These 5 Things Instead of College

Dear Reader, 

When it comes to money and investing, people have three fundamental goals — to be secure… to be comfortable…

And to be rich. 

All three are important. The question is: how should you prioritize them?

Most people prioritize them in that order.

First is security, second is comfort, and third is to be rich. That is why most people make job security their highest priority. After they have a secure job or profession, then they focus on comfort. The last priority for most people is to be rich.

When I returned from the Vietnam War, I was faced with this question. 

When rich dad discussed my option of taking a job with the airlines as a pilot, he said, “A job with the airlines may not be that secure. I suspect that they will be having a rough time in the next few years. Yet if you keep your record clean, you might find job security in that profession — if that is what you really want.”

But what I wanted was to be rich. I grew up in a family where money was not discussed at the dinner table because it was an unclean subject, a subject not worthy of intellectual discussion. 

But now that I was 25 years old, I could let my truth out. I knew that the core values of security and comfort were not the highest on my list. 

To be rich was the number-one core value for me. Here’s how that lead me to financial freedom… and can do the same for you. 

Why People Seek Financial Security

Both of my dads recommended that I go to college and get a degree. But it was after receiving the degree that their advice took different paths. My highly educated dad constantly advised: “Go to school, get good grades, and then get a good safe, secure job.”

Their advice was different because one dad was concerned with job security, and the other focused on financial freedom.

The primary reason many people seek job security is that that’s what they are taught to seek, both at school and home.

As adults, millions of people continue to follow that advice. Many of us are conditioned from our earliest days to think about job security, rather than financial freedom. And because most of us learn little to nothing about money at home or school, it’s only natural that we cling ever more tightly to the idea of job security instead of reaching for freedom.

Trapped by Debt

The main reason that 90% of the population is working on the left side is that that’s the side they learned about at school. After leaving school, they often end up with lots of expenses and may fall into debt. This means they must cling ever tighter to a job, or professional security, just to pay the bills.

I often meet young people who receive their college diplomas along with the bill for their college loans. Several of them told me that they’re depressed when they see that they are in debt thousands and thousands of dollars for their college education. If their parents paid the bill, then the parents are strapped financially for years.

Most Americans today will receive a credit card while still in school and will be in debt for the rest of their lives. That’s because they’re often following a script that became popular in the Industrial Age.

With so many people regretting their college debt — and how they spent it — you might do well to learn from their mistakes. If you’re thinking about college (or going back to college to finish your degree or get an advanced degree), consider doing one or all of these five things instead.

#1  Work to Learn

I didn’t go to a traditional college. Instead, I went to the Merchant Marine Academy, a military college focused on training young men and women to protect our vital marine commerce lines. At the time, graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy easily had some of the highest paying jobs waiting for them… because they had very specialized and vital skills.

When I graduated from college, I had the opportunity to work in the shipping industry and make good money — the equivalent of six figures today. But after continued mentoring from my rich dad, I knew that I didn’t want to be an employee. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

So instead of taking a sure thing, I did the risky thing — I took a job as a salesman at Xerox making next-to-nothing in a field I was not experienced in. Why? I knew I needed sales skills to be successful in business. At Xerox, I could learn those valuable skills while getting paid.

At first, I was the worst salesman on staff, but as I learned on the job and applied myself, I became our top salesman. Those sales skills have paid off more than anything I ever learned in college.

#2  Explore Non-Traditional Education

There are important skills you can learn outside of the traditional, four-year institution that will help you, depending on what you want to do with your life.

Many community colleges offer courses on investing hosted by professionals rather than professors. 

Also, you can learn important new-world skills like computer programming, web design, and more at a fraction of the cost. 

Rather than spend four years wondering what you want to do, racking up debt, and taking classes you’ll never use, figure out what you want to do and take specific classes that will benefit you in the future at a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, build your financial education by attending seminars, reading books, taking classes, and hiring a coach. 

#3  Begin Investing

If you have to spend $45,000 to get a degree just to work at Starbucks, you might as well skip the debt, get a job at Starbucks, save some money, invest in your financial education, and begin investing.

Find an asset class that you’re interested in, learn all that you can, and use the money you would have spent on college to start building your financial future now rather than later — even if you have to take out a loan to do it.

But wait, you might ask. Didn’t you just tell us not to go into debt? No, I’m saying don’t go into college debt. This is why it’s vital to know the difference between good debt and bad debt. Good debt (investing) puts money in your pocket. Bad debt (college debt) takes money out of your pocket.

#4  Start a Business

For most people, the whole point of college is to get a good job. 

But chances are that if you’re reading this, you think differently than most people. Some of the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs I know never went to college or dropped out. They understood that they could spend all their time, youth, energy, and talent putting money in other people’s pockets and building other people’s dreams… 

Or they could use those resources for their own pockets and dreams. If you have a good business idea, run with it now.

#5  Serve Your Community

Finally, spread some goodwill with some of the free time you’ll have from not writing term papers on ancient history at three in the morning.

A lot of people want to serve their community but never seem to have time. “I’ll do it after college,” they say. Then it’s, “I’ll do it after this internship.” Then, “I’ll do it after the kids are older.” It goes on and on.

I’m a firm believer that helping others is not only good for your soul but also good for your financial future. As the old proverb goes, if you plant good things, good things will be harvested.

Serving your community allows you to think outside your world, make connections with people you’d never meet otherwise, identify needs and opportunities, figure out ways to meet those needs…

And it opens many doors that would otherwise be closed — all while doing something worthwhile and good.

Play it smart,


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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