Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rich Dad's Increase Your Financial IQ by Robert T. Kiyosaki

I liked this book. I did not like it as much as the original "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" or "Before You Quit Your Job." The exterior cover mentions his prophesy of doom, which, as anyone reading the news can tell, he got right. However, unlike the advice he gave about looking at a home as a liability and not an asset, time has not confirmed him on Silver. At least not much. At the time the book came out, silver was $14 an ounce, whereas now it is $15.5.

Then again, to be fair, he has never said "do exactly what I say, but follow the broad principals." Apparently that is a common critique of his books, but I agree with him that this critics fail to understand what he is saying. My point is that he just says it better in the other two books.

The primary focus of this book as compared to the others is basically increasing your financial IQ. The idea is that you need to be smart and educated about money, and he lays down five broad princples that one should follow. The broad principles are good, and some of his concrete examples are good, but I, personally, did not get as much out of it as I got out of the other. I am beginning to think that the best way to use these books is to get the core book, and at most one or two of the most applicable focus books beyond it.

Having said that, the most valuable advice I took away from the whole thing was the idea of control of an investment, which makes absolute sense. He'd mentioned this in his other books, but I didn't really understand it as well as when he mentioned it here. The thing about stocks, bonds and mutual funds is that you are paying a sales person. A sales person is often getting a commission on their stock fund, from the very stocks that they're selling. A sales person is good at selling, not necessarily managing their fund. There is also something called 'churning' which is basically when a stock manager moves your money back and forth from fund to fund, taking an 8% fee each time until there is no money left in your fund.

I think investing in the stock market can be worth it, but if you want to make money, and more importantly, if you want that money to be secure, you need to take control of it. It is true, that this is highly risky, because you can easily destroy it if you don't know what you're doing, but our system rewards risk. Conversely, letting your money sit safe and sound in a 401K has caused many people to be reduced to abject poverty.

In other words, I need to start paying attention to the financial sector, various opportunities and ways of making my money work for me, not just throwing it over the fence at a fund manager and hoping they'll honestly make my money for me.

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