The Money Mantra

 

Ever realized it? We are slaves. Slaves of our needs, our wants, our desires. Slaves of money. Only death can free us from this bondage…unless we humans, blessed with the ability to recognize our predicament and the intelligence to work our way out of this trap, do something before we lose out in the race to earn money, more money and still more money.

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It all began ten thousand years ago when our ancestors stopped hunting and foraging, and began growing crops. Food became plenty, the population grew, villages came into being. The fields required long gruelling hours of back-breaking work; grain had to be protected from theft, insects and vermin; cows and goats had to be tended; household chores had to be completed… In short, life began getting more and more complicated…

…and continues to this day. Every morning, millions of us around the world wake up, get dressed and leave for work. We work 50, 60, even 70 hour long weeks; come home, eat, and go to bed, only to begin the drill once again. Most of what we earn is spent on food, housing, education, health, entertainment. The fear of not having enough  money forces us to work more and more; the desire for better things pushes us harder and longer; caught in this web of fear and desire, we have become our own slaves.

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In the modern world, money has come to control our emotions, our lives, even our souls. So unless we give up everything and leave for the mountains, we WILL have to work ceaselessly to earn money till the day we die. Right? Robert T Kiyosaki, author of the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, disagrees.

I chanced upon the book on my son Akshay’s shelf. And found it very insightful… According to Kiyosaki, Money is Power. BUT: It should not control us. Rather, it should work for us. Only then can we gain power over money. Only then can we cease to be ‘highly paid slaves’ – a term he reserves for most of us caught in the humdrum of routine life.

Young millenials who are starting out in life can truly learn from Kiyosaki’s notions on how money works, and more importantly, how money can be made to work.

Kiyosaki’s mantra-tantra for making money is simple.

The Mantra: Learn how to manage money and make it work for you. The learning can take up to an entire lifetime.

The Tantra: Build assets. Reduce liabilities. Continue building the asset base till expenses get paid by income from assets. Then quit the rat race and work for joy.

Sounds simple. But easier said than done. So I explored some more. Let’s begin at the beginning.

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Kiyosaki says: To make money, spend your life buying or building assets. AND avoid notching up liabilities. Acquiring assets has a cumulative effect. Accumulate assets as you go on in life…Asset building makes prosperity achievable, for now and for years to come.

So build assets. From Day 1.

Most of us lead life just like everyone else. We begin work, get married, buy a house, a car, have children, travel; when earnings increase, we give in to our temptations ~ latest gadgets, bigger house, branded clothes, expensive jewelry… the spree carries on unceasingly. Our expenses take up all we earn, never allowing enough to be saved, to be invested in assets. To build wealth, one has to break off from the herd and channel a part of our income into assets.

But what is an asset? Quite simply, an asset is something that puts money in the pocket. It could be investments in financial markets, real estate (Note: the one which give returns), small businesses on the side, and anything else that produces income, or appreciates and has a ready market.

Most of us have been brought up to believe that a house (or an apartment) is the biggest asset one owns in life. We spend a large portion of our young working years saving up for that dream house, usually taking a huge loan… little do we realize that buying and maintaining a house can become a huge liability because it drains resources ~ resources which could be better and more productively deployed to generate money through investments. Kiyosaki warns against investing in liabilities which you think are assets!

This does not mean that one should not buy a bigger house. The decision needs to be deferred till one has sufficient returns from assets to pay for the house EVEN if this means waiting for a few years.

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Kiyosaki also talks about investing in assets, which to most of us, may not seem like assets. Our mind. Our single most powerful asset. When trained well, it can create enormous wealth.

Reading books and journals, joining training programs, attending workshops are all investments in developing our mind. Building our knowledge and skill set definitely helps to get a better job, invest better, and retain wealth better.

Inculcating self-discipline is equally important. Breaking off from the herd and foregoing material temptations requires immense self-control. Overcoming laziness, ousting arrogance… are essential too for our endeavors to succeed.

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Relationships are also assets. They may not directly put money in our pocket but can be a crucial link. Investing in relationships requires time, energy and money… so surround yourself with people who are more intelligent than you and experts in their fields so that you can access their knowledge and advice when required.

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Prioritize wants.

Nowadays, everything can be bought on credit ~ mobiles, laptops, equipment, bags, clothes! Anything can be ordered at a click of the mouse ~ even cars! After taxes and loan premiums, the month’s salary vanishes in paying for expenses, both essential AND nonessential. At times, one may actually need to take additional loan to get through the month. The question then is: how does one build assets when income barely covers expenses?

A common hindrance is the preconceived notion that buying assets requires a lot of money… but as the saying goes, little drops make the mighty ocean…

With limited income sources, building assets will need you to cut down on expenses. For the time being. So that money, little by little, becomes available for buying small assets. And then some more.

Don’t give in to desires! Finding strength of mind to forego things is key especially when others around you are ‘enjoying’ life. This should not be interpreted to mean postponing happiness for later… but redefining and realigning our priorities. As Kiyosaki says, the rich buy luxury last; the poor and middle class buy luxuries first. The rich build their asset base first and from the income generated from the assets, buy luxuries.

Once the assets start giving results, reward yourself with a luxury, but only then!

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Continue building the asset base.

Continue maximizing assets, minimizing liabilities. Continue investing income from initial assets to buy new ones. Continue keeping expenses less than income and sooner than we think, we are on our way to becoming rich.

By now, you will have the courage and self-confidence to look at more speculative investments and take calculated risks. This gives asset building and income generation a quantum boost. And remember, winners are not afraid of losing. Mistakes are actually good things if we find the lesson. People who avoid failure also avoid success.

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Work to learn.

Soon income coming in from the assets will begin to pay for expenses. According to Kiyosaki, prudently bought assets can take one to a stage when the income from assets pays for expenses entirely! AND also contribute to further building the assets! This, he says, is the point where money is working for you effectively!

The best thing about money is that it works 24 hours a day and can work for generations.

Now is the time to review and reassess your work situation. Tweak it so that it becomes even more commensurate with your purpose in life. More essentially, Kiyosaki recommends working to learn. Not working for money. He recommends young people to seek work for what they will learn, more then what they will earn.

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Be a generous giver.

Kiyosaki reserves this profound advice for the end.

Because giving brings joy, long lasting inner joy. It could be money, advice, or support in any form, or just about anything that can make us useful to others.

Giving gives us the opportunity to look beyond our own world, a perspective that can become one of our best investments. As the Chinese proverb goes: If you always give, you will always have.

Try it! It works!