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What is Freedom?

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Yesterday, most Americans celebrated freedom by wearing red, white, and blue, barbequing meat, drinking too much beer, and blowing things up.

As a Vietnam Veteran, I fought to uphold the ideals of freedom, including Capitalism. And I’ve spent most of my adult life educating people how to become financially free, which I believe is the basis for almost all other freedoms. I believe freedom is definitely something to celebrate—and to fight for.

Freedom is under attack

For much of its history, America is a country that has valued free markets, allowed people to pursue their interests, and created opportunity for anyone, without too much government intervention.

Today, freedom is under attack by a massive public debt and trade imbalance, a recession that won’t go away, stagnant wage growth, high unemployment, and a looming retirement crisis.

Freedom is not security

Often, in times of distress, people give up their freedoms in exchange for what they think is security. It’s telling that many despots and dictators throughout history have come to power in times of economic crisis.

Ironically, many people don’t understand that freedom often means less security. It means having the ability to take risks and the understanding that our decisions have consequences that we must face—and rewards that we can enjoy.

I don’t know where the world will be in ten years. My hunch is that we’ll be worse off, not better. If our leaders continue to ignore the problems in the world instead of fix them, many people will be poorer and less free—and a few will be richer and have more control.

Enemies of freedom

Some enemies of freedom are high taxes, inflation, and bad debt. All of these things are big problems in the US and around the world. Because of our bad debts, most governments are faced with the choice of raising taxes or printing more money, both of which hurt the middle-class and the poor.

As our financial problems grow, many people will be content to give governments more power and control—and more money from their paychecks. Others will not be content, try to fight, but have very little ability to change things and still end up paying higher taxes and suffering from the effects of inflation because they’ll lack the financial knowledge to fight them effectively.

Financial freedom is key

Kim and I founded the Rich Dad Company because we believe in freedom and fighting for it. It is our belief that knowledge is the ultimate weapon in the battle for freedom—and financial knowledge, the knowledge most lacking around the world, is the most important part of the arsenal.

You can make the choice to be informed and to move ahead. Although the conspiracy of the rich seeks to keep financial knowledge limited in order to consolidate money and power into their hands, the reality is that you can play by the rules of the rich and enjoy the freedoms that they enjoy.

Today, the day after the celebration of freedom in America, I encourage you to ask, “What is Freedom for me?” Is it more time with your family? Is it the ability to travel around the world? Is it building a great business and helping others financially?

Freedom is different for everyone, but I’ve learned that one of the keys to achieving our definition of freedom is to be financially free. I encourage you to increase your financial education and knowledge, to learn to play by the rules of the rich.

For many with a low financial IQ, times ahead will be tough as taxes, inflation, and debt steal their freedoms away by taking away time from their family, diminishing quality of life, and making life more expensive. As freedom diminishes for many, it will be those with a high financial IQ and who understand how to use things like taxes, inflation, and debt to get richer that will become freer.

Original publish date: July 05, 2011

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