The plight of the working class

By Ryan Phillips 

For those of you unfamiliar with the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” series written and published by Robert Kiyosaki, it is a series of financial books contrasting the philosophies of the “Rich Dad and the Poor Dad.” If you’ve read my previous columns, it is probably of little surprise that the Poor Dad is a product of the educational system, while the Rich Dad is an independent thinker who believes in making your money work for you.

I’ve noticed that our society is becoming more and more focused on job security and pension programs. The concept of big ideas has become scarce as people are overly afraid of risk. Instead of using their talents to earn money, they use them to earn money for other people. This trend is killing capitalism in the United States.

It is sad that in an educated country, our consumer spending habits are so terrible that we are spending more money than we make. We have adjustable mortgage problems and unmanageable credit card debt. If this trend continues, it will simply be impossible for some individuals to earn enough money to even pay off the interest on their credit cards.

The ideas that Kiyosaki expounds upon are to think independently, to not fear having big dreams and ideas and to make your income work for you through investments. While his book was a on the New York Times Best Sellers List, his ideas are not being enacted in society.

The problem is that most people are either unmotivated or lack the foresight to reach their potential. It is easy to find a job, make rent money and live an okay life.monet tree

It is not my place to judge anyone’s decisions. However, the distance between the rich and the poor will continue to grow. I realize political scientists and the like have been saying this for years, but it is becoming evident that the middle class may vanish entirely. Not to mention a ridiculously small percentage of Americans are thinking big and trying to reach the American Dream, while others are satisfied being content with mediocrity.

Kiyosaki’s books are a perfect start for someone who is motivated and wants to achieve more out of his or her financial life but doesn’t know how to go about it. They explain the difference between assets and liabilities, not in accounting terms, which are meaningless to finance, but in an easy-to-understand way that clarifies what you should be aiming for.

Clearly, Kiyosaki’s books do not fit in with the underlying theme of Las Vegas: That is to buy stuff you can’t afford and then figure out a way to pay for it later. “The Rich Dad Poor Dad” book stresses earning interest on your income and then taking that income to pay for things you want.

If you aren’t earning a decent amount of money off of interest, then don’t buy a new Lexus. At the very least, don’t agree to monthly payments off of the assumption that in the future you will earn the income to pay for it.

There are more investment opportunities today than ever before. The Internet has made real estate, stocks and trade more accessible than ever. Many people are engaging in these activities, which I definitely think is a step in the right direction, but these people could think bigger. They could be designing new outlets.

I realize this is difficult and thinking up billions of ideas isn’t an everyday occurrence, but at the very least, people could be thinking with this state of mind. It is nice to buy things that you want, and while being patient is no longer fashionable, the current spending habits simply cannot last.

A new option must be presented, and Kiyosaki’s idea of earning income off of income and gaining the original income through independent thought and opportunity is a great starting point. Working a nine-to-five job and retiring should not be the main option for college students. It should be a back-up plan.

A friend recently told me that we are so obsessed with security that, “We’ve become more afraid of living than dying.”

In a strictly financial sense, I believe the average person is overly worried about risk. Sometimes the best career move that ever happens to a person is when they get fired because then they can find job opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have considered.

Most people flounder in jobs because they don’t know any better. They live paycheck to paycheck and they can’t afford to quit a job and try and find a better one.

A possible reason for this is overspending. The prospect of not having to worry about money far outweighs the need to buy a car a couple of thousand dollars more than I can afford. And while saving up a couple of thousand won’t make you rich, you’d be surprised how much of a start it is.