My lesson from Rich Dad, Poor Dad

by Jackie Costello

If you know me, you know that I LOVE to read. So much so that I get caught up in wanting to finish ALL the books and attempt to read three books at once. When I was a kid, instead of going to bed when I was told, I would turn off the light in my room and use a flashlight under a blanket to read (one of my three books from the library that week)

I have read 3 books by Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Business of the 21st Century, and Cashflow Quadrant and one by his wife Kim Kiyosaki, Rich Woman. The tag line from Rich Woman is “Because I hate being told what to do!”. No tag line from a book has ever resonated more with me. In fact my husband, Jimmy and I have a joke when he asks me to do something or vice versa we both say “don’t tell me what to do”. One of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur is making my own schedule, and is most entrepreneur’s reason for going into business for themselves. If you want to learn more about money, I would definitely suggest looking into the Kiyosaki’s books.

The below excerpt is from Robert Kiyosaki.

“For years, my rich dad groomed me to be a person who created businesses and business systems. The business I set up, in 1977, was a manufacturing company. We were one of the first companies to produce the nylon and velcro “surfer wallets” that came in bright colors. We followed that product with the “shoe pocket”- a miniature wallet, also made of nylon and velcro, that attached to the shoe laces of running shoes. In 1978, jogging was the new craze, and joggers always wanted a place to put their keys, and to carry money and ID cards in case they got hurt. That is why I designed the “shoe pocket” and marketed it to the world.

Our meteoric success was phenomenal, but soon the passion for the product line and business drifted away. It began to weaken once my little company began to be pounded by foreign competition. Countries like Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong were shipping products identical to mine and were wiping out the markets we had developed. Their prices were so low that there was no way we could compete. They were retailing products for less than it cost us to manufacture them.

Our little company was faced with a dilemma: fight them or join them. The partners realized we could not fight the competition. The companies flooding the market with cheap products were too strong. A vote was taken, and we decided to join them.

The tragedy was, in order to stay afloat, we had to let go of most of our faithful and hardworking staff. That broke my heart. When I went over to inspect the new factories we contracted with for our manufacturing in Korea and Taiwan, again my soul died a little. The conditions these young workers were forced to work in were cruel and inhumane. I saw five workers stacked one on top of the other, in a space where we would only have on worker. My conscience began to bother me deeply. Not only for the workers we let go in America, but for the workers overseas who were now working for us. Although, we had solved the financial problem of foreign competition and began making a lot of money, my heart was no longer in the business… and business began to sag. Its spirit was gone because my spirit was gone. I no longer wanted to become rich if it meant exploiting so many low paid workers.”

Robert is all about building a business and creating large profits, and financial freedom for himself. Yet, he understood that to have a business worth having it did not NEED to participate in slavery, child labor, forced labor, and unsafe working conditions. He knew that even if he was making profits, it did not mean participating in unethically running his business. Companies do not have to run business this way. Robert was talking about his business in 1977. That means we have had 42 YEARS to learn. 42 years to make a difference, yet here I am talking about the same problems going on in our world.

Currently, 3% of clothing is manufactured in United States.  In the 1960s, it was almost completely inverse. 95% of apparel was made in the United States until companies started thinking of profit over people. We are so much better than this. Why are all of the companies we shop from turning a blind eye to sweat shops? Is CEO’s profit the only one that matters?

This is something so obvious that is happening. Anyone that goes to look at the factories in China, Korea, Taiwan can see it as inhumane. Owners and CEO’s know and DO NOT CARE. As consumers, we continue to enable the companies by shopping more and in turn tellling these companies that what they are doing is OK.

Research the clothing before you shop. Look at your label. Vote with your dollar. The world is counting on it and so are your brothers and sisters around the world.

Shop clothes that are made in the US, fair trade clothing, or from thrift stores. We can all make a difference by changing small choices. What will yours choice be?

Until next time



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