MANILA, Philippines – “If you want to be an employee, go to school. If you want to be rich, you don’t need school.”
This was the main message of Robert Kiyosaki, bestselling author and motivational speaker, to Filipinos.
Kiyosaki was in town to headline the “Masters of Wealth” event held at the SMX Convention Center on Monday, November 30 , as part of the 2015 National Achievers Congress.
The outspoken and irreverent Kiyosaki, best known for his 1997 book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, highlighted parts of that book to illustrate this point.
Growing up as the son of immigrant parents in Hawaii, Kiyosaki said he didn’t realize he was poor until he went to school.
Asking the teacher why they didn’t teach students about money in school, he was told that school was all about getting a good job, which his father – the “poor dad” in his book – also believed in.
Kiyosaki was influenced more by a friend's father, an entrepreneurial Chinese immigrant to Hawaii – the “rich dad." He learned from him practical ways to get rich which formed much of the book.
“My father was a smart man who had a PhD, yet he was poor. My whole family is full of PhDs and are all poor,” Kiyosaki said.
This was in stark contrast to his friend's father who never finished school but became rich and owned the Hyatt Regency on a beachfront property in Hawaii, he said.
“The reason most people are poor is that they graduate out of school but they don’t learn entrepreneurial skills. Today, there are so many ways to get rich. From a smartphone, you can sell anything to anyone. So if you have one and you’re poor, you’re doing something wrong,” he said.
Building an empire
This, he said, is what inspired him to write the book which he has since leveraged into a multi-million dollar empire spanning books, a board game, videos, and speaking engagements.
Kiyosaki is no stranger to controversy and his ideas have been questioned by a lot of academics, economists, and financial planners – a fact he himself admits to. One of his companies also filed for corporate bankruptcy in 2012, although his personal wealth was not affected.
Undeterred, Kiyosaki has since completed his latest book, Second Chances: For Your Money, Your Life and Our World. He presented some of its lessons to the audience.
The rules of money have changed
“Savers are losers,” Kiyosaki said repeatedly throughout his presentation, explaining that the rules of wealth had changed.
This, he said, is due to the US and other countries getting rid of the gold to back currencies which allowed them to accumulate debt, unchecked.
“The Fed is printing more money than ever before, so why would you save money when they’re printing it?” Kiyosaki emphasized.
Kiyosaki illustrated this, pointing out that if he put a million dollars in the bank in 1971, the bank would pay him $150,000 (P7.1 million) a year in interest.
“In 2015, with the same million in the bank, you’ll be lucky to get $10,000 (P471,545) in interest. The value of the dollar keeps coming down, yet people are still saying save money. That’s stupid,” he emphasized.
The stock market is not safe either. In the last 10 years, there have been more crashes than ever, and the biggest crash may come next year. The odds of the market going down are much higher than it going up, he added.
Kiyosaki also shared the stage with his friend, Richard Duncan, author of The Dollar Crisis, to drive home the point that the US trade rebalancing may likely result in a prolonged China slowdown.
That, he said, could result in a crisis similar to Japan’s prolonged slump in the 1990s, the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and the global financial crisis in 2008.
Assets work for you
A good way to guard against that danger is by building up assets, advised Kiyosaki.
Kiyosaki also advised the audience to get into commodities, “especially gold and silver as they will be around for 1,000 years."
He also said his "poor dad" always wanted a paycheck, which Kiyosaki said was stupid as “the richest people in the world have businesses."
The best way to buy all the things you want, he said, is to “first buy an asset that will pay for it instead of saving cash or relying on a salary."
He said that this year alone, he borrowed more than $300 million (P14.14 billion), mostly to participate in real estate.
“You have to learn how to use debt, because the dollar is debt,” Kiyosaki said.
The concept of practicing the right things was another common theme throughout his presentation.
According to Kiyosaki, simulation is crucial to getting rich, which is why he thought the board game Monopoly was great. As a kid, he played it over and over.
“People with jobs practice not making mistakes – they aren’t falling down so they are not practicing making mistakes. That was my poor dad, an academic genius who made no mistakes in school but that’s why he was poor,” he said.
You have to study, he said – not the things that PhDs study, but the things that make you rich, things that help you to become a good entrepreneur.
“Selling is a big thing and one thing that should be always be practiced. The truth is most people want to buy. Who doesn’t want Prada or Maserati? But if you can't sell it, they can’t buy it.”
Practice is also one of the reasons that he does engagements like the one on Monday night: “I’m rich. I don’t need the money anymore, but I still need to practice." – Rappler.com
$1 = P 47.15