Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Life Or Fiction?

I've been playing the game Cashflow 101 a lot lately. If you are unaware, Cashflow 101 is a game that was created by Robert Kiyosaki to use as a tool for teaching the general public about investing. But can a game really teach how to invest in the real life?

Mr Kiyosaki's game as a few advantages. Firstly as described in the cone of learning, there are a few ways of learning, each with different success. The study shows that we retain less in passive forms of learning such as reading, listening to a lecture, to watching a demonstration as oppose to an active form of learning such as giving a talk, simulation to doing the real thing.

The best way to learn is by doing the real thing. But if we are uneducated, there can be serious risks in trying to learn to invest by trial and error. Which is the next best advantage of the game, it provides a safe environment to simulate deals in investing. That is the reason, Cashflow 101, is used as a training tool.

You start by randomly selecting a "life", you may be a Doctor to a Mechanic. Your income and expenses will vary depending on your job. Although a Doctor as a much higher income, he also as substantial student debts and lives in a more expensive house then the Mechanic. Very much like real life. We tend to live at the extreme of our means. When our income increases, so does our style of living.

From there we fill out a financial statement to match the "life" we picked. Even when they were deeply into debt, Robert and his wife Kim, always employed the use of an accountant to know what there exact financial situation was. When facing difficult financial times, most of us try to ignore the issues and hope things will work out. Robert and Kim chose to look at the problem head on in order to find a solution.

The game start in the inner circle called the rat race. As described by Wikepidia:
A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit. It conjures up the image of the futile efforts of a lab rat trying to escape while running around a maze or in a wheel. In an analogy to the modern city, many rats in a single maze expend a lot of effort running around, but ultimately achieve nothing (meaningful) either collectively or individually. This is often used in reference to work
We work hard long hours for the goal of a paycheck. We then spend that paycheck to acquirer the things we need or want and then have to do it all over again to maintain that life style. That is an honorable way of living. The only problem is that if something happens and the employment is terminated for whatever the reason, it becomes impossible to maintain our life style. Many of us, following this life style, will never be fully prepared to retire, let alone retire comfortably.

The goal of the game is to escape the rat race by becoming financially independence. To accomplish that, the player needs to accumulate enough passive income to cover their total expenses. Passive income will come in the form of the cashflow of rental properties and/or businesses.

When someone new starts to play cashflow for the first time, they automatically play the game the same way they live their lives. Non-investors concentrate on small deals and only use the cash they have on hand to secure investment. In that manner, they will probably be able to secure a few small investments but they would need to play for a very long time in order to secure enough for their financial independence. In comparison to real life, if following that tactics, the course of our professional life will have ended before accumulating the necessary cashflow. Although, any passive income is good and will offer some financial relief.

The more they play, new players will discover that in order to exit the rat race, they will need to acquirer more capital to purchase the deals or to get comfortable with debt. Very much like investing in real life. Robert Kiyosaki as made using debt very uncomfortable by making the interest rate at 10% a month. That's right, a month! That would be 120% a year. That portion of the game is a little unrealistic, but the purpose of this is to get the players to really confront their fear of debt. The biggest obstacle in being successful investors is our mindset, and fear and doubt will keep our mindset on the wrong side of the quadrant (see this past post to learn more about the different cashflow quadrant).

I have taken many different investment courses now, in both the financial market (stocks) and for real estate investing. Still, I try to play the Cashflow game weekly. You see, seeking financial freedom and embracing debt to reach that goal if very much against the normal way of thinking. I use the Cashflow game as a way to keep my mind sharp in figuring out creative solution to acquire investment deals, as well as keeping my  mindset on the right track.

I strongly recommend you play the game as often as you can. Change the rules around a little to keep the play interesting and challenging. You may want to join a Cashflow Club. They can be found in almost every city around the world.