The book is the story of a person (the narrator and author) who has two fathers: the first was his biological father – the poor dad – and the other was the father of his childhood best friend, Mike – the rich dad. – The author presents six major lessons which he discusses throughout the book: The rich don’t work for money The importance of financial literacy Minding your own business Taxes and corporations The rich invent money The need to work to learn and not to work for money
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The author compares his poor dad to the millions of fathers who encourage their sons to do well in school so they could get a good job with a good company. Poor dad believed in the traditional principles of working hard, saving money, and not buying material things that one cannot afford. He believed that having a good job with a solid company is what one should aspire for; hence he expresses disappointment when his son leaves the employ of a large, reputable corporation.
Poor dad looks to education as the passport to success. He held a doctorate degree, went to Ivy League universities, but was always struggling financially. He believed he would never be a rich man and the author points out that this became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Poor dad was more interested in a good education than the subject of money. The author wrote that his poor dad would always say things like, “I’m not interested in money” or “money doesn’t matter.”
The author points out that poor dad was preoccupied with things like job tenure and security, Social Security, vacation and sick leaves, company insurance and salary raises and promotions. The author felt that his poor dad was more interested in these factors rather than on the job itself. This is what the author calls being trapped in the Rat Race. His poor dad worked hard incessantly but somehow never made it ahead financially.
Poor dad’s approach to the subject of money was based on working hard to have enough money to pay the bills (in contrast to rich dad’s approach to make one’s money work for him).
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The author wrote that it was when he was nine years old that he started realizing that his rich dad made much more sense than his poor dad. It was from rich dad that the author learned not to say, “I can’t afford it”, but instead to ask, “how can I afford it?”
He explains this principle by relating an incident when he and his best friend Mike went to work for Mike’s father. Rich dad paid them very low wages deliberately so that would stir anger and a sense of injustice in them and eventually for them to realize that in order to get ahead, one must work for himself and not for others. For example, in that part of the book when the author complains to rich dad that he can hardly afford to buy anything with the wages he is paid, rich dad tells him that he shouldn’t dwell on the fact that his wages are low, but instead ask “how can I make more money” because this stimulates the brain to take action. His rich dad says that when someone says, “I can’t afford it”, his brain stops working. It therefore kills initiative and promotes passivity.
The author adds that while his poor dad invested time and effort in education, he did not have any knowledge on investing. His rich dad, by contrast, was very skilled in the investment game because that’s all he did. The attitude of his rich dad about money was manifested in the saying “the lack of money is the root of all evil” (his poor dad, on the other hand, believed that the love of money is the root of all evil).
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According to the author, rich dad also nurtured the idea that taxes punished producers and rewarded the non-producers. He was the type who encouraged money talk at the dinner table and was portrayed by the author as someone who learned to manage risk, instead of not taking risks.
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