My “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” Experience

Joseph Meyer
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Starting Off

Let me start off by telling you a little about my experience growing up in Hawaii. Being the firstborn son of a fourth generation Japanese family, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be brought up in a close-knit and traditional Japanese family environment. My parents were strict: they expected me to complete my homework on time, study hard, and live up to my family’s expectations.

When I was younger, I wasn’t very motivated in school and my grades weren’t that great. Mostly Cs, a few Ds, and maybe an occasional B. I might have been okay if I had continued on that path, but then something happened … my Grade 10 Geography teacher said something that really resonated with me.

The topic that day in class was the economic cycle. My teacher explained what the business cycle was and how if you know how far along the business cycle was, you could make a lot of money by timing your investments correctly.

I was intrigued by the lesson and decided to read more on the topic. I found out that you could track the business cycle using the monthly publication called Business Week. I started reading the magazine cover to cover and when I had finished reading it, I started looking at other financial magazines such as Fortune and Inc.

First Year Success

I was motivated to work hard and excited about making a lot of money for the first time in my life. My “rich dad” gave me the encouragement and the mentoring I needed.

Decisions, decisions.

When I was younger, I thought my “Rich Dad” was a pretty cool guy.

He asked great questions, made me think more deeply than I ever had before, and taught me basic lessons that I had never considered. In the process of working for my “Rich Dad,” I learned a lot about how money works and why saving money is so much harder than spending it. I learned a lot about my own personal financial failings and why it was almost impossible for me to stop making poor financial decisions.

I remember one conversation in particular that taught me a lot. I was working in the mailroom of a real estate company, and I must have said something about how hard it was to keep my checking account anywhere near the amount I was saving for a new bicycle.

“So why don’t you just save for the bike?” my “Rich Dad” asked me as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Because I don’t have the cash to pay for it in advance,” I replied.

“Do you have the cash to pay for it on credit?”

Second Opinion

This is the story of how my “rich dad” turned my life around. I formally met him in 2000 when I was still pretty young and foolish. It was a time when I had just quit my job with the idea that I was destined to be rich that year, all by myself. That was the first year I made a good amount of money. The story starts from there.

I was waiting for a bus in the downtown area of Santa Barbara, California, when I saw a large gentleman standing next to me with a clipboard in his hand. I wondered what this guy was doing, just standing around with a clipboard. He looked at me waiting for the bus.

“Are you the new bridge and highway guy for the gas company?” he asked me.

I looked over at him and said, “No, you got the wrong guy. I don’t work for the gas company.” I was irritated and didn’t even want to think about work.

“Don’t you work for the gas company?” he asked again.

“No, sir. I am a software engineer,” I responded.