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Chapter 8

Overcoming Obstacles

Once people have studied and become financially literate, they may still face roadblocks to becoming financially independent. There are five main reasons why financially literate people may still not develop abundant asset columns. Asset columns that could produce large sums of cash flow. Asset columns that could free them to live the life they dream of, instead of working full time just to pay bills. The five reasons are:
1. Fear.
2. Cynicism.
3. Laziness.
4. Bad habits.
5. Arrogance.

Reason No. 1. Overcoming the fear of losing money. I have never met anyone who really likes losing money. And in all my years, I have never met a rich person who has never lost money. But I have met a lot of poor people who have never lost a dime. . .investing, that is.
The fear of losing money is real. Everyone has it. Even the rich. But it's not fear that is the problem. It's how you handle fear. It's how you handle losing.  It's how you handle failure that makes the difference in one's life. That goes for anything in life, not just money. The primary difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they handle that fear.
It's OK to be fearful. It's OK to be a coward when it comes to money. You can still be rich. We're all heroes at something and cowards at something else. My friend's wife is an emergency room nurse. When ; she sees blood, she flies into action. When I mention investing, she runs'j away. When I see blood, I don't run.  I pass out. My rich dad understood phobias about money.  "Some people are terrified of snakes. Some people are terrified about losing money. Both are phobias," he would say. So his solution to the phobia of losing money was this little rhyme: "If you hate risk and worry. . .start early."
That's why banks recommend savings as a habit when you're young. J If you start young, it's easy to be rich. I won't go into it here, but there is a large difference between a person who starts saving at age 20 versus age 30. A staggering difference.
It is said that one of the wonders of the world is the power of compound interest. The purchase of Manhattan Island is said to be one of the greatest bargains of all time. New York was purchased for $24 in trinkets and beads. Yet, if that $24 had been invested, at 8 percent annually, that $24 would have been worth more than $28 trillion by 1995, Manhattan could be repurchased with money left over to buy much of L.A., especially at 1995's real estate prices.
My neighbor works for a major computer company. He has been there 25 years. In five more years he will leave the company with $4 million in his 401k retirement plan. It is invested mostly in high-growth mutual funds, which he will convert to bonds and government securities. He'll only be 55 when he gets out, and he will have -a passive cash flow of over $300,000 a year, more than he makes from his salary.  So it can be done, even if you hate losing or hate risk. But you must start early and definitely set up a retirement plan, and you should hire a financial planner you trust to guide you before investing in anything.
But what if you don't have much time left or would like to retire early? How do you handle the fear of losing money?
My poor dad did nothing. He simply avoided the issue, refusing to discuss the subject.
My rich dad, on the other hand, recommended that I think like a Texan.  "I like Texas and Texans," he used to say.  "In Texas, everything is bigger. When Texans win, they win big. And when they lose, it's spectacular."
"They like losing?" I asked.
"That's not what I'm saying. Nobody likes losing. Show me a happy loser, and I'll show you a loser," said rich dad. "It's a Texan's attitude toward risk, reward and failure I'm talking about. It's how they handle life. They live it big. Not like most of the people around here, living like roaches when it comes to money. Roaches terrified that someone will shine a light on them. Whimpering when the grocery clerk short changes them a quarter."
Rich dad went on to explain.
"What I like best is the Texas attitude. They're proud when they win, and they brag when they lose. Texans have a saying, "If you're going to go broke, go big. You don't want to admit you went broke over a duplex. Most people around here are so afraid of losing, they don't have a duplex to go broke with."
He constantly told Mike and me that the greatest reason for lack of financial success was because most people played it too safe.  "People are so afraid of losing that they lose" were his words.
Fran Tarkenton, a one-time great NFL quarterback, says it still another way: "Winning means being unafraid to lose."
In my own life, I've noticed that winning usually follows losing. Before I finally learned to ride a bike, I first fell down many times. I've never met a golfer who has never lost a golf ball. I've never met people who have fallen in love who have never had their heart broken. And I've never met someone rich who has never lost money.
So for most people, the reason they don't win financially is because the pain of losing money is far greater than the joy of being rich.   Another saying in Texas is, "Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to die." Most people dream of being rich, but are terrified of losing money.  So they never get to Heaven.
Rich dad used to tell Mike and me stories about his trips to Texas. "If you really want to learn the attitude of how to handle risk, losing and failure, go to San Antonio and visit the Alamo. The Alamo is a great story of brave people who chose to fight, knowing there was no hope of success against overwhelming odds. They chose to die instead of surrendering. It's an inspiring story worthy of study; nonetheless, it's still a tragic military defeat. They got their butts kicked. A failure if you will. They lost.  So how do Texans handle failure? They still shout, 'Remember the Alamo!'"
Mike and I heard this story a lot. He always told us this story when f he was about to go into a big deal and he was nervous. After he had done all his due diligence and now it was put up or shut up, he told us this story.  Every time he was afraid of making a mistake, or losing money, he told us this story. It gave him strength, for it reminded him that he could always turn a financial loss into a financial win. Rich dad   I knew that failure would only make him stronger and smarter. It's not that! he wanted to lose; he just knew who he was and how he would take a loss. He would take a loss and make it a win. That's what made him a winner and others losers. It gave him the courage to cross the line when others backed out. "That's why I like Texans so much. They took a great failure and turned it into a tourist destination that makes them millions."
But probably his words that mean the most to me today are these: "Texans don't bury their failures. They get inspired by them. They take i their failures and turn them into rallying cries. Failure inspires Texans to ' become winners. But that formula is not just the formula for Texans. It j is the formula for all winners."
Just as I also said that falling off my bike was part of learning to ride. I remember falling off only made me more determined to learn to ride. Not less. I also said that I have never met a golfer who has never lost a ball. To be a top professional golfer, losing a ball or a tournament only inspires golfers to be better, to practice harder, to study more. That's what makes them better. For winners, losing inspires them. For losers, losing defeats them.
Quoting John D. Rockefeller, "I always tried to turn every disaster ' into an opportunity."
And being Japanese-American, I can say this. Many people say that Pearl Harbor was an American mistake. I say it was a Japanese mistake. From the movie Tora, Tora, Tom, a somber Japanese admiral says to his cheering subordinates, "I am afraid we have awakened a sleeping giant." "Remember Pearl Harbor" became a rallying cry. It turned one of America's greatest losses into the reason to win. This great defeat gave America strength, and America soon emerged as a world power.
Failure inspires winners. And failure defeats losers. It is the biggest secret of winners.  It's the secret that losers do not know. The greatest secret of winners is that failure inspires winning; thus, they're not afraid of losing.  Repeating Fran Tarkenton's quote, "Winning means being unafraid to lose." People like Fran Tarkenton are not afraid of losing because they know who they