“Keep Them POOR” (Speech That “Broke The Internet”)

Dear Reader,

My poor dad was what society would consider an A student: class valedictorian, and class president. He loved school. He graduated with a four-year degree from the University of Hawaii in only two years. He also attended Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University.

My rich dad never even finished the eighth grade; his father died so he had to take over the family business. Although his formal education was limited, he would eventually become one of the richest men in Hawaii. 

My poor dad and my rich dad were polar opposites. Both were very good men, but they never did see eye to eye. 

Looking back, I can see how my time with rich dad gave me an advantage in life, especially when it came to money. Between the ages of nine and 18, until I left for school in New York, I spent one or two days a week after school and two Saturdays every month working for free for rich dad. 

Rich dad never paid his son or me with money; he paid us in training us to be capitalists. He did not pay us because he did not want to train us to be employees who worked for money. He was training us to be employers—entrepreneurs, capitalists who had OPT (Other People’s Talents), and OPM (Other People’s Money) working for them.

Rich dad did not pay me because he did not want me to think like an employee. He felt the rest of the world would teach me to think that way. In other words, he was training me to think differently about money, which was priceless. He did not tell his son and me what to do. He gave us choices.

Rather than telling me to “Look for a job,” my rich dad encouraged me to think like an entrepreneur and instead “Look for opportunities.”

With that advice, I did many things to make money. For example, on Saturdays, I would be up at five o’clock in the morning to surf with my friends, since the surf is usually better in the morning. I would then go to rich dad’s office and work for him for a few hours. To earn money, I would then go to the golf course in the afternoon and work as a caddy, carrying a golf bag for 9 holes for $1. It was only a nine-hole course, so I could make $2 by carrying two bags. I could make more on a Saturday afternoon than the weekly allowance my parents gave me. On top of that, I got in shape for football season.

By looking for opportunities, rather than a job, rich dad was training me to look at the world as an entrepreneur, rather than an employee. Rich dad said, “You never want a paycheck.” Obviously, rich dad’s ideas about “work to learn, not to earn” angered my poor dad, who was more of a socialist than a capitalist.

School Does Not Teach You About Money

When I was young, I would ask my teachers, “Isn’t the reason for getting a job to make money? If money is the objective of getting a job, why not get right to the point and just teach us about money?” My question was never answered. 

The fact that money isn’t taught in school, it leaves so many people, especially in today’s economy struggling when it comes to their finances. 

The sad reality is that for many young people in America, their first expenses are rent, food, transportation, and entertainment. If they do not have the money, some moms and dads give them the money they need. This does little to increase their financial intelligence.

Many get married and start a family in their 20’s and 30’s and when the first child arrives, so do more expenses. And as most parents know, children become more expensive with age. When children arrive, many parents are forced to grow up. 

By the time they are in their late 30’s, most young couples are trapped in the Rat Race of life. Life becomes a scramble to earn enough money to cover increasing expenses, with most people living paycheck to paycheck.

I knew at a young age that I didn’t want to wind up in the same cycle that I saw my parent’s living. That is why I embraced learning all that I could about money from my rich dad. 

Monopoly Taught Me The Game Of Money

When I was 19, my rich dad purchased his “red hotel” right on Waikiki Beach. In 10 years, his “little green houses” had become a giant “red hotel.”

At the time, I did not realize how profoundly the game of Monopoly and my rich dad’s education would change the direction of my life. Rich dad was using a game—Monopoly—to train me to think like a capitalist.

I learned more, retained more, and wanted to learn more from the experience of Monopoly as a kid and applying what I was learning to the experience of collecting rent for rich dad. These lessons are locked in my brain. While I have a Bachelor of Science degree from a great school, I do not remember much of what I learned during those four years. 

For example, I remember taking three years of calculus, but I could not solve a math problem using calculus today. As the saying goes, “Use it or lose it.” I would need calculus if I were a rocket scientist, but I do not need calculus to be rich. Elementary level math—addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—will do.

Keep Them Poor

The difference between those who find it to be the best of times and those who find it to be the worst of times is simply knowledge and financial IQ. The great failure of our education system is that it does not teach people about how money really works, and what it does teach is antiquated and obsolete—the old rules of money. They teach you how to balance a checkbook, but they don’t teach you how to grow a balance sheet—or even read one for that matter.

They teach you to save your money, but they don’t teach you about inflation and how it steals your wealth. They teach you how to write a check, but they don’t teach you the difference between assets and liabilities. One wonders if the system is intentionally designed to keep you poor.

If a person has no financial education, they cannot process information. They do not know the difference between an asset or a liability, capital gains or cash flow, fundamental investing or technical investing, why the rich pay less in taxes, or why debt makes some people rich and most people poor. They do not know a good investment from a bad investment, or good advice from bad advice. All they know is to go to school, work hard, pay taxes, live below your means, buy a house, get out of debt, and die poor. 

As the Bible states, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.” Today, millions are perishing because all they have been trained to do is send their money to the rich and to the government. That is not education.

For more from this speech, go to my YouTube channel, or watch this video here.


Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

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