Mike suddenly stopped talking once he realized what he was saying. He realized that while he was living here, I was living on the other side of the island in drab military barracks.
"Im sorry," he said. "I...didnt mean to "
"No apologies necessary," I said with a grin. "Im happy for you. Im glad youre so wealthy and successful. You deserve it because you took the time to learn to run the business. Ill be out of the barracks in a couple of years as soon as my contract with the Marine Corps is done."
Rich dad, sensing the tension between Mike and me, broke in and said, "And hes done a better job than I have. Im very proud of him. Im proud of both my son and his wife. They are a great team and have earned everything they have. Now that youre back from the war, its your turn Robert."
May I Invest With You?
"Id love to invest with you," I eagerly replied. "I saved nearly $3,000 while I was in Vietnam and Id like to invest it before I spend it. Can I invest with you?"
"Well, Ill give you the name of a good stockbroker," rich dad said. "Im sure hell give you some good advice, maybe even a hot tip or two."
"No, no, no," I said. "I want to invest in what you are investing in. Come on. You know how long Ive known you two. I know youve always got something that youre working on or investing in. I dont want to go to a stockbroker. I want to be in a deal with you guys."
The room went silent as I waited for rich dad or Mike to respond. The silence grew into tension.
"Did I say something wrong?" I asked finally.
"No," said Mike. "Dad and I are investing in a couple of new projects that are exciting but I think it is best you call one of our stockbrokers first and begin investing with him."
Again there was silence, punctuated only by the clinking of the dishes and glasses as the maid cleared the table. Mikes wife Connie excused herself and took the baby to another room.
"I dont understand," I said. Turning to rich dad more than Mike, I continued, "All these years Ive worked right along side the two of you building your business. Ive worked for close to nothing. I went to college as you advised and I fought for my country as you said a young man should. Now that Im old enough and I finally have a few dollars to invest, you seem to hesitate when I say I want to invest in what you invest in. I dont understand. Why the cold shoulderare you trying to snub me or push me away? Dont you want me to get rich like you?"
"Its not a cold shoulder," Mike replied. "And we would never snub you or not wish you to attain great wealth. Its that things are different now."
Rich dad nodded his head in slow and silent agreement.
"Wed love to have you invest in what we invest in," rich dad finally said. "But it would be against the law."
"Against the law?" I echoed in loud disbelief. "Are you two doing something illegal?"
"No, no," said rich dad with a chuckle. "We would never do anything illegal. Its too easy to get rich legally to ever risk going to jail for something illegal."
"And it is because we want to always remain on the right side of the law that we say it would be illegal for you to invest with us," said Mike.
"Its not illegal for Mike and me to invest in what we invest in. But it would be illegal for you," rich dad tried to summarize.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because youre not rich," said Mike softly and gently. "What we invest in is for rich people only."
Mikes words went straight through me. Since he was my best friend, I knew they were difficult words for him to say to me. And although he said them as gently as possible, they still hurt and cut like a knife through my heart. I was beginning to sense how wide the financial gap between us was. While his dad and my dad both started out with nothing, he and his dad had achieved great wealth. My dad and I were still from the other side of the tracks, as they say. I could sense that this big house with the lovely white-sand beach was still far away for me, and the distance was measured in more than miles. Leaning back in my chair and crossing my arms in introspective thought, I sat there nodding quietly as I summarized that moment in our lives. We were both 25 years old but in many ways, Mike was 25 years ahead of me financially. My own dad had just been more or less fired from his government job and he was starting over with nothing at age 52. I had not even begun.
Copyright © 2000 by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
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