How to Build Wealth Through Your Business

Key to Financial SuccessEvery week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with @theRealKiyosaki.  Robert T. Kiyosaki is best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. This is the #1 personal finance book of all time, which has challenged and changed the way tens of millions of people around the world think about money. Robert is an educational entrepreneur, co-creator of the CASHFLOW® board game, founder of the financial education-based Rich Dad Company and author of multiple New York Times Bestsellers including: Conspiracy of The Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money, and Unfair Advantage. For more info, visit

SmallBizLady: What is the difference between good debt and bad debt?

Robert T. Kiyosaki:  Debt becomes good or bad based on how the money is used. If the borrowed money is simply spent on consumption—a vacation, jewelry, or shoes that you charge on your credit cards—then that is bad debt. The car loan that you write a check for each month is bad debt.

Debt becomes good or bad depending on who pays for it. Bad debt is debt that you pay for out of your own pocket. Good debt is debt that someone else pays for you. An example of good debt is when you borrow money to grow your business and pay that debt back out of positive cash flow from the business. Or, if you manage the property well, then the rent from the tenant pays the monthly mortgage payment. That is good debt.

SmallBizLady: How do words make you rich or poor?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: Words are tools. Since words affect our minds, they are some of the most powerful tools invented by humans, which is why we must choose our words carefully. When my rich dad wouldn’t allow me to say “I can’t afford it”, he was enforcing his belief that words can steal your power and make you weak. Instead, we were to ask ourselves “How can I afford it?” and challenge our brains to expand our means. The words we choose – and use – either opens our minds or closes them… make us feel powerful and creative or powerless victims of life. That’s the power of words.

SmallBizLady: Why do you say that savers are losers?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: I have been harshly criticized for saying, “Savers are losers.” In the year 2000, the price of gold was less than $300 an ounce. Today, gold is over $1,200 an ounce, which is yet another reflection of the loss in the purchasing power of the dollar. At the same time, banks are paying less than 2% interest on savings while inflation runs at 5%… although the government claims there is no inflation. That is why “Savers are losers.” It’s simple math: $1,200 for an ounce of gold is greater than $300 an ounce. Inflation at 5% is greater than 2% interest on your savings. You do not need algebra or calculus to figure out that money sitting in a bank is losing value, thus “savers are losers.”

SmallBizLady: How much do I need to save for retirement?

Robert T. Kiyosaki:  None! In order to know how large of a savings ‘nest-egg’ you’ll need, you’ll need to know three things: How long will you live? How will inflation increase? What will the various markets do?

These answers are impossible to know. You are gambling with your future.

But, if you stop saving, and start buying cash flow assets, your problem is solved.

By purchasing cash-flowing assets you could build a pipeline of cash flow for life—a pipeline that would produce cash in good times and bad, in market booms and market crashes. Your cash flow would increase automatically with inflation and, at the same time, allow you to pay less in taxes. You can survive at your current standard of living for as long as you live, whether you work or not.

SmallBizLady: You are famous for saying your house is not an asset. Can you explain this?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: My poor dad often said, “My house is an asset.” And my rich dad would say, “Your father may be a highly educated man, but his house is not an asset. It’s a liability.”

Millions of people are poor or struggle financially simply because they use “poor” or incorrect words. Millions of people struggle financially because they refer to their “liabilities” as “assets”.

Rich dad’s definitions were simple. They were:

  • Assets put money in your pocket.
  • Liabilities take money from your pocket.

Your house costs utilities, taxes, probably a mortgage, but makes you nothing. It takes money OUT of your pockets. On the other hand, a properly run rental house will put money IN your pockets.

SmallBizLady: What do you mean when you say that debt is the fastest way to wealth?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: The more debt you use, the more assets you can buy, which make you more money.

And since dollars are taxed and debt is tax free, which makes more sense to learn to use? As inflation goes up, doesn’t it make more sense to learn to use debt to acquire assets—assets that are likely to go up in value with inflation and provide cash flow?

To me, it makes more sense to learn to use debt than to get out of debt.

SmallBizLady: You say the rich do not work for money? What do they work for?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: The poor and the middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them. The rich work to build assets. Assets make money. That money then buys more assets. That money is now working for you. You are not working for money. Your money, through buying cash flowing assets, is making you more money. Your money is working for you.

SmallBizLady: What is the number one shortcut to starting a business?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: Since our schools do not teach a person much about entrepreneurship, the question is, how does a person get the education and experience to be successful as an entrepreneur? I recommend finding someone who has succeeded at your dream. Make them your mentor. I had rich dad as my coach and a mentor. Don’t worry. If you do not have a rich dad, then the second solution would be to find a business course. Be picky and make sure the course you find comes with a coach or mentor.

SmallBizLady: You said that entrepreneurship is the way to save the economy. Why?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: I’ve just seen a horrible statistic about the layoffs and unemployment problem. I’m not talking about the lies our governments feed us. I’m talking about the true numbers, and they are not good. I think we all know people who have lost their job and been unable to find another, or found another job but it pays far less. We all know the economy is worse off than they are saying.

If you expect the government to solve your problems, you have a problem. The problem is that the governments of the world are broke. Rather than be the problem, become part of the solution: Become a true capitalist, focusing on giving more to receive more.

SmallBizLady: What is the key to success?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: The key to success is education. Education can come in many forms: Mentors, coaches, books, seminars, but my favorite is through games and doing. Games are great simulators. Games are a reflection of behavior. They are also a safe way to practice and experiment. It’s why I made the CASHFLOW board game and why we are making mobile games for smart phones. Learning through doing is learning from mistakes. The ability to learn from one’s mistakes is probably the best way to learn.

SmallBizLady: Why do so many entrepreneurs fail?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: Many people say that two things stop most new entrepreneurs: The lack of capital and the lack of real-life business experience. From my own experience, I would add a third item:  The lack of emotional maturity and strength of character.

The lack of emotional maturity and strength of character is the main reason why people fail as entrepreneurs. While almost everyone has the ability to become an entrepreneur, not everyone needs to become an entrepreneur. And for many there are easier ways to live life and so they quit before they give themselves a chance to succeed.

SmallBizLady: What is one final piece of wisdom for entrepreneurs?

Robert T. Kiyosaki: “You can’t do a good deal with a bad partner.” These words could be the most important words in life, not just in business. Whenever you find a struggling business, a bad marriage, or an investment gone bad, you will find a bad partner.

This does not mean the person is a bad person, although they could be. It just means they are a bad partner, the wrong person for the task at hand. If you have bad partners, whatever you touch will turn bad. And if you have great partners, everything you touch turns to gold.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter. Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat:

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