The Problem With Today’s Education System
The path that the bulk of people have followed up until now has always been high school, college, and then a good career. I was constantly warring with my poor dad because I kept flunking out of school. I went to good schools, and I did graduate, but I hated school. I just didn’t know why I was there most of the time.
My favorite teacher of all was a B-17 pilot during World War II. He was shot down, almost captured, and, fortunately, escaped. Then he went on to become a professor of English at Harvard University. When we first met, I asked him, “What is the meaning of life?” and he just replied, “Adventure.” He said, “Go for it.” It wasn’t the usual mantra about staying in school and getting a job. He inspired me and that’s why I became a pilot in Vietnam.
I have a college degree from a great school, but I learned nothing about money. In fact, what I did learn in school about money actually held me back when I entered the working world.
It’s being drilled into the heads of students across the U.S. that you have to go to college to be successful in life, but in many cases, college isn’t a solid investment in your future. It depends on exactly where you’re planning to go in life. If you want to be a doctor or lawyer, you definitely need to go to school. But if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you don’t necessarily need a college degree.
My MBA Program
Signing up for the MBA program was easy. The Marine Corps had an oﬃcer in charge of advanced education. All I had to do was go to his oﬃce and sign up.
The Marines did not have real estate investment courses, so I had to search for those courses on my own. The Marines had stock market investment classes, but no real estate classes. I wanted real estate courses because I wanted to learn to use debt as money.
In less than two months, I was enrolled at the University of Hawaii’s MBA program. Twice a week at night and all day on Saturday, I would ﬁnish ﬂying and go back to school.
I never liked traditional school, but I loved ﬂight school. In ﬂight school, we had real teachers, real pilots. We took classes and we ﬂew. The more skilled we got as student pilots, the better our instructors got. We knew they could ﬂy because we ﬂew with them. Our instructor pilots were like Mr. Ely, my ﬁfth-grade teacher. They were teachers who inspired students to learn, to become smarter.
But in the classroom, I was not enjoying the MBA program. I felt like I was back in high school. One night, my frustration hit a boiling point.
“Have you ever been a real accountant?” I asked the accounting teacher.
“Yes,” he replied. “I have a degree in accounting.”
“That is not what I am asking you,” I said tersely. “I know you have a degree in accounting, but have you ever been a real accountant… in the real world?”
After an extended pause, the teacher admitted, “No, I haven’t. I am a graduate assistant. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. I am going for my master’s.”
“I can tell,” I replied.
“Are you an accountant?” the teacher asked me.
“No, I’m not,” I replied.
“So why did you ask me if I am a real accountant?”
“Because I can tell you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re teaching from a textbook, not real life.”
My real-life accounting experience began as an apprenticeship to my rich dad. I was not an accountant, yet I had worked with rich dad’s real accountants for years. I could tell our instructor was teaching from theory, not reality.
The United States was still ﬁghting in Vietnam and Marines were not too popular on college campuses. Me sitting in class and giving the instructor a hard time was not improving my popularity.
“Are you planning on becoming an accountant?” the instructor asked.
“No,” I replied. “I plan on being an entrepreneur. I plan on hiring accountants. So, I need to be able to ask accountants intelligent questions.”
“And what question do you want to ask me?”
“I just asked you an intelligent question: Are you a real accountant? Do you have any real-world accounting experience?”
The teacher just stood there dazed, like a deer in the headlights. Time was up, and the class ended.
How to Tell the Difference between Real Teachers and Fake Teachers
Fake teachers teach via lectures and books. Real teachers teach from real-life experience, from their mistakes, and encourage you to do the same.
Most teachers are great people. But, our educational system is broken, obsolete, and fails to prepare students for the real world.
Instead of guiding students into the light, our education system is leading millions of young people into financial darkness and the worst type of debt: student loan debt.
Worse yet, these teachers teach knowledge that is false and damaging, such as the merits of going to a good school, getting a good job, buying a house, saving money, and investing in a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. All fake financial truths.
After graduation, there are whole industries of gurus, advisors, and brokers who reinforce these fake financial truths while getting rich along the way.
I am often asked, “What is the secret to your success?” “How did you write the number one personal ﬁnance book in history?” “How did you get on the Oprah Winfrey Show?” “How did you get to write two books with Donald Trump, now the president of the United States?” “How did you survive the ups and downs of your life, the giant mistakes, the failures, the betrayals of friends and partners, the millions in losses, and millions in gains?”
There really is no logical answer. My only answer to you is the secret to my success had nothing to do with my formal education or what I learned in school.
This is why I am critical of an educational system that teaches students nothing about ﬁnancial education, punishes students for making mistakes, and views cooperation as cheating.
Our education system… is a system without a soul. Everyone uses money. Every day. Why not teach money in school?
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily