My Rich Dad, My Poor Dad

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, a fantastic book by Robert Kiyosaki. It’s one of the best inspirational books on financial education I’ve come across. In fact, you can check out my review for the book here. The book mirrors my own life surprisingly well, and I felt an instant connection with almost everything the author said. Why, you ask?

Well, while reading this book, I realized that I have a prime case study in my own family – specifically, in the example of my father-in-law and my own father. These two father figures in my life are similar in many ways:

  • Both are physicians that finished their training in the late 1970’s.
  • Both have extremely hard work ethic.
  • Both work in well-paid specialties.
  • Both are the sole bread winners for their families.
  • Both have several children that they helped put through school.
  • Both love going on family vacations.

But there are a few ways in which they differ, mainly:

  • My own father invested purely in the stock market.
  • In contrast, while my wife’s father invested somewhat in the market, he put more money into direct ownership of real estate.

Can you guess whom I consider my “Rich Dad” and who is my “Poor Dad?”

Well, honestly, neither is truly “poor.” Neither of their families have ever experienced what it is to go hungry and both my wife and I feel like we had amazing childhoods. We’re both extremely grateful for what our fathers and mothers have provided for us growing up. The word “poor,” then, is a relative term.

For our purposes, the title of “Poor Dad” falls to my own father for a couple different reasons:

  • Though approaching seventy years of age, he’s still working. He still enjoys his work, certainly, but he isn’t quite ready to stop because he’s not sure he’ll have enough to last throughout his retirement.
  • He’s endured some level of financial stress throughout the last decade or so as he’s changed practices a few times.
  • He’s worried about being in another “bubble” and how this upcoming election will affect his portfolio and retirement.

By contrast, consider my rich dad:

  • He receives passive income from multiple rental properties—income that far exceeds his physician’s salary. Because of this, he works for the pure enjoyment of it, and has been doing it this way for years, really decades. Needless to say, retirement income is not an issue for him.
  • His only real concern is how he’ll pass along his real estate portfolio.
  • Is able to travel how often and how much he’d like and isn’t dependent on the income “lost” from not working.

Obviously, there are a lot of nuances to the story, and it’s not entirely cut-and-dry. For one, my father didn’t invest heavily in index funds. Rather, individual stocks made up the majority of his portfolio.

All I know is that I saw both of them go through the crash of 2008 and the recession that followed. I watched my poor dad sweat bullets as a huge portion of his portfolio and nest egg disappeared. All while my rich dad continued to get checks every first of the month. He didn’t enjoy watching his portfolio’s value decrease, but he knew it really didn’t impact his life.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad has shaped my investment strategy into what it is today, especially as a doctor myself. Not just the book, either. My own family has provided an example of both ends of that spectrum. I’ve realized that monthly cash flow brings true security, both now and in the future. This monthly cash flow can be derived from real estate, business ventures, dividends from your portfolio, etc. Appreciation in value of any real estate or stock portfolio then become purely all gravy.

While our definitions may be relative, I can tell you from my own family experience that the right investments can truly make the difference between being “rich” and being “poor.”

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