Well, here we are again. Another Sunday morning and another blog from your's truly. You know, I am enjoying my blogging routine. It forces me to connect a few words together and have a think about what's going on in the investing scene.
Throughout the week, I read all my favorite blogs and a bit of news just to keep my mind suitably lubricated with the general goings on in the SGX.
We've all seen the old Kung Fu movies with the master and the student. The bearded master sits crossed legged and in front of him, prostrate on the floor, is his student, obsequious and earnest.
'If you follow the path, Young Grasshopper, you will find the light.'
'Yes, Master. I will follow.'
Later, I want to share a financial version of this story.
Just to be clear to anyone reading my words for the first time, the purpose of this blog is to help others who, like me, feel a little intimidated by the array of investing information available out there in the blogosphere. My lighthearted musings hopefully provide you with an opportunity to sit back, smile and look at things from a slightly different angle.
Conversely, you may feel my words are lacking in the kind of intellectual clout you desire from a financial blog. If you feel this way, that's fine by me. There are plenty of blogs out there offering in- depth analysis and projections of how this or that stock is going to perform, and I read most of them. But I want my own little blog to me something different. I want it to be a place free from pretensions and mumbo-jumbo and be a space where people some to have a giggle and share some investing ideas.
Anyway, where's this blog going I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you a little story.
Here comes the Young Grasshopper bit.
Some years ago, I helped a high school student pass his IELTS exam. For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for The International English Language Testing System. It is the global benchmark for English language proficiency and is necessary for university entrance in Europe etc. After passing his test, my student trotted off to university, got a degree and then, out of the blue, 4 years later, arrived at my office all smiles. Of course, it was great see him again, and we shared our stories and laughed about the past. Then after a few beers, he mentioned being interested in investing but didn't know where to start. Could I help him, he asked.
A gong sound resonated in my head.
A-ha! Investing you say. Good man.
I've always wished I'd started investing younger. In fact, at 35 I was late to the feast. But here, sitting in front of me, a 23 year old was asking me how to get started in the investing game.
Exciting, don't you think?
Imagine being 23 again and simply tucking away a few hundred notes every month in some blue chip REITs, a index tracker or even some blue ship stocks! My goodness! The time you have on your side. By 35 you'd be well on your way to retirement and still fresh enough to enough all the wonders life throws at you. We've all read the blogs that show us the power of compounding over time and thought... if only I'd....
So, in the spirit of friendship and financial learning, I sent the young man a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad.
*Cue uncomfortable coughing and chair fidgeting at this juncture*
Now, some of you might bite back at me for this, stating the book is badly written or lacks detail, but I believe for the absolute beginner, this is a good starting point. The book shapes the novice's mindset into thinking about assets and liabilities. Also, it teaches the importance of saving and making money work in your favor rather than just letting it fester in a bank account. For that alone, it gets my vote.
I remember in early 2015, sitting reading a copy of the Major of Casterbridge and my wife sitting opposite absorbed in Rich Dad Poor Dad. She urged me to read it after her. I snubbed her request, for why would I spend my valuable free time reading such drivel when I have Thomas Hardy! This intellectual snobbery was the reason I got to 35 and invested nothing. Thus, when I started reading my wife's recommendation, I realized I was Kiyosaki's poor dad, well read, opinionated...broke. We could have been twins or doppelgangers! What a shock to the system this was.
For all those years I thought reading Dostoyeevsky, Hemmingway, Orwell, Hardy, Chekov etc. made me a better person, a superior being. After years of reading about murder, incest, love affairs, friendship, family, government etc. I felt like I knew it all. My ego bulged ever outwards.
'Rich Dad Poor Dad - you must be joking! I'm not reading that nonsense!'
But when I read it I got a shock. How could I have been so blinkered all those years? My myopic obsession with classic literature (not to mention philosophy) had made me arrogant, wordy and vague (as is still evident in my writing style - sorry folks)
Rich Dad opened my eyes and showed me a different way to live, think and experience the world.
For those who grew up with Rich Dads, you don't know how lucky you are. But for the rest of us, who had Poor Dads, a book like the above is necessary reading. We all have to start somewhere, don't we?
So, to wrap things up here, this is why I recommended Rich Dad Poor Dad to my very own Young Grasshopper. Not only will it change his mindset and show him the correct path (like it did for me) it will give him ideas and vocabulary, enabling the next step along the path to financial freedom.
This is something we all need and the younger we get it the better.