7 crippling beliefs that are keeping Africans poor
Robert Kiyosaki, who wrote the world’s best-selling personal finance book to date, ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, is in South Africa. Here are seven myths he thinks are keeping Africans poor.
1) This is a bad economy
To Kiyosaki there is no such thing as a bad economy. Savvy entrepreneurs can make money in any economy. Blame the economy and you’ll give up before you begin. Focus on what you can control and at least you’ll get out and give it a go.
What do Microsoft, FedEx, General Electric and Hyatt Hotels have in common? They all started during a recession.
2) Get a job
Money comes in one of four ways: You can be an employee, self-employed, a business owner or an investor. To Kiyosaki, being a wage slave is your worst option. He’s got a point. As Thomas Piketty showed in his ground-breaking book Capital, the reason the poor and middle class are getting poorer is because real income is stagnant or declining.
The rich are getting richer because assets, like property and stocks, keep going up. Kiyosaki wants you to be an investor or business owner because these are the people who own the assets. He concedes that business and investing can be risky. But earning a salary gives us a false sense of security. Your employer could go bankrupt, you could lose your job or be pushed into early retirement.
Kiyosaki thinks saving is for losers. Money in the bank barely keeps up with the rate of inflation and it’s taxable. “When I graduated I got 15% interest,” he says. “Now I get zero. Money has become worthless.” You need to invest the money in assets, preferably property where you avoid tax by using the bank’s money, which brings us to money myth No4 …
4) Stay out of debt
Of course consumer debt is bad. Using debt to buy clothes, furniture or even cars is what gets people into trouble. Using debt to buy appreciating assets like businesses and property is good. Kiyosaki has built a $300-million (R4.3-billion) property portfolio that he started with a credit card payment of $1,800. How? Using the bank’s money.
Of course, many investors have gone bankrupt when they found themselves unable to pay their bonds, but, done prudently, it’s the way many others have grown rich. Just look at how the price of your own property has escalated over the years.
5) Bankruptcy is bad
The world’s No1 wealth-creation guru has been pilloried for going bankrupt. To Kiyosaki, bankruptcy is a rite of passage.
That’s the real education. “You go to school, you make mistakes you’re labelled stupid. Make mistakes at work, you get fired. If I make mistakes as an entrepreneur, I get smarter.”
Success comes from experience and experience comes from failure. Failure is only terminal when you don’t get up.
6) Go to university
Perhaps the most controversial of all Kiyosaki’s advice is to skip university. He says if you’ve studied more than a few years ago the information is probably obsolete. That’s a bit like saying Plato is obsolete because his last book came out 2,500 years ago.
Where Kiyosaki does have a point is that student debt in the US exceeds housing debt and many of these gravely indebted graduates are not finding jobs. South Africa is in a similar state.
Formal education is providing a diminishing return on investment and it also fails to teach us anything in the way of personal wealth creation. I can attest that, after studying economics at Rhodes University, I really knew little about how to get rich.
“Why doesn’t school teach us about money?” Kiyosaki laments. “They want you to put your head down and get a job to make the rich richer. Problem is, there aren’t any jobs.”
He believes real unemployment is not just high in South Africa but above 20% in the US too, and higher education is making it worse.
7) Poor need your money
Kiyosaki is not big on hand-outs. He says: “You can’t solve money problems with money. You solve money problems with education.” Not the formal kind of education: the kind found in books like his. He thinks the biggest beneficiaries of hand-outs are the rich, through tax breaks and corruption. On that score he’s convinced the US is even more corrupt than South Africa.
“The entitlement mentality is epidemic,” he says, “creating people who expect their countries, employers, or families to take care of them. Learn to take care of yourself!”
Finally, I just had to ask Kiyosaki if he was going to vote for his friend and co-author Donald Trump. For the first time in our discussion he hesitates. “That’s a tough one … he’s a good man, I just don’t know why he’s making these racist remarks.” It seems that understanding wealth is easier than understanding the Republican nominee for president.
Kiyosaki wants you to be rich, but as Norman Vincent Peale put it: “Empty pockets never held anyone back, only empty heads.”
Source: Times Live