Tuesday, August 12, 2008

3 Plans

I've been re-reading pretty much all of Kiyosaki's books lately. I just finished "Cash Flow Quadrant" and now I'm on to "Guide to Investing."

It's made me re-think the 3 plans for financial core value choices rich dad and Kiyosaki mention. The plans are:

1. To be secure.
2. To be comfortable.
3. To be rich.

Every person has their own definition of what it means to be #1, #2, and #3. This is very important because it examines your financial core values and just what kind of life you want to live.

I thought it was interesting that rich dad advised Kiyosaki that all 3 plans are important, and you first have to accomplish #1 and #2 before #3. Each one relies on the prior. If you want to have a life of the rich (#3), you have to have a plan for security (#1), comfort (#2) and being rich (#3). And, if you want to have a life of comfort (#2) you have to have a plan for security (#1)and comfort (#2). If you just want a life of security (#1), then you just have to have a plan for security (#1).

Kiyosaki's initial goal was #3. But, when he got to #3 and became a millionaire he lost it all. He then goes on to state that after this experience he revised his plan to include being rich and also being financial free, thus #1 and #2.

So, I've been thinking about my 3 plans and what they mean to me. Here's what I came up with:

1. To be secure.

For me being secure means having enough passive income to cover my expenses. This is my first goal. I am almost halfway there and should be half through with this goal by the end of the year. By the middle of next year, I will have completed this goal.

2. To be comfortable.

For me being comfortable means doubling the passive income coming in from #1. Being comfortable means being able to live a nice life with nice things. This is what most people strive for.

3. To be rich.

Being rich to me is having unlimited passive income coming in and having freedom to do anything I want at any time. Of course, within legal means ;) I don't really want to put a # or price tag on being rich because that is limiting to me.

Being financially free is not just about money to me. It's about having the freedom and the time to do other things I want in life besides just working for someone else. It's sad that we work 80% of our lives and only enjoy 20%. (aka Pareto's 80/20 principle).

Working for someone else is making someone else rich. People think what I'm doing is too hard. Just like Kiyosaki, I've gotten the "...why don't you just get a high paying job OR go get your MBA? Or, "...your making life so hard on yourself, it'll be easier to just go get a job."

Yes, the above statements is what everyone else does and considered the easier road to take. But, I believe everyone has their own path in life. Just because everyone else is taking the same path does not mean I have to. Mine just happens to be different.

Though it's been a lot of hard work and taken up a lot of my time, I know what I am working for will pay off in the end.I always come back to the statement,

"Success is a journey, not a destination."

It is the journey and the experiences and lessons I learn along the way that are invaluable. And, that is priceless.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pacific Heights

I saw the movie, "Pacific Heights," again. This is known as the movie to watch if you ever decide to be a landlord. Basically, it's a landlord's worst nightmare - having the worst possible tenant. Landlord beware. It's funny b/c some people think the things that happen in the movie are ridiculous but being in the business some of this stuff has happened in real life. Seriously. I've heard the craziest horror stories from people who've had tenants from hell. The hardest part is getting them out. Once they're out, the worst is over. But, most people don't know how to get them out - that's the trick to it ;) (In all honesty, the secret is screening and knowing the laws and your rights).

This is a must watch movie for anyone wanting to get into landlording. Probably what this film has taught me is:

1. Don't overleverage yourself. You must be cashflowing from the start. (These people were negative cash flow from the beginning. Thus, the desperation in having to find tenants to make the mortgage).

2. Always know the laws and your rights.

3. Screen, screen, screen because "...a vacant house is better than having a problem tenant."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

After years of investing, I decided to read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" once again. It's always interesting reading something again. This time around, a lot of what was said made more sense to me than the first time around. Here are a few things that stuck out:

"The rich buy assets. The poor only have expenses. The middle class buys liabilities they think are assets."

So, in order to be rich, then all we need to do is buy assets? Wow! It sounds so easy. If it's so easy, why aren't we doing it?

It stems from the fact that people lack financial education. People do not know the difference between an asset and a liability. Most people think assets are "things" that have value. If we learn to see an asset as something that puts $ in our pocket and a liability as something that takes $ out of our pocket (as the book says), it would make things so much easier.

But, it's hard to change people. The most important thing people can do to change their situation is to put time to improve their financial education. Most people do not. Knowledge is power.

That is why I am dedicating my time into my financial education and building up my asset column. Over time, I know it will pay off. Most people my age think that I am working too hard and that I should enjoy my youth. I keep hearing the phrase, "You might die tomorrow!"

Many people do not see the problem we are facing - our financial futures are in danger. Why? We live in a society that expects too much from others and when our expectations are not met, we find someone to blame. So, what happens when someone is laid off from a company after almost 20 years of service? That person gets angry and is left with no income coming in. They either have to find another job or live with what they have saved up in the bank. And most cases, people do not have much saved.

The reality is that we are poorly educated financially because of the archaic school system. The adage of "go to school, get good grades and get a good job with a good pension are long gone". It's not going to happen anymore - people are living longer, costs are rising and companies can no longer afford to pay people who are no longer working for them. The numbers simply do not work.

Most people I talk with will give me every excuse in the book not to invest. Most will say they do not know where to start, they do not have $ to invest, their too young, or they plan to work.

Usually, I tell them the best thing they can do is to start putting in the time into their financial education and start reading books and/or attending seminars. Most times nothing happens. Why? Fear and greed. The problem is everyone wants to make $ and they want to make $ fast but they are afraid to make mistakes. If people cannot make $ fast and not make any mistakes, then they shut themselves off. Honestly, I've never met anyone successful who has never made a mistake. I've made plenty. We all learn from our mistakes.

As it says in the book, this is the problem we have and it plays on the two emotions of fear and greed. People are so fearful of losing $ investing or not having a secure job. So, they end up working and in working the greed sets in. People buy things on credit they cannot afford. In order to pay for these things, they have to work. Thus, the cycle begins.

After reading the book again, it's amazing to see how fear and greed take over people's lives. Sometimes it irks me when people ask me how they can be rich fast. I tell them there is no "get rich quick" way to make $. Everything takes time and work. But, over time the work will pay off. Usually, I get blank stares. And, most people go back to their usual life and end up in the "rat race" for the rest of their lives.