Friday, 9 September 2011

Financial Education: Help Yourself!

Robert Kiyosaki has one glaring message. The U.S. needs financial education. Right now our education system is broken and nothing is being taught that prepares people for financial freedom. All of Robert's books are good and teach basics about financial education and the need for continuous learning. Rich Dad / Poor Dad is another famous book by this author. We will profile that book in a separate summary
The Cashflow Quadrant is a very important concept that people need to cement in their memory if they want to get a handle on financial freedom. The quadrant consists of the following:
1.) E - Stands for employee
2.) S - Stands for small business or self-employed
3.) B - Stands for big business (500 employees or more)
4.) I - Stands for investor
Traditional education prepares us for the E and S quadrant. The mantra has been go to school and then college to hopefully get a good job and save in a 401K for retirement. As many of you know this is not a good model in this day and age. On a side note, I was very fortunate to grow up with an excellent financial teacher. My father taught the principles that Mr. Kiyosaki teaches in his books Rich Dad / Poor Dad, The Cashflow Quadrant and this book Unfair Advantage. I can also tell you that most people are financially uneducated. Authors like Mr. Kiyosaki as well as Dave Ramsey are really needed and our doing what should be taught in our school system at a national level.
This can be answered by asking a few more questions. Do you know the difference between good debt and bad debt? Can you define an asset and liability in simple terms?
Do you know there are three types of taxes for income?
Good debt is anything that spits of positive cash flow and increases in value. Thus if you have a debt on a rental house that yields positive monthly cash flow then that is good debt. If you have credit card debt that you don't pay off each month then that is bad debt. In a nutshell, good debt makes you money and bad debt costs you money. Assets and liabilities! Anything that generates positive cash flow is an asset while anything that costs you money is a liability. Example: A business that generates monthly profit is an asset. Your home is a liability. I know many of you will disagree with this but your home costs you money each month. This is not a bad thing but because you need a place to live but it is a liability.
More reasons why this resonates with me, and hopefully does with you:
1.Knowledge - Knowledge put to use equates to power. There are several ways to make money be it in a business, real-estate, stock market, content creation, licensing deals, internet marketing or several other endeavors. The point here is that nothing happens without educating yourself. Warren Buffet the second riches man in the world is known for his constant reading and learning abilities. The premise of Unfair Advantage is with very high financial education, money flows in rather than out. You can pay zero in taxes and earn millions with very low risk by using other people's money in good or bad economics. This creates an extreme unfair advantage.
2.Taxes - Taxes are government incentives to get people to do what they want them to do. Thus because businesses create jobs and wealth, they have tax strategies as incentives to keep the economy going. There is one huge premise that people need to understand. I will lay out the difference. When you are an employee, you work, pay your taxes and then get your money to pay your expenses. When you are a business, you work, pay all your expenses and then pay taxes on what is left. This is totally legal and can boost rates of return legally. Remember one thing - Tax avoidance is prudent while tax evasion means jail time.
3.Debt - Good debt creates true wealth by allowing you to use OPM (Other People's Money). This is very powerful and requires discipline. This is one area I
wish this book talked about in more detail. Please note that debt used wisely can create leverage and unlimited wealth. To much debt used wrong can create financial ruin. Also, know that 85+% of the U.S. population has too much BAD debt. This is not what we are talking about. This needs to be taken care of as well to truly achieve financial freedom. The use of debt is an advanced strategy and needs to be used wisely which requires financial education.
4. Risk - The biggest risk in investing comes from the financially uneducated giving their money to financial planners and hoping things work out. This by far has caused large losses for people. Inflation is running rampant right now even though the government says it is not. This is a bigger risk for savers than taxes. Saving money as an investment is a bad idea because over time the value is eaten away through inflation. 401K's and mutual funds along with diversification are all pitched as NOT risky. This is furthest from the truth. 1. Mutual funds are subject to double taxes as well as fees which eat away at your returns. Also, you are not in control of your money. Note: This does not mean that ALL funds are bad. This is where financial education comes in. Several financial planners will tell their customers to diversify. According to Warren Buffet - "Diversification is a protection against ignorance."
5. Compensation - The rich don't work for money. Think about hard work for a moment. If you work overtime then you are trading hours for dollars. The problem becomes that your marginal tax rate increases as you make more ordinary income. Your overtime is taxed higher as you work more. I am not against hard work. Just make sure you couple it with SMART and RIGHT WORK as well. The rich work to buy assets that create cash flow. Your goal should be to have your money work harder than you do and make you more money as soon as possible.
What asset will pay for your liability? This concept was first covered in Rich Dad / Poor Dad. This simple question changes the whole frame of mind and if people followed it then they would be in much better shape financially. This means that if you want a new boat then what asset will pay for the boat? Once you grasp this simple idea then your world will change.

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Prep Your Mind, Up Your Luck

"How to Be a Billionaire" by Martin S. Fridson looks at the titans of wealth. It was published in 2000 so you won't see some of the new money from Google and Facebook in here but the principles are the same. Whenever you can leverage thoughts from such an elite group of people, it is worth it to take the time to study it.
Quick useless trivia stats to put in perspective how much a million, billion and trillion really are - If you were to count that amount of money and assume that you count $1 dollar every second then here is how it works out:
1. It would take you 12 days to count $1,000,000 dollars.
2. It would take you 32 years to count $1,000,000,000 dollars.
3. It would take you over 32,000 years to count $1,000,000,000,000 dollars.
Let's not even discuss the U.S. debt. I guess we should make all the politicians sit in the room and count until they hit it. It may be a more productive use of their time since they get so much done now!
These titans of wealth are the elite of money making humanity. This takes work. If you think of the best professional athletes then you will understand the dedication it really takes. Muhammad Ali started boxing at 10 years old and practiced his whole life. Boxing was his life's passion and it took that type of dedication to be the best. He did not just step in the ring one day and become the best. It took him years of self-sacrifice, dedication and sweat equity to get it done. The same is true for all the Billionaires profiled in this book. On the other hand, there is great knowledge to be used if your goals are big but maybe not that big. Let's say you want a more balanced life then you can still use these principles to make a ton of money and garner security and the good things that money can buy without pouring all of your time in the endeavor. The principles you will see in this book take OPM, OPE and OPT to the extremes.
This book is packed with principles used by different people to become billionaires. You may or may not agree, but the data is conclusive on their success. There are nine principles in total, but it is the first three that I'm going to focus on in this post for the sake of time and space.
1. Take Monumental Risks- "Fortune assists the brave" - H.L Hunt and John Kluge bankrolled their fortunes at the poker table. These men learned more about deals and money gambling then they did in traditional university. John borrowed $5000 from the bank and only used $1000 of it and then sold the business for $500,000. When he told the bank, the comment was "that is some leverage" - He asked - What is leverage? Years later he was sorry he asked. He amassed his fortune in Radio and LBO's (Leveraged Buyouts).
2. Do business in a new way - Sam Walton and Ross Perot both saw weaknesses in the market that they exploited. They built a culture of execution and market dominance. Wal-Mart may be the first company in history to generate $1 Trillion in revenue. This will summarize everything - According to Ross Perot - "The first EDSER to see a snake kills it. At GM, first thing you do is organize a committee on snakes. Then you bring in a consultant who knows a lot about snakes......Then you talk about if for one year." This is why Perot left GM after selling EDS to them.
3. Dominate your market - John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. Both were highly successful and dominated everything they touched. Both men created enemies and people ALWAYS questioned their tactics. With that aside you can't deny what they accomplished. They played to win. The story of Microsoft is one of shear dominance in the market. Gates exploited a whole and created an entire industry out of thin air. People questioned that Monopoly power that Microsoft had and they would be correct in pointing it out. This should be a goal of any entrepreneur - CONTROL YOUR MARKET. If you cannot be in the top 3 in your market then you need to get out of it. Gates lead Microsoft with razor sharp focus and expected the best. He leveraged his strength to branch into other profitable software markets. He read the encyclopedia cover to cover by age 11. You cannot deny his intellect.
How to be a billionaire is a simple road map to how the titans of business use certain strategies to amass fortunes. There is nothing better than investing a couple of hours and sucking out the knowledge of 300 man years of billionaire knowledge. This is, in my humble opinion, the best way to use leverage. That is OPE - leverage other people's expertise and use it for your own gain and to better society.
I hope you have found this short video summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.
One thing you can take away from this book is to buy low. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Invest the same way you buy groceries and good things will happen. One really good deal can have big effects.
I was really lucky in my business; we merged with a company that was going to be dissolved by a much bigger entity. We picked up the company for pennies and added to our team 3 professionals that will enhance us 10 fold. Be patient and keep your eyes open. 
"Luck favors the prepared mind."
Joe Mosed invites you to subscribe to to receive free video book summaries. Our vision at Success Progress is to provide relevant & meaningful content to our user community. To view the video summary of this article please visit