Thursday, August 2, 2007

Rich and Poor Filipinos

How reading Kiyosaki books can change perspectives...

Like most Filipinos, I grew up with a secret hatred towards rich Filipinos we see on TV and newspapers. The outlook on them I must say is not uncommon and often very vocal - these guys could have only been rich by exploiting in one way or another the rest us. They're tax evaders, cronies from the fallen dictatorship, criminals, politicians or puppet masters of politicians, etc.

But recently, loading my brain with all the Kiyosaki books and other books on wealth/prosperity, the old perspective in my head was disrupted. Are these "filthy rich" individuals such "bad guys", or are we just jealous of their success, that they can make it in this society where most fail miserably? Aren't these Lucio Tan's and Henry Sy's keeping the nation afloat and should we not actually appreciate them?

Before the Rich Dad books, I remember my father (though never a businessman) had once defined business as creation and exchange of value. My mother (neither a business person much less rich) had defined money as a tool for freedom. I was young then and I only knew money can buy me more transformers and GI Joe's.

But strangely, those two comments by my parents were never repeated again or expounded on when I grew up. And honestly, now that they make sense, I never actually saw my parents apply these important concepts about wealth.

So I read the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book and the succeeding books and even got the game and audio courses. (By the way I first resisted reading books for years because too many liked them and in that I thought anything mainstream was probably crap)

In summary, it took a lot of rereading of Kiyosaki and at an appropriate time in my life to realize that there are really more deeper, less obvious reasons why there are rich and why there are poor and middle class people. They do and more importantly think things differently. Of course, the blame will never end - we were born here, the government doesn't protect us, we didn't get the right education, and so on.

Kiyosaki had discussed how the Robbinhood myth and mentality had worsened the plight of the poor and middle class by putting the blame on the rich. In this way, have-not's don't do much to uplift their lives because the situation they're in is not their fault anyway. And historically, the author says, taxes were promoted by the poor and middle class to get back at the rich. Obviously, it backfired.

Also, Kiyosaki's "rich dad" perhaps cruelly said that it's the poor people who tend to be selfish and rich people who tend to be generous.

At some point we have to realize we will always have our freedom to change our lives and our lives can only change by changing first and foremost our thoughts. In the issue of wealth and poverty, we must change how we think about money and everything that is related to it.

For me, I'm willing myself to change these thoughts - it is impossible for me to be rich, it's too difficult, money is not important, having too much is evil, only those born into wealthy families can be rich.

I think now, instead of contempt for the rich Filipinos we must see their contributions to the economy, providing more jobs, businesses, money for NGO's, infrastructures and so on. But beyond all that and ultimately rich people show us that it is possible to make it in this world and how it's done.

Why the trouble? Yes, man does not live on bread alone, but in this world we all live in money can make it a hell of a lot easier to do what we really really want in life. And corny as it may be, when all the fear and stress and daily grind die down, we all in the end want to accomplish something positive and something beautiful.

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