, although I find his show beyond irritating. (To me it is the product of sound financial advice mating with shock jock radio, which makes me feel inordinately stupid to listen to. We can thank NPR for making me feel too intellectually superior to listen to any other radio programs in existence.) One of the things I do like about Dave Ramsey, is his emphasis on giving. He promotes the idea that we should be financially stable so that we can take care of ourselves and our families AND give back and use our money to serve others when we have the opportunity to do so. I wholeheartedly approve of this message.

On the other hand, Kiyosaki promotes giving as a means to getting something for yourself. He basically states that whenever you feel like there is something else you want, you should be charitable so that you can in turn have good karma and get the thing you want. It's giving for the entirely wrong reasons, and I wholeheartedly disapprove of this message.


Packrat said...

Thanks for your honest opinion. I doubt I'll bother to read this.

Angela Noelle of SK said...

Did you hear "a lot of [these] good things" from Makereta and Matthew?? /they quoted from it like it was a standard work around me...

...and his family's...ah...how do I say, "being LOADED" (ha) made me want to listen...but I also agree with your points - I am content with an honest living and hard work.

Melanie said...

I'll cross this one off my list (actually, I don't think it was ever on the list). I agree with your opinions about Dave Ramsey. I love his principles, but I find the way he talks in sound bytes an insult to my intelligence. Then again, I have become an east-coast elitist . . .at least according to my Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh-listening mother.

Ana said...

I like work too. Work is good. Not working is boring/insanity - either or...

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Thanks Miss Sherry. Another book I don't have to read . . . . nor want to.