A few years back, I read a book by Robert Kiyosaki titled Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It taught me the importance of financial literacy and investing. As I mature into a young adult, I gained a different perspective on the book. The book doesn’t just highlight the importance of financial literacy and investing. It also hints at the the inherent differences in social capital that everyone has. Factors such as race, culture, gender and the social class you belong to. These factors can all affect the amount of social capital you have. Simply, the best reason to why you feel poor is because you were born poor. The world isn’t fair and you should accept it.
The amount of social capital you have influences your lives greatly. For example, Black Americans from a low-income families is far less likely to become successful when compared to White Americans from middle-income families. Similarly, students able to afford private tuition everyday have an academic advantage over those who are unable to. This is not to say that people with low social capital will never succeed, just statistically much more unlikely. So what can you do about it?
Acknowledge that you are disadvantaged or advantaged
We like to believe that society is based on meritocracy and that resources are fairly distributed. But often times, we lack the empathy to recognize someone else’s disadvantaged situation. For two student with the almost same grades. A has to work part-time to support his family, while B does not. Who will be admitted into university? The rules point to the person with the higher grade. But these rigid rules fail to acknowledge the differences in their social capital and circumstance. A few professors in my university have said that they would be willing to bend the rules for the disadvantaged student. But these cases rarely happens in reality.
Make full use of any help and support to climb the social hierarchy. Welfare supports, educational bursaries, scholarships, charities, anything! You can’t be afraid to seek help when you are in a disadvantageous position. If you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, count yourself lucky and please help others that are less fortunate.
Be content with what you have
I am a strong believer that wealth isn’t measured by the amount of cash/asset you hold, the amount of dividend you are generating, the size of your portfolio or the kind of car you are driving. Stop comparing what you don’t have and start treasuring what you have. The second noble truth of Buddhism states that “the cause of suffering is greed or desire“. Although I’m not a religious person. I think if we can apply some teachings of Buddhism, we can definitely lead a more fulfilling and wealthy life.
BUT! But! But! That is not to say that you should just laze around everyday. Our species have managed to survive for such a long time precisely because of our innate desire to improve our lives. To be the hunter and not the hunted. We need to keep our desires in check and make sure that it is not out of control, such that it becomes blind greed. It is a fine line between need and greed.
Manage you finances actively
It’s not uncommon to see lottery winners end up broke after striking the lottery. Some would say winning the lottery is actually more of a curse than a blessing. Imagine having only a few thousand dollars in your bank account for your entire life and suddenly obtaining a few million. You would not know how to deal with such a large amount of money and proceed to splurge on everything you have ever desired. The moral of the story is that spending gets you broke while saving makes you rich. If you lack the motivation to start managing your finances, look for people around you that suck at it and then at the people who are good at it. Afterwards, ask yourself who do you want to be like.
This is Bill
Bill prioritizes saving over spending and manages his finances
Bill is debt free and doesn’t spend money just to impress his friends
Bill lives within his means and saves up for retirement
Bill find happiness in non-material things and enjoys empowering others
Bill is content
Bill is happy
Be like Bill