Are You the Fool at the Party?

We suck at managing our money.

If you’re reading this letter, you probably know more about your finances than most folks. But as a whole, we Americans cannot handle a dime to save our life.

It’s why the 2008 financial crisis was so devastating. And why so many of us are woefully unprepared for retirement.

Over the weekend, I was digging through the U.S. financial literacy statistics… and I stumbled on some eye-wateringly bizarre facts.

It takes a lot to shock me these days. But honestly, when I first saw these numbers, I had a hard time believing it.

Here’s a couple of the worst, just so you see what I mean:

  • 44% of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency expense. Two-thirds could not afford a $1,000 expense.
  • 43% of student loan borrowers have stopped making payments on their debt.
  • 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. 33% of American adults have no savings at all.
  • Two-thirds of American adults cannot pass a basic financial literary test.

Depressing. Ain’t it?

The problem is simple. For some insane reason, schools are under the impression that personal finance is something you learn at home.

Which is fine for some. But the vast majority of our parents had no idea what they were doing with their own money. Let alone have any idea how to teach us how to handle our finances.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the #1 bestselling financial book of all time, was lucky enough to have a father figure who took him under his wing and showed him the ropes.

And it changed his life forever…

All the best,

Owen Sullivan

Owen Sullivan
Editor, Money & Crisis

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Most People Struggle Financially Because They Don’t Know This…

By Robert Kiyosaki


Robert KiyosakiMoney. It’s what makes the world go ‘round.

Yet we hear countless stories about the multi-million dollar athlete who is homeless 10 years later. Or the guy who won the lottery only to soon find himself penniless.

It’s not how much money you make. But how much money you keep.

I cringe whenever I hear people ask me how to get rich quicker, or where they should start. I often hear, “I need to make more money.”

I hate hearing any of that, because more money will often not solve the problem.

In fact, it may compound the problem.

Money often puts a spotlight on what we don’t know. That is why, all too often, a person who comes into a sudden windfall of cash — an inheritance, a pay raise, or lottery winnings — soon returns to the same financial mess, if not worse, than the mess they were in before.

Money accentuates the cash flow pattern running in your head: If your pattern is to spend everything you get, most likely an increase in cash will just result in an increase in spending.

Hence, the saying, “A fool and his money is one big party.”

We go to school to gain scholastic and professional skills, both of which are important. We learn to make money with our professional skills.

When I was in high school, if someone did well academically, people assumed this bright student would go on to be a medical doctor because it was the profession with the promise of the greatest financial reward.

Today, doctors face financial challenges I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy: insurance companies taking control of the business, managed health care, government intervention, and malpractice suits.

Today, kids want to be famous athletes, movie stars, rock stars, beauty queens, or CEOs because that is where the fame, money, and prestige are. That is the reason it is so hard to motivate kids in school today.

They know that financial success is no longer solely linked to academic success, as it once was.

Students leave school without financial skills. Millions of educated people pursue their profession successfully, but later find themselves struggling financially. They work harder but don’t get ahead.

What is missing from their education is not how to make money, but how to manage money.

It’s called financial aptitude — what you do with the money once you make it, how to keep people from taking it from you, how to keep it longer, and how to make that money work hard for you.

Most don’t understand why they struggle financially because they don’t understand cash flow.

A person can be highly educated, professionally successful, and financially illiterate.

These people often work harder than they need to because they learned how to work hard, but not how to have their money work hard for them.

All the education in the world can get you the money. But it won’t necessarily make it stay.

Education Produces Employees…

I learned this when I was in the height of my teenage years:

By the time Mike and I were 16 years old, we began to have problems in school.

We weren’t bad kids, we just began to separate from the crowd.

We worked for Mike’s dad — who I call my “Rich Dad” — after school and on weekends. Mike and I often spent hours after work just sitting at a table with his dad while he held meetings with his bankers, attorneys, accountants, brokers, investors, managers, and employees.

Here was a man who had left school at 13.

He was now directing, instructing, ordering, and asking questions of educated people. They came at his beck and call, and cringed when he didn’t approve.

Here was a man who had not gone along with the crowd.

He was a man who did his own thinking and detested the words, “We have to do it this way because that’s the way everyone else does it.” He also hated the word “can’t.”

In fact, the best way to get him to do something was to tell him“ I don’t think you can do it.”

Mike and I learned more sitting in on his meetings than we did in all our years of school, college included.

Mike’s dad was not book-smart, but he was financially educated and successful as a result.

He told us over and over again, “An intelligent person hires people who are more intelligent than he is.”

So Mike and I had the benefit of spending hours listening to and learning from intelligent people.

But because of this, Mike and I couldn’t go along with the standard our teachers preached, and that caused problems.

When we were told to follow set procedures and not deviate from the rules, we could see how creativity was discouraged.

We started to understand why our rich dad told us that schools were designed to produce good employees, instead of employers.

Occasionally, Mike or I would ask our teachers why we never studied money and how it worked.

We often got the answer that money was not important, that if we excelled in our education, the money would follow.

My own dad — who was highly educated — never pressured me about my grades, but we did argue about money.

By the time I was 16, I probably had a far better foundation with money than both my parents.

I could keep books, I listened to tax accountants, corporate attorneys, bankers, real estate brokers, investors, and so forth. By contrast, my dad talked to other teachers.

Let me reiterate: education is important. Intelligence makes money. But it won’t necessarily help you keep it.

Financial literacy, knowing the assets you have — like the people you surround yourself with — is vital.

You may have heard about the importance of networking. Because sometimes it can come down to who you know.

Think about the people in your life — how they’ve supported you and what you’ve learned from them.

Some of the best education can come from who you surround yourself with.

A Lesson from Rich Dad

Surround yourself with men and women who are specialists: attorneys, accountants, brokers, and bankers… my wife and I have done the same.

My rich dad did this. I do it, too. Today, my team of Rich Dad Advisors are among my greatest assets.

What’s more important than money? An entrepreneur’s team…

Play it smart,

Regards,

James Altucher

Robert Kiyosaki

Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Chris Campbell

Written By Owen Sullivan

Owen Sullivan isn’t a millionaire or one of the Wall Street elite. He was just one of the many folks who was hit hard when the housing bubble burst… and decided he was never going to let that happen again. Since then, he’s worked with industry experts to develop strategies and techniques to bulletproof his finances — and yours — against the next crisis. His methods don’t require years of financial experience. These are simple strategies that anyone can follow. After all, financial prepping shouldn’t be reserved for a select few.