June 22, 2003 money

Chris’s Notes on Cashflow Quadrant

Chris’s Notes on Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad’s Guide to Financial Freedom, Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter, Warner Books, April, 2000. I recommend this book for the way it twisted my head around.

There aren’t any how to” details in this book, but it still had some pretty valuable ideas in it that really changed my thinking and inspired me about what’s possible:

  • There are four main ways to make money: as an employee, being self-employed, running a business and investing.
  • Our society has trained the middle and lower classes that success looks like getting a good job and being a good little consumer. I’d long recognized the cycle of get into college->get a good job->save for your kids’ college education->they do it all over again for their kids, but I didn’t know what alternative I had.
  • The alternatives, according to this book, are running a business and/or investing. Specifically, this book really pushed running a business to fund investments, mostly for the tax benefits. My own thoughts are that having a business to fund investments is the absolute right thing to do. However, having a business that generates extra money to invest is easier said than done. If that’s your plan, you should go away and do that first, then figure out the investing thing later in your leisure by the pool.
  • Folks that run their own business or invest have a reasonable chance for financial independence, whereas employees and the self-employed do not.
  • Financial independence has a specific definition: having more passive monthly income than your monthly expenses. Only when’s it’s passive income, i.e. you don’t have to do the work to generate the income, do your finances allow you to pursue whatever activities you want, regardless of their income generating abilities, e.g. write a novel or home school your kids.

In general, I really like the way that Kiyosaki writes, although it’s very marketing-style, so it turns me on and off at the same time. What I like is that he writes in a very personal way, talking about his two fathers, one trapped in the rat race like most of us and the other who’d learned how to become financially independent. He uses examples of his fathers’ behavior to illustrate his points and talks a lot about how be changed his own thinking to break himself out of the cycle.

On the other hand, it seems like his major business is selling financial education-related materials to fuel his own wealth, so right away you have to suspect his motives. Also, his books are light on details, although he’s happy to use them to point you at other produces that he or his partners have produced for more information. That’s not a business model that respects the needs or intelligence of his audience. Still, if you ignore that and look for the ideas, I find his writing useful.