In the opening monologue, the host ascribes as “garbage” the convention to:
“…save money and get out of debt and invest for the long term in a 401k. So if you’re teaching your kids to save money, go to school, get out of debt, buy a house, and invest for the long term in a 401k or trust that your company pension or your state pension plan is going to be there to save you, this program is for you.” (Robert Kiyosaki)
Hmm. So saving money and getting out of debt are not good things? I can certainly understand how putting your complete faith in 401k and pension plans is probably ill-advised and that home ownership as an investment is a dubious proposition. But saving and being debt-free is bad? I think what he really means is that it’s bad to save in US Federal Reserve notes, as the Federal Reserve seems to increase that supply with seeming reckless abandon, eroding the purchasing power of those notes over time.
The crux of the episode focused on the husband-and-wife team of Andy and Marcy Tanner and how they’re raising their two young boys to be financially literate. Mr. Tanner is the author of two books: 401(k)aos and The Stock Market Cash Flow. 401(k)aos seems to be a book describing deceptive practices in the 401k industry while The Stock Market Cash Flow appears to be more of a prescriptive book about how you can take advantage of the stock market.
The Tanners seem to do a lot of international public speaking and take their boys with them to speak in front of thousands. Learning to speak in front of crowds of adults by itself is certainly a great experience for their children. The family are also avid players of a game called Cashflow–I assume it’s this “Cashflow” game from the Rich Dad franchise, which they say is a chief instructional tool they use with their boys.
The episode then detoured from tools and techniques to teach our children about money to “those bums in Washington” and Wall Street. One term that kept coming up was Infinite Return. The best I could gather, Infinite Return is a technique, largely achieved in real estate investing, where you somehow invest no money in an asset and then turn around and sell the asset for an “infinite return” on your initial $0 investment. Tanner did make one observation that never occurred to me before: with 401ks, and probably most other investment vehicles, people invest their own money in these instruments. The 401k managers call this money “assets under management.” Those managers take a fee from the investors. Thus, this is a form of Infinite Return for the managers: they make no investment of their own capital and take none of the risk yet they make a return off the transaction all the same.
Taxation without representation
The conversation then shifted to the age disparity between the host and the two young guests. The host claimed that pension programs use, I guess, incorrect actuarial tables that expect most participants to die at age 70. Since people are living longer these days, retirees are drawing on these programs longer and shifting more and more burden on the young for support.
“One of the questions that was a real epiphany for the boys was: ‘David, are you old enough to vote?’ ‘No.’ ‘And Zach, are you old enough to vote?’ ‘Nope.’ So you guys didn’t get to vote for all this spending. You didn’t get to vote for these policies and, yet, you understand clearly that you’re going to have to pay for it.” (Andy Tanner)
“So if you didn’t vote for it and yet you have to pay for it, David, what’s that called? ‘Taxation without representation.'” (Andy Tanner)
Mr. Tanner off-handedly mentioned another tool, The Cashflow Quadrant, that he used as an initial teaching device to show the four different roles the kids could assume as they enter the workforce. Just this image alone seems like a powerful teaching tool I can use today.
Learn how to sell
“The most important skill of an entrepreneur is sales.” (Andy Tanner)
The Tanners raised their children to hone and enjoy the skill of sales. Lemonade stands advertised on Facebook became the boys’ training ground. With their profits, the boys invested in Disney and McDonalds stock. Then, after learning about the detrimental effects of inflation on their cash savings, they began purchasing silver. Lately, they’ve gravitated toward investing in real estate.
“One of the thing’s that’s fun is Mom and Dad will invest in bigger projects and you get to be part of that….We do have some real estate as a family–in a family trust–but you really want your own, don’t you?” (Andy Tanner)
Real estate in a family trust. Might be something good to remember.
The biggest asset of the US federal government
In closing, the host mentioned an astonishing statistic that, at first, I just couldn’t believe: at $1.3 trillion, student loan debt is the biggest asset of the United States federal government. What?! How can that be? How depressing!
More tools, please
So, this podcast episode was decent, I just wish the host and guests would have detailed more tools and techniques they use to educate their kids–particularly tools that aren’t part of the Rich Dad brand.