True Success Comes From Giving Back
In 1994, Kim and I had the luxury of retiring. She was thirty-seven and I was forty-seven. I thought retirement would be heaven. Instead, it turned out to be hell. All I did was play golf, and if you’ve seen my golf game you would know why, for me, golf is the game from hell.
One of Bucky Fuller’s Generalized Principles is, “The more people I serve, the more effective I become.” The key to the future had become very clear. We needed to serve more people. We have always focused on serving more people first.
So in 1996 Kim and I developed our CASHFLOW® board game, I wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad, and we got back to work. Our objectives remain the same. We believe that too many people are slaves to money, and one way to financial freedom is via financial education. Our wish is to have you become financially free so you can give more of yourself and do the work you were born to do.
One of the greatest joys of our work is to have people like you read our work, even if you do not agree with everything we write. I know the world is filled with people with great ideas, great stories to tell, and great gifts to give.
Rich dad often said, “There are only two kinds of people in the world. People are either givers or takers.”
He went on to say, “Givers give because they have to give. They like giving. They feel good giving. Takers will only give if they get something in return. Most people go to work only because they expect to get paid. If they were not paid, they would not work. Takers will only do you a favor if they can get something in return. If they do not get something in return, they want what they gave back or they will resent you forever.”
There are many people who believe the rich are greedy, and many of them are. Yet, I have met many greedy poor and middle-class people. They are simply greedy people with less money. The rich do not have an exclusive domain over greed.
When we were married, Kim and I co-created selfish and unselfish goals. We set four financial goals, and those goals became the four stepping-stones to guide us through the stream of life:
The first stepping-stone was to build a business that served as many people as possible. We wanted to serve people regardless of their wealth (or lack of it), race, or religion.
The second stepping-stone was to invest our money to be of service. The majority of our investment money is in apartment houses. We provide safe, well-managed, affordable housing to thousands of people.
The third stepping-stone of our finances was to tithe—to give money back. Even when we had very little money, we donated to charitable causes that spoke to our hearts. We do not give money directly to people in need. Instead, we give money to responsible organizations that have a proven track record of sound money management.
The fourth stepping-stone was our personal standard of living. Even though we had nothing when we were married, we still wanted to live financially free, at a rich and wealthy standard of living.
All four goals required hard work, miles of travel, a lot of studies, and often a good bit of disappointment. From the generalized principle of precession, which is the ripple effect, came the gift of true happiness in our lives.
Today, we have more money than we could ever spend. We have more than we need. This is why today we are focusing more and more on giving the money back, just as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are doing. Giving money back can be a full-time job. Just as making and investing money creates unique challenges, giving money back comes with its own set of challenges. There is an art and science to charitable giving. Again, rather than give the money to the needy and the poor, which would deplete the money supply, we are diligent in finding responsible, well-managed organizations that will protect our wealth and will use the money wisely for years, long after we are gone.
God and Money
This quote, by Mohammad, makes me stop and think: “A man’s true worth is the good he does in this world.”
Although I am not very religious, my spiritual and religious education has served me well. This education has given me life and guidance during some very tough times in my personal life, in war, and in business.
When I mention “god”, I do not mean a speciﬁc religion’s god. I mean a spiritual being, not a human being. I believe in a spiritual god. I use god as an acronym for “General Overall Director.”
I think that god looks at what we do with the talents and gifts He gives us and whether or not we use them to do good things. So, who does god love more? Most likely it’s those who share their gifts—talents, time, or treasure—with the world.
The Bible says a lot about money, wealth, debt, bankers, generosity, and greed. In fact, it’s said that the Bible contains more verses about money than about any other subject.
My religious education began when I was 10 years old. A new preacher came to town. He was young, single, handsome, and from Texas. He wore cowboy boots, jeans, and always had his guitar slung across his back, ready to play and sing.
But I’ll always remember when he said, “We have the power to create our own heaven or hell here on earth.” I do not know if it is true, but it has been a useful belief. He also taught us, “God has already given us that power. It is up to us to ﬁnd and use that power in us.”
Many powerful lessons are found within religious beliefs. And whether a person believes in god or follows a speciﬁc religion or not, the references and lessons oﬀer other points of view on money and the roles it plays in our lives.
I think it’s important to discuss generosity related to god and money. To talk with your children or family about choices and how, with every dollar that’s earned, you have the choice to spend it, invest it, or tithe. And to discuss the concepts of honesty and truthfulness, as they relate to life and business dealings and your religious beliefs, and about the importance of giving back.
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily