Rich Dad Scam #3: Work Hard
People often talk about a scam as a con. A con is short for confidence. A con-man can only dupe you if you put your confidence in him. When I talk about the scams designed by the ultra-rich to keep you poor, one of the hardest things to get past is that so many of us have been taught to believe with conviction and confidence that these scams are true. And the conning started so young that we never had a chance to think differently.
That’s the difference between thinking like my poor dad, who did what he was told and died poor and thinking like my rich dad, who was financially educated and grew rich based on his knowledge of how money worked.
When it came to working hard, my rich dad liked a story from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Tom runs a con job on the kids in his neighborhood. His job is to paint a fence, and he makes it look like so much fun that all the other kids offer to pay him to do the work.
Rich dad said, “Rather than work hard, I work smart. Smart work is getting others to not only do but also want to do hard work for you. And smart work is also getting money to work for you, not the other way around.”
Today when people say, “Don’t work hard. Work smart,” they do not mean to work smart in the E or S quadrants. They actually mean to work smart in the B or I quadrants. That is Information-Age thinking, which is why financial and emotional intelligence is vital today and will be even more so in the future.
How the Scam Works
It seems like a simple math equation: effort = reward. You work hard, you earn more, you get more for your effort, and it seems like it should work. Once upon a time, it may have worked that way.
But there are two problems with this equation. One, as I wrote about in scam #2, Get a Job, if you’re an employee, working harder may get you more money but it also means you’ll be taxed more.
So working harder can actually result in you being punished financially.
The second problem is that you’re working hard for something in particular: Money, that money is worth less and less every day. During the 21st century, average income after inflation has fallen. And continues to fall. If you’ve been working hard at your job for ten years, the money you’re making now is actually worth less than it was when you earned it.
Practically speaking, that probably means you’re either making the same amount now as a few years ago or maybe even making less! Rather than work hard for money, you should be working smart by having money work hard for you. That is what the rich do.
In my opinion, this old Industrial-Age advice of working hard is toast.
First of all, let me say that “working smart” is not a euphemism for avoiding hard work altogether. “Working smart” simply means focusing one’s efforts on activities that will bring the greatest benefit.
Ultimately, it’s not how much money you make that matters, but how much money you keep, and how long that money works for you. Every day I meet many people who make a lot of money, but all of their money goes out of the expense column.
Every time they make a little more money, they go shopping. They often buy a bigger house or new car which results in long-term debt and more hard work. Nothing is left to go into the asset column.
The money goes out so fast that you’d think they took some kind of financial laxative.
My rich dad taught me that truly rich people work smarter, not harder. Entrepreneurs are successful because they get other people do work hard for them, not because they themselves work hard. Some of the most successful people I know work less than forty hours a week.
They find lots of time to relax, hand out with family and friends, and just generally enjoy life. In the meantime, their companies and employees are also working for them and making them money, just like Tom Sawyer.
In designing a B type of business, success simply means increasing the system and hiring more people. In other words, you work less, earn more and enjoy more free time.
It’s my experience that being successful on the right side requires a different mindset and different technical skills. If people are flexible enough to make these changes, I think they’ll find the process of achieving greater financial security or freedom easy. For other people, the process might be too difficult because many people are frozen in one quadrant and one mindset.
How Do You Start Thinking Like a Rich Person?
People often ask me how to get started thinking like a rich person. I always recommend starting small and seeking education, rather than running out and jumping into investing. If they are serious about learning and retraining themselves to think like a rich person, I recommend my CASHFLOW® board game.
I created the game to help teach financial intelligence. It gives people the mental, physical, and emotional training that is required to make a gradual change from thinking like a poor or middle-class person to thinking like a rich person. It teaches people to think about what my rich dad said was important, which is not a large paycheck or a big house, but the accumulation of cash-producing assets.
Then, take a look at the people you hang out with. Do they have loser mindsets that hold you back?
Do you need to trade in your old “friends” for new ones that help you become better than you are and give you a new mindset?
Finally, take a look at what you read and listen to.
Do you fill your mind with things that reinforce the status quo?
Or do you fill your mind with things that challenge you and ask you to grow to be more than you are?
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily