All debt is bad debt, right? Wrong. If you want to get rich and retire young you need to know how to use leverage – be it bank debt or other types – to get ahead of the pack. That’s what top financial educator Robert Kiyosaki teaches by showing you how the rich use businesses, real estate and paper assets to create wealth, and explain the fundamentals of using leverage to build wealth.
According to Robert, author of the bestselling Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books, there’s a very simple difference between good debt and bad debt. Good debt puts money in your pocket every month. Bad debt takes money out of your pocket every month. Most people know bad debt from mortgage, car, holiday and other repayments. But how many know about good debt – loans that deliver monthly income and even tax breaks from investments in property, business, shares and other assets?
In other words, debt is a form of leverage. Just like a crow bar or any other lever, it can make you stronger than you really are.
Just look at Australia’s billionaires. Frank Lowy, who is worth $3.5 billion, didn’t build his Westfield shopping centres using his own money. He borrowed money from banks and investors to fund ever more ambitious developments. Today, those centres generate enormous amounts of cash every month, which he uses as collateral against bigger loans for even bigger developments. After a recent US deal, Westfield will own 108 shopping centres and other assets in four countries worth $30 billion. Not bad for a man who immigrated to Australia with nothing 50 years ago. That’s the power of leverage.
Kerry Packer built his $6 billion fortune both by leveraging other people’s money and the Nine Network television licence he inherited from his father. Another billionaire, cardboard box magnate Richard Pratt, recently leveraged his political clout to secure a $40 million grant from the government to build a paper mill in Tumut, NSW. Gerry Harvey, worth $1.3 billion, has leveraged debt, investors and the power of his company’s brand and distribution network to build his Harvey Norman retail chain.
So, leverage isn’t always about money. It’s also about leveraging your mind, your health and time, your relationships with others and the tools you have available. Leverage is all around us. We leverage our cars to move faster. We leverage phones to save us time. We leverage medicines to stay healthy. Yet most of us fear leveraging money itself!
As Robert’s rich dad often told him: “The poor and the middle class have a hard time getting rich because they try to use their own money to get rich. If you want to get rich, you need to know how to use other people’s money to get rich…not your own.”
Putting it another way, he said: “Who is going to get richer in the long run? Someone who works for all their lives trying to save a million dollars? Or someone who knows how to borrow a million dollars at 10 per cent interest and also knows how to invest it and receive a 25 per cent return on that borrowed million dollars?”
Overcoming our fear of debt, while also learning how to use debt wisely, is the most important first step to learning how to get and use good debt. If you don’t believe you can be rich, if you see all debt as bad or all investing as risky, then you are not even open to the possibility of using leverage to get rich and retire early.
This is where Robert Kiyosaki can help you. He knows that most forms of leverage are double-edged swords. That’s why he says: “Leverage is power…and power can be used, abused or feared. We should treat debt as we would a loaded gun, very carefully. Debt, like a loaded gun, can help you and it can kill you…regardless of who’s handling it. Treat all debt as dangerous just as you should consider all guns dangerous.”
What Robert does advise is: “Get educated and learn how to use debt wisely.” In addition to explaining the basics of getting money and investing it intelligently, he explains the importance of having a fast plan for achieving wealth – and sticking to it!
“The idea of working all your life, saving and putting money into a retirement account is a very slow plan. It is a good and sensible plan for 90 per cent of the people. But it is not a plan for someone who wants to retire young and retire rich.”
In a set of statistics that blew me away, he adds that a US Government survey found that by age 65, and for every 100 people, 36 were dead, 54 were living on government or family support, 5 were still working because they must, 4 were well off and only one was wealthy.