I speak all over the world, and yet, it seems I run into the same fears and problems no matter what part of the world I'm in. Some of the most common questions I'm asked are how to prepare to be in a financial position to send kids to college, take care of parents who are ailing, or set up a spouse to be financially secure should a tragedy happen. The common theme among all these questions is, of course, family.
Though the questions are sometimes misguided, I'm always touched by the fact that people's greatest fears are found not in how they'll take care of themselves but rather take care of others, their loved ones. Of course, if you're taking care of your family, you'll naturally be taking care of yourself—so, maybe it's not such a surprise.
Every week in this blog, I follow the financial news and give my perspective on what's going on in our economy. Generally, as of late, it's been bad news. This week, I'm taking a break. After all, it's the holidays. Over the course of the next year, there'll be plenty of time to point out the financial folly that seems to pile up deeper than the holiday snow.
At this point, you've probably done your shopping. Maybe you've spent hundreds of dollars on toys and gadgets—some of you have spent thousands. I sincerely hope you haven't spent too much on items that will probably be forgotten a year from now while it may have put yourself in a bad financial position.
I remember my first holidays with my wife, Kim. We were poor and didn't have much, but we found a way to make it work. I always liked to buy Kim nice things, but I refused to spend money if I didn't have an idea where it was coming from. We worked hard to pay ourselves first by setting aside money for investing and for increasing our financial education before we spent it on gifts for each other. That was more important than nice gifts. We knew financial discipline then would create financial freedom later.
As I became more financially free, the gifts became nicer and easier to buy. Today, I can spoil my wife with lavish gifts because I know that my investments allow it—and thankfully, she can spoil me too. It's a nice place to be in, but it wasn't an overnight process, it took years of financial discipline. At the end of the day, what I enjoy most is giving good things to my wife because I know it makes her happy. For me, the richest gift is seeing my wife filled with joy.
As the Holidays fast approach, we would do well to remember what our richest gifts are—our families and our friends. For years, I've dedicated my life to building The Rich Dad Company to provide the highest level of financial education available. Our mission is to equip you with the knowledge needed to be financially free. After all, knowledge is the new money.
However, it would be misguided to say that Rich Dad is just about money. Money is important, no doubt about it. And a big part of our message is getting smarter with your money. But at the end of the day, Rich Dad is about freedom and security—things that money brings. Our belief is that financial education creates a world that is freer and more secure. It is a world where you can enjoy your family because you have more time and you can rest easier at night because you know you've invested well and set your family up for financial security.
This holiday season, as the presents are opened and the tables are set, take the time to really enjoy the loved ones in your life—your richest gifts. And take a moment to assess whether you've set them, and yourself, up for financial freedom. The best gift you can give your family is a sound financial education and a bright financial future. Those gifts will last a lifetime.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Rich Dad.