How to Become a Capitalist
The difference between traditional and financial education
Over the last couple weeks, all across our country, school has been starting for American youths. The start of school is a hectic and exciting time for parents, and a proud one. All good parents want to give their children an advantage in life, and the conventional wisdom is that doing well in school is one of the best advantages you can give a child.
Rarely, however, do we stop and ask, "Why?"
What are our schools teaching our kids? Is it really the information they need to succeed in life? Are they being taught to think for themselves and to solve problems? Or are they being taught to take orders and follow rules? Will they really have an advantage in life?
The answer, one I explore in depth in my latest book, Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students, is that our schools do not prepare our children for success in life—unless they want to be great employees with no knowledge on money, investing, or business.
If we want our children to be successful when it comes to money, we must look for education somewhere else besides our schools.
How most parents think
My mom and dad wanted me to be successful in the E (employee) and S (self-employed) quadrants of the CASHFLOW Quadrant. My dad suggested I go to school, get my PhD, which he did himself, and work for the government or climb the corporate ladder in the E quadrant. My mom, a registered nurse, wanted me to become a medical doctor in the S quadrant.
My mom and dad believed in traditional schools such as colleges, law schools, and medical schools. They valued good grades, degrees, and credentials, such as a law degree or a medical degree.
That is how most parents think.
Thinking differently about education
My rich dad suggested I become a capitalist. That meant I had to study the skills required for success in the B (business) and I (investor) quadrants.
My rich dad believed in education, but not the type of education my poor dad believed in. Rather than go to school, my rich dad signed up for seminars and courses that improved his business and investing skills. He also took personal-development courses. He was not interested in grades or credentials. He wanted real-life skills that gave him strengths and operational skills in the B and I quadrants.
Two types of education
When I was in high school, my rich dad often flew to Honolulu to attend seminars on entrepreneurship and investing. One day, when I told my poor dad that rich dad was going to a class on sales, my poor dad laughed. He could not understand why anyone would want to learn how to sell, especially if the class hours were not applied as credit to an advanced college degree. My poor dad looked down on rich dad, who had never finished high school.
Because I had two dads with differing attitudes on education, I became aware there were two types of education. Traditional schools were for those who wanted to be successful in the E and S quadrants. But another type of education, financial education, was for those who wanted to be successful in the B and I quadrants.
In 1973, I returned from Vietnam. It was time for me to make up my mind about which dad I was going to follow. Was I going to follow in my poor dad's footsteps and go back to school to become an E or S, or take my rich dad's path and become a B or an I, eventually to become a capitalist?
That year, my rich dad suggested I take classes on real estate investing. He said, "If you want to be a successful capitalist, you must know how to raise capital and how to use debt to make money." I took his advice and attended a three-day workshop on real estate investing. It was the start of my education into the world of capitalists.
A few months later, after looking at over 100 properties, I purchased my first rental property on the island of Maui, using 100 percent debt financing and still putting $25 cash flow in my pocket each month. My real-life education had begun. I was learning to use other people's money (OPM) to make money, a skill a true capitalist must know.
In 1974, my contract with the Marine Corps was up, and I took a job with the Xerox Corporation in Hawaii, not because I wanted to climb the corporate ladder but because Xerox had the best sales-training program. Again, this was all part of my rich dad's financial education program to train me to become a capitalist.
By 1994, Kim and I were financially free, never needing a job or a company or a government retirement plan. Rich dad was correct. My education could set me free—but not education found in traditional schools.
Most likely, you're well versed in traditional education. We all go to school as kids, and most of us attend college. But if you're interested in financial education, sometimes you don't know where to start. That is why Kim and I started The Rich Dad Company, to provide the best financial education through books, interactive tools, conferences, coaching, and classes on business and investing. Even if you don’t take a look at any of the financial education we offer, I encourage you to seek out financial education provided by someone else. It’s that important.