A blog about my crazy misadventures in Southeast Asia, humanity, growth and the struggles that one encounters while traveling (like what to do when you have traveler's diarrhea and no toilet paper).
Thursday, February 27, 2014
How I Am Growing My Financial Brain
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” -Albert Einstein
While in my travels, I came across two incredibly influential books that are currently shaping my new financial brain. I want to recommend these two books, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, since they have truly changed my life, my perspective, and my life goals while on this trip. This topic may not be totally travel-relevant but I came across these books while traveling so I deem it relevant.
Never once did I come to India expecting to learn more about my culture, my country, and most importantly-our economy! It was the farthest thing from my mind when I left and the last thing in which I had any interest. I was expecting to learn about spirituality, traveling, others, and (of course) myself. But what I got was a crash course in overcoming obstacles produced by fears and an in-depth course in financial literacy (that I’m still currently in, actually) thanks to my good friend Clark. He brought this book on the trip with him and he recommended I read it when we were leaving Surat. Let me start by saying that Clark’s motivation, determination, and understanding of how money and millionaires work gave me a passion for tackling a subject I have vehemently disregarded for years now. His passion for being successful was contagious on the trip (and at home, really) and forever changed the direction of my life. If you are drinking a drink (alcoholic or non) while reading this blog, I want to celebrate in his honor for everything he’s done for me, so let’s all cheers together for Clark! **clink**
Now onto why I completely and utterly recommend these two books and how they changed my life. When I was in high school, my career path was supposed to look like this: go to school for nursing—>struggle financially while in school—->become a nurse—>become upper-middle class in San Diego—>all my money problems solved.
Easy, right? Isn’t that what they teach us? Go to school, get a job with benefits and security, work until you retire, then live off your pension you spent 35 years building. This was the ideal path during the Industrial Age. Now we are in the Information Age and career paths are different- mobile, fast-paced, ever-changing. Well, as many of you may know, life usually has different plans for us. Instead of that straightforward, easy path, mine looked like this: go to school—>study nursing—> get rejected from nursing school—>change major to psychology—> struggle financially—>graduate with no idea what to do with a psych degree—>continue bartending—> flounder—> stumble into social work—> make less money than bartending—>work both jobs for year and a half—> finally quit bartending—>buy new car—> get LASIK—>get laid off one month later. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! The universe was messing with me. Telling me to get my stuff together and pick a new direction; the path I was on wasn’t right. I took a month off from working to do some “soul searching” even though I was six feet deep in debt from the new car, insurance and LASIK. When I found a new, fabulous job working at an Ayurvedic spa the following month, I still felt like something wasn’t right. I was exhausted, emotionally, from struggling for so long. It had been two years since I graduated college and I was still struggling, still having the same problems I had in college–bottom line: I sucked, and have always sucked, at money management (and in delay of gratification). In all honestly, it was my fault for having so much debt but also a result of a disease of the middle class: buying on credit. (The rich don’t buy on credit, they wait till they have the money to buy something outright!)
So, fast forward to me selling everything I own, quitting my job, and traveling to Southeast Asia to figure out what the hell is wrong with my life (and ultimately, finding what’s right with it). Fast forward even farther to Kowboy handing me this book and flipping my world upside down. Up to this point, I felt simultaneously like a failure at money and the adult career track and a winner at following my dreams despite the odds against me. I knew I disappointed my parents by leaving my new, fully benefited job. I knew my closest friends and family doubted my decision and hesitantly offered encouragement. A part of me was afraid they were right: did I royally screw myself by throwing all caution to the wind and moving to India? For the first two months abroad, I constantly worried about money and worried about returning home and dealing with the financial mess I’d left. When I came across these books, they rocked my world by teaching me that I can solve my problems by learning the things I didn’t know about money and then applying what I learned. I learned I could fix my problems while still abroad by educating myself and could continue my travels.
Here’s WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: it explains the “myth” that is the American dream, “the rat race”, why the rich get richer while the poor and middle class get poorer. It was the biggest wake up call of my life: HELLO, Nicole, this is why you have been struggling, this is why you have terrible money management skills despite the best teachings, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!
He breaks down the difference between the “poor person mindset” and the “rich person mindset” and uncovers the loopholes the rich use to get ahead on taxes and investments. The mindset issue was the biggest lesson I learned (victim vs. opportunist). After reading this book, I launched into “money and emotions workshops” with Matt and Kowboy, really getting to the bottom of my biggest failure to date. Yes, money has been my biggest failure in my life. I would have never said this out loud three months ago and often got incredibly defensive when this subject was approached (especially by my parents). But now I understand that this is the area with the biggest room for improvement, one that I am learning much knowledge in so that I can continue my travels and continue onwards towards success. Failure=opportunity!
If you have been working for years and feel like you are stuck in the “rat race” and not actually living the life you want to be living, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!
Now combine the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series (there’s quite a few, starting from beginner and going to advanced depending on how much you want to learn about winning at the economy game) with “Think and Grow Rich” and you are golden. This book gives you a formula for making what you desire a reality. It is a bit dated in examples (it was written well over 25 years ago) but it is still extremely relevant in today’s world. The hardest part about making money (especially while on the road) is thinking. Thinking of ideas that can make you money that are outside of “go get a job from an employer”.
Now, how are these revelations play a part in my life? First, the things I want to do in life are not necessarily supported by a typical “day job” which are: travel, teach yoga and dance classes, and be a writer. Basically, I want to work for myself without owning my own business. This is where the knowledge of passive income (stocks, real estate income, interest, etc.) from Rich Dad, Poor Dad comes into play as it takes time to write a book and teaching dance/yoga isn’t exactly a lucrative business (unless you do it right!). The rich make money work for them, they don’t work for money. Once I learned this, it opened my whole world up as I was able to finally accept my dreams as a reality. The things I want to do won’t necessarily support a family or build enough income alone to have when I’m older so I was feeling like I was going to be broke and in debt forever until I came across these books.
I really hope you take the time to read the books and that they change your life the way they changed mine. Whatever your passions are, whatever your dreams are, you can make them your reality. Money always follows passion- remember that! Don’t choose your career based on money, choose it based on passion and money will follow. Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with. If my life isn’t the life you want, don’t take advice from me. But always do what you are passionate about-we only have this life, why waste it?