Making The Grade

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.

Show him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

And if you want to be financially set for life, be the one who supplies the fish, poles and tackle to everyone else.

That’s the lesson we need to start teaching our kids, according to author Robert Kiyosaki, who’s also penned the bestselling Rich Dad, Poor Dad series.

“The world of the future belongs to those who can embrace change, see the future and anticipate its needs and respond to new opportunities and challenges with creativity and agility and passion,” says Kiyosaki.

So are we preparing our kids for that future? Are we training them to be employees or entrepreneurs? Are we teaching them to climb or build corporate ladders? And are we showing them how to work for money or have money work for them?

Kiyosaki says we need to stop telling our kids to go to school to get a good job. The focus should be on going to school to learn how to create high-paying jobs.

“The problem is that our educational system trains students to be ‘A’ students — academics — or ‘B’ students — bureaucrats. Our schools do not train our young people to be ‘C’ students — capitalists. Furthermore, it’s these ‘C’ students who so often follow an entrepreneurial path, carrying the torch of capitalism and creating new jobs.”

Kiyosaki says capitalism gets a bad rap thanks to the greed and self-interest of CEOs and senior executives behaving badly. “Many of our brightest students go on to business schools, graduating with MBAs and begin to climb the corporate ladder as employees, not entrepreneurs. It is these managerial capitalists, typically ‘A’ students, who land high-paying jobs, who give capitalism a bad name.

“As managerial capitalists, they have responsibilities, but take no personal financial risks. They get paid whether they do a good job or bad job.”

So how do we save our kids from becoming financially needy and greedy grown-ups?

Give your kids a head start and unfair advantage with a solid financial education at home, says Kiyosaki. Prepare them for the real world of money in which financial statements matter far more than report cards. Make income, expenses, assets and liabilities the foundation of their financial vocabulary. And foster their entrepreneurial spirit.

Reading Kiyosaki’s book and playing Monopoly are good places to start.

“Every child has the potential to grow into a rich person, a poor person or a middle-class person,” says Kiyosaki. “Parents have the power to influence which one their child becomes.”