This post originally “came out” October 27, 2021 for National Mentoring Day. And we’re bringing it back for Father’s Day 2022. Both holidays remind me of the famous book by Robert Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” In it, the author tells about his two “father figures.”
Cue the 1987 George Michael flashback. 🙂
Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad Poor Dad
One of Kiyosaki’s fathers he was born to; the other father was his friend’s dad and became a mentor to him. One father followed the traditional route of school, college, student loan debt, 9-to-5 job. The other father lived a blue-collar lifestyle, invested in real estate, and always lived within his means.
Spoiler alert: Robert Kiyosaki’s mentor, the blue-collar father, accumulated wealth from delayed gratification, living scrappy, and investing in real estate over time. Meanwhile, his other father followed the debt trap of spend-more-than-you-make and work-until-you-die. Despite making a decent salary, his poor dad was always struggling to make ends meet.
My Own Father Figures
I was lucky that while growing up, I saw the model of extreme frugality in my biological dad and also, saw the Hustle of entrepreneurship embodied by my stepdad. While working full-time as a cop, my stepdad also volunteered for extra shifts, maintained a couple rental properties, and operated a vending machine business on the side to bring in extra money.
Fast forward to today, and it’s in my DNA to push beyond the basics of what a 9-to-5 can provide. By seeing my stepdad’s multiple streams of income lifestyle, I witnessed how success was available to those who were willing to put in a little bit extra sweat equity.
From Peers to Mentors
This philosophy of emulating others goes beyond mentors, too. It extends to peers. There’s a saying that we are the average of the five people we hang out with most.
So I ask you, “Who are your Five?” Are they positive, fun-loving, and financially secure?
How about your mentors? Who is currently shaping your financial DNA?
To give a shout-outs to a few recent mentors in my own life:
- Ali and Alison Walker. This lesbian couple from All Options Considered reached out to me after learning there was a newbie in the LGBT personal finance space, and they’ve been amazingly loving and supportive ever since.
- David and John. The gay couple behind the Queer Money podcast have been at it for nearly a decade, creating valuable content for the LGBT community that I believe is on par with any show on NPR. And as a brand that’s partnered with Capital One, they’ve been an inspiration to me of what’s possible.
- Eric Collins. We met at an after-hours mixer during FINCON21 and I’ve been inspired by his story of picking up and taking his life around the world, working as a digital nomad. Because this is something I’d like to do someday myself, it’s been great to hear his interviews with people doing just that in his podcast Nomad on FIRE.
- Lee Huffman. After FINCON21, I was paired up with Lee as a blogging mentor. The things he’s learned from his blog and podcast WeTravelThere have given me a nice boost to shortcut the normal trial and error of the learning process.
And in my local peer group, I have to mention a handful of people who are pros at staying positive as we celebrate each other’s successes:
- Jeff and Charles
- Carlos C.
- Dan W.
- Irene K.
- Mike P.
- Michael S.
- Kelly H.
Seek and Ye Shall Find
If you don’t have many options for likeminded friends and mentors, I have a few recommendations:
- Expand your social circle. I had to cut ties with a couple people in my life during COVID. They spent a lot of money, drank a lot, and were constantly dismissive of my successes anytime I tried to celebrate a milestone with them. As a friend of mine put it, not everyone is a vibrational match for our inner circle, but maybe they’re a better fit for our outer circle. I knew that by cutting ties it would free up my time and mental energy, and also, it would allow me to attract new friendships that were more aligned with my values. If this idea resonates with you, check out a meetup group in your area to find people who can encourage and inspire you. ChooseFI has done an excellent job of organizing the FIRE community to help us find others who are part of our tribe. You can also use a personality-focused dating app like Hinge to make new friends who are likeminded.
- Virtual mentoring. There are so many content creators in the podcast, YouTube, and blogosphere. All that’s waiting is to find the personality who resonates with you and will inspire you to take action. If you’re new to the Financial Independence (FI) community, I’d recommend watching the “Playing with FIRE” documentary for an introduction to some of the biggest names in the FIRE community. That and many other resources to get you plugged in are linked on my Resources page.
- Learn by doing. It’s said that the best way to learn something is to teach others. One thing that forced me to learn a topic quickly so I could share it with others in the form of a speech was Toastmasters.
With the two opposing father figures from Rich Dad Poor Dad, the drastic difference in role models to pick from as peers and mentors, and with National Mentoring Day right around the corner, I just have one question for you…
Who’s your daddy?