Choice is the main reason people want to live in a free country.
We want the power to choose.
Financially, with every dollar we get in our hands, we hold the
power to choose our future: to be rich, poor, or middle class. Our
spending habits reflect who we are. Poor people simply have poor
spending habits. The benefit I had as a boy was that I loved playing
Monopoly constantly. Nobody told me Monopoly was only for kids,
so I just kept playing the game as an adult. I also had a rich dad who
pointed out to me the difference between an asset and a liability. So
a long time ago, as a little boy, I chose to be rich, and I knew that
all I had to do was learn to acquire assets, real assets. My best friend,
Mike, had an asset column handed to him, but he still had to chooseto learn to keep it. Many rich families lose their assets in the next
generation simply because there was no one trained to be a good
steward over their assets.
Most people choose not to be rich. For 90 percent of the population,
being rich is too much of a hassle. So they invent sayings that go: “I’m
not interested in money.” “I’ll never be rich.” “I don’t have to worry.
I’m still young.” “When I make some money, then I’ll think about my
future.” “My husband/wife handles the finances.” The problem with
those statements is that they rob the person who chooses to think such
thoughts of two things: One is time, which is your most precious asset.
The second is learning. Having no money should not be an excuse to
not learn. But that is a choice we all make daily: the choice of what we
do with our time, our money, and what we put in our heads. That is
the power of choice. All of us have choice. I just choose to be rich, and
I make that choice every day.
Invest first in education. In reality, the only real asset you have is your
mind, the most powerful tool we have dominion over. Each of us has the
choice of what we put in our brain once we’re old enough. You can watch
TV, read golf magazines, or go to ceramics class or a class on financial
planning. You choose. Most people simply buy investments rather than
first investing in learning about investing.
A friend of mine recently had her apartment burglarized. The
thieves took her electronics and left all the books. And we all have that
same choice. 90 percent of the population buys TV sets, and only about
10 percent buy business books.
So what do I do? I go to seminars. I like it when they are at least two
days long because I like to immerse myself in a subject. In 1973, I was
watching this guy on TV who was advertising a three-day seminar on
how to buy real estate for nothing down. I spent $385 and that course
has made me at least $2 million, if not more. But more importantly, it
bought me life. I don’t have to work for the rest of my life because of
that one course. I go to at least two such courses every year.
I love CDs and audio books. The reason: I can easily review what
I just heard. I was listening to an investor say something I completely
disagreed with. Instead of becoming arrogant and critical, I simply listened to that five-minute stretch at least 20 times, maybe more. But
suddenly, by keeping my mind open, I understood why he said what he
said. It was like magic. I felt like I had a window into the mind of one of
the greatest investors of our time. I gained tremendous insight into the
vast resources of his education and experience.
The net result: I still have the old way I used to think, and I now
have a new way of looking at the same problem or situation. I have two
ways to analyze a problem or trend, and that is priceless. Today, I often
say, “How would Donald Trump do this, or Warren Buffett or George
Soros?” The only way I can access their vast mental power is to be humble
enough to read or listen to what they have to say. Arrogant or critical
people are often people with low self-esteem who are afraid of taking
risks. That’s because, if you learn something new, you are then required
to make mistakes in order to fully understand what you have learned.
If you have read this far, arrogance is not one of your problems.
Arrogant people rarely read or listen to experts. Why should they?
They are the center of the universe.
There are so many “intelligent” people who argue or defend when
a new idea clashes with the way they think. In this case, their so-called
intelligence combined with arrogance equals ignorance. Each of us
knows people who are highly educated, or believe they are smart, but
their balance sheet paints a different picture. A truly intelligent person
welcomes new ideas, for new ideas can add to the synergy of other
accumulated ideas. Listening is more important than talking. If that
were not true, God would not have given us two ears and only one
mouth. Too many people think with their mouth instead of listening
in order to absorb new ideas and possibilities. They argue instead of
I take a long view on my wealth. I do not subscribe to the
get-rich-quick mentality most lottery players or casino gamblers have.
I may go in and out of stocks, but I am long on education. If you
want to fly an airplane, I advise taking lessons first. I am always
shocked at people who buy stocks or real estate, but never invest in
their greatest asset, their mind. Just because you bought a house or
two does not make you an expert at real estate.