Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rich Poor Dad

Last night I attended a workshop sponsored by Rich Dad. It was a great event with an inspiring speaker, though I did not enroll in their course. Previously I attended the stock investing course and I was curious to see if there was anything new. There were a lot of different people in the room; well-dressed professionals in their long sleeves and ties, housewives, retirees and some unemployed or would be entrepreneurs in shorts. The speaker was good, likely a professional presenter or a sales man selling a well-known product. The event went like clockwork, like a Hollywood affair, with a video show, a slick master of ceremony in coat and tie and finally the main speaker, a smooth African-American from Chicago. This was the last Southern city in their itinerary, swinging to cities along the I-85 corridor, from North to South Carolina. The core message was always the same, serving as a re-fresher for me, similar to touching base on my financial strategy; a combination of Robert Kiyosaki and Warren Buffet, to get into investing, owning a business and avoid relying on a 9 to 5 job.

Earlier that day, I fulfilled my yearly contribution to my Roth IRA, buying a few shares in Bank of America, Xerox and Nokia, very small amounts but still following the strategy. In the seminar, a high school teacher sat beside me and we talked in the parking lot after the show. He was familiar with Kiyosaki’s work although he took down notes in his iPad during the seminar. Together with his wife, he owned a couple of rental properties and was the image of the Kiyosaki acolyte; teach the famous quadrant and play the Cash flow game with his students. This is the true message of Kiyosaki, to teach financial literacy, which may turn out to be the most important education that one can have, a fact focused in the video where a list of successful and wealthy people who did not complete college, flashed by: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Henry Ford and so on.  The lessons sprang forth in the room, lecturing to the chorus it would seem as most people where familiar with the message. Somehow I was reminded of MLK speaking in his Baptist ministry, but now the lesson was all about money.

I had attended 3 similar sessions before, read 5 Rich Dad books and attended 3 or 4 online seminars so I did not feel excited. Rather I felt tired and realized the con game being played; hoping that I would not see any colleagues from work, realizing that I should have known better and avoid the sleazy pitch that every hard working person knows; there is no short cut or secret knowledge that one will get from paying this sort of money. But even the con artist is feeling the pitch because the company is really a financial education company – not really a seller of a product like those old snake oil sales men but a seller of knowledge. The old price was about $ 1500 for a 3 day course, now down to $ 200 and you can bring your spouse, too. Now that is a bargain but the cynical can also see that this is not a bad idea – bring the spouse to increase one’s financial literacy and avoid divorce where the number one cause is money. Then again it was really a smart pitch to sell during these difficult times and a few went up and enrolled, afraid of missing the discount when enrolling early.

I was just glad that I could attend some interesting lectures this week and see all these good speakers and get a brief opportunity to speak in public myself. I guess it is a welcome break as I am getting too anxious at my work. Yesterday some exchange of email got me stressed, thinking that the writer was out to get me, not respecting my rights and belittling me. Last night I applied cognitive therapy and thought that maybe this person is expressing a legitimate concern, hammered by the troublesome application we turned over a few months back. I guess he was just concerned about his job and I should have done better in communication. I always re-interpret emails in the wrong way, thinking of darker motives, feeling embattled and sorry for myself. One can never be silent but speak out in a controlled and well thought out way, not to lash out and strike everyone. This will be the greatest challenge in my new work, to be smart and to discern the true meaning of their message which is sometimes difficult to do, considering all our different background and training. But communication is key and one should be careful especially when driven by emotions.

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