Thursday, March 15, 2007

Watch, Listen, Learn, from Robert and Kim Kiyosaki

Last night, while I was blogging in front of the computer at one corner of the living room, my wife hollered from the other corner (the TV corner), alerting me to a TV program being delivered by Robert Kiyosaki of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame.

I have heard of Robert while still back in Malaysia. I even own two copies of the aforementioned book by him, the other copy being the Chinese translation. But I have never actually read the book, either one.

I remember those days there was even a game in the genre of Monopoly called Cashflow 101 designed by Robert for players to learn basic financial management and accounting principles. And for a while my brother/sister-in-law and my nephew were actually hosting the game on weekends.

I did not go over and join my wife immediately, but continued blogging until it was done. Entitled Rich Dad’s Guide to Wealth, the TV program was part of the March Membership campaign for the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) telecast by a local TV station affiliated with the University of South Florida, WUSFTV.

I only caught the last half hour of the show, including an appearance by his wife, Kim. This is the first time I was seeing Robert and Kim on TV and they came across as very passionate about achieving wealth and financial freedom and were eager to share their experiences.

While growing up, Robert was not doing great in schools. But he believes that every child is born a genius. Using the extended form, Genie-in-us, he stressed that there’s magic in us and all we have to do is to "have the courage to find the environment that lets your genie come out". For him, he learned best on the street.

For most of us, our careers span the period from the age of 25 to 65. Dividing that into quarters, each one a decade long, he asked the audience how many were in each quarter. I could see that the majority was in the first two quarters, signifying perhaps a relatively young audience. The first two quarters are separated from the last two by what he called the half time, or mid-life crisis, he added jokingly. After the second half, where ideally we should have been financially independent and enjoying our retirement, there are two more periods he termed as overtime, and out of time.

These are apt descriptions to me, and I hope to avoid charging headlong into overtime, and God forbid, out of time. While I have successfully navigated through the mid-life crisis, I’m still building my retirement nest, while spending more time doing the things I enjoy, like being with my wife, children, and blogging.

Citing a Japanese friend who called the social security the so-so security since it is just plain ho-hum, Robert said that the biggest problem would-be retirees face is not social security, but medicare. Paraphrasing him, most of us spend a greater part of our health looking for wealth, but then in our later years spend a greater part of our wealth hanging on to our health.

Kim actually achieved financial freedom while still in the first quarter. But the journey was not easy. She recalled the purchase of her first property, a house in Portland, Oregon, her first investment in 1989. Come closing time, she was so scared to death of the many what-ifs that her signature could not be recognized as her fist was clenched shut so tightly. But then as they say, the rest is history. She proudly proclaimed, “I want Robert, but I don’t need him.”

Both engaged the audience enthusiastically, and were repaid by the rapt attention displayed by the audience, even a TV audience like me. A favorite refrain from Robert is, “Does that make sense to you guys here?” which appears to be a crowd puller.

Will I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad now? Maybe. But I certainly recommend it to everyone else.

1 comment:

Kitty Girl said...

Ah! A friend actually alerted me to the existence of a financial-help book specifically for women, written by none other than Kim Kiyosaki! This reminded me of my plan to borrow the book from the library, thanks!

Dan and I, too, are searching for and trying to get on the road to financial freedom. We both read a very good book, "The Automatic Millionaire" (the author's name escapes me), which I recommend. I keep egging Dan to open an IRA account, and I think I really have to push him to do it now. Although we do have plans to discuss retirement this weekend. Speaking of books, have you read "The Five Love Languages" yet (the one you borrowed from us)? It will make Mom happy! ;)

Also: I have just placed a request for Kim's book on my online library account.