The Philosophy of Robert Kiyosaki
By now, countless people are familiar with bestselling personal finance author Robert T. Kiyosaki. And many, many people have read his Rich Dad series of books. He is by no means a philosopher in the traditional sense of the word -- he is a practical man who has attained much wealth and who wishes to teach others why they should do the same. Perhaps he can be termed a "worldly philosopher." (Incidentally, The Worldly Philosophers, by Robert L. Heilbroner, is a book he recommends reading). Though not an economist by training, Kiyosaki speaks and writes at great length on global and national economic issues.
On a macro level, Kiyosaki believes that the United States is in dire shape, with a shrinking middle class and huge wealth disparities between the rich and poor. On a personal level, he attributes this to a growing "entitlement mentality" among people who expect the government or a corporation to look after them during their later years. He has made it his goal to address why these wealth disparities exist and what to do about them.
According to Kiyosaki, most people are taught to go to school, get good grades, and find a high-paying job. This was good advice during the Industrial Age but is ill-suited for the Information Age. Schools are designed to produce employees and not entrepreneurs, who drive the innovation that propels economic growth. He believes the current school system stifles creativity and discourages free thinking, traits needed for successful entrepreneurship. He notes how many business leaders such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college. In an earlier era, titans like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison had even less formal schooling.
Yet Kiyosaki makes a point to emphasize that he is not anti-education per se; it is the type of education a person receives that is of concern to him. He divides education into the following three categories:
1) academic or scholastic education, consisting primarily of "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic" and its allied subjects
2) professional education, which provides the student with the skills required to function in a job
3) financial education, the knowledge needed to understand the world of money -- the knowledge needed to become rich
Of these three, it is financial education that is lacking in today's school system. It is financial education that can narrow the disparities between rich and poor.
Kiyosaki's philosophy derives, as most people are already aware, from his life experiences with his two dads -- one his real father, whom he calls his poor dad, and the other his childhood best friend's father, his rich dad. His real father was highly-educated in the traditional sense, with multiple degrees from prestigious institutions, and served as the Superintendent of Education for the state of Hawaii. Yet his real dad experienced financial challenges throughout life. Kiyosaki's rich dad, on the other hand, had a grade school education yet managed to become one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii.
This story has been told so many times by Kiyosaki and others that it is unnecessary to delve into it at length here. The point is, with the outsourcing of skilled American jobs to foreign countries and a Federal Reserve that continues its policy of "quantitative easing," i.e., printing more money, what course of action can a person best take? The U.S. dollar has been off the gold standard for decades now. That means that as the central bank prints more and more money, its value goes further down. This is an issue of great concern to Kiyosaki, who cites numerous examples from history as to the consequences of debasing the currency.
Kiyosaki believes that it is time people take responsibility for their lives and become financially literate and not leave that responsibility to the government or the company they work for. The world is changing at a rapid clip. Those who recognize, embrace, and adapt to these changes will thrive. Those who cling to outmoded ways of thinking will fall behind. Kiyosaki is a proponent of the former of these two courses of action. The clarion call for financial education has been sounded.