How To Get Back On Top Financially!
Anyone who says that money isn’t important obviously has not been without it for very long.
You may be facing a wake-up call right now with workforce issues, rocky marriages due to money problems, a spouse losing their job, or maybe an unexpected illness. If not, it may be just a matter of time before a financial disaster could strike.
For Kim and I, the year 1985 was the longest and hardest of my life.
We were homeless.
We were unemployed, had little-to-nothing left in our savings, our credit cards were maxed out, and we were living in an old, brown Toyota. During those times, Kim and I often fought and argued. Fear, hunger, and uncertainty have a way of shortening our emotional fuse, and we usually end up fighting with the one we love the most. Yet, love held us together through those hard times.
On several occasions, we considered declaring bankruptcy, but we did not. We thought it best that we learn our lessons and pay back the money. For us, paying the money back was a wise decision because it made us stronger as a couple, smarter as investors and business people, and more confident about our future.
One of the reasons so few people attain great wealth is because, when people get into financial trouble, they do not know how to get out of trouble. No one has ever taught them the basics of how to diagnose the particular financial problem they may be in. As a result, although people may know they are in financial trouble, they do not know how to read a financial statement or how to keep accurate financial records, so they do not know how serious their financial problems are or how to fix them.
Facing financial truths was a painful experience. Yet facing our problems was the best thing we could have done. Rather than wasting time pretending we had no problems, we faced our financial situation head-on.
My rich dad said, “If you are willing to face the truth and learn from your mistakes, you will learn far more about money than I could ever teach you.”
He went on to explain, saying, “When you face your own personal financial statement, you face yourself and your own financial challenges. You begin to find out what you know and what you do not know. When you look at your financial statement, you become accountable to yourself. Just as a golfer cannot blame anyone else for their bad scorecard, once you look at your accounting records, you become personally accountable.”
Facing our financial problems and solving them was the best education we could have received because, by facing our mistakes, we became accountable for our own shortcomings.
Get a Job?
We kept our financial woes quiet for the most part, but when a friend or family member found out about our struggles, the first question they always asked was, “Why don’t you get a job?”
At first, we attempted to explain ourselves, but it didn’t do much good. To someone who values a job, it’s difficult to explain why you might not want one. But I would tell them it was because of what my rich dad taught me about money.
For me, money is important, yet I didn’t want to spend my life working for it. That is why I didn’t want a job. If we were going to be responsible citizens, Kim and I wanted to have our money work for us, rather than spend our lives physically working for money.
Trust me, at the time, the idea of a safe, secure paycheck was certainly tempting. But we didn’t want safety and security. We wanted financial freedom.
By 1989, we were millionaires. By 1994, we were in a position to never work another day in our lives.
No Money, No Problem
I often hear people say, “It takes money to make money.” This is not true. For Kim and I to go from homeless in 1985 to millionaires in 1989, and then to financial freedom in 1994, it didn’t take money. We had no money when we started, and we were deeply in debt.
It also didn’t take a traditional education. I have a degree, and I can tell you that achieving financial freedom had nothing to do with what I learned in college. I didn’t find much demand for my skills in calculus, spherical trigonometry, chemistry, physics, French, and English literature in the real world.
What Does It Take to Get Rich?
I’m often asked, “If it doesn’t take money to make money, and schools don’t teach you how to become financially free, then what does it take?”
My answer: It takes a dream, a lot of determination, a willingness to learn quickly, the ability to use your God-given assets properly, and to understand how money works and can work for you.
Most of us have heard the saying: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Instead, I would say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a baby step.”
I emphasize this because I have seen too many people attempt to take a great leap forward instead of starting with baby steps. We have all seen people who are completely out of shape and suddenly decide to lose 20 pounds. They begin a crash diet, go to the gym for two hours, and then jog 10 miles. This lasts maybe a week. They lose a few pounds, and then the pain, boredom, and hunger begin to wear away at their will power and determination. By the third week, their old habits of overeating, avoiding exercise, and watching television are back in control.
Instead of taking a great leap forward, I strongly recommend taking a baby step forward.
Long-term financial success is not measured by how big your stride is, but by the number of steps, the number of years, and the direction in which you’re moving. That is the formula for success or failure in any endeavor. When it comes to money, I’ve seen too many people, myself included, attempt to do too much with too little, and then crash and burn. It’s hard to take a baby step forward when you first need a ladder to get yourself out of the financial hole you have dug for yourself.
All of the qualities necessary for getting rich, start with financial education—a type of education that you can’t get in a traditional school. My financial education started with my rich dad, my best friend’s dad, and continues today through books, seminars, learned lessons, and mentors. From all these sources, I learned about cash flow, debt, business and investing, taxes, and more—and how to use each to make myself rich.
If you want to be rich, I can’t stress the importance of starting your financial education today. Take some classes, read a book, attend a seminar, and find a great coach. It’s the most important investment you can make.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily