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Lesson Four:The History of and The Power of Corporation
I remember in school being told the story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. My schoolteacher thought it was a wonderful story of a romantic hero, a Kevin Costner type, who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. My rich dad did not see Robin Hood as a hero. He called Robin Hood a crook.
Robin Hood may be long gone, but his followers live on. How often I still hear people say, “Why don’t the rich pay for it?” Or “The rich should pay more in taxes and give it to the poor.”
It is this idea of Robin Hood, or taking from the rich to give to the poor that has caused the most pain for the poor and the middle class. The reason the middle class is so heavily taxed is because of the Robin Hood ideal. The real reality is that the rich are not taxed. It’s the middle class who pays for the poor, especially the educated upper-income middle class.
Again, to understand fully how things happen, we need to look at the historical perspective. We need to look at the history of taxes. Although my highly educated dad was an expert on the history of education, my rich dad fashioned himself as an expert on the history of taxes.
Rich dad explained to Mike and me that in England and America originally, there were no taxes. Occasionally there were temporary taxes levied in order to pay for wars. The king or the president would put the word out and ask everyone to “chip in.” Taxes were levied in Britain for the fight against Napoleon from 1799 to 1816, and in America taxes were levied to pay for the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
In 1874, England made income tax a permanent levy on its citizens. In 1913, an income tax became permanent in the United States with the adoption of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. At one time, Americans were anti-tax. It had been the excessive tax on tea that led to the famous Tea Party in Boston Harbor, an incident that helped ignite the Revolutionary War. It took approximately 50 years in both England and ‘• the United States to sell the idea of a regular income tax. ; What these historical dates fail to reveal is that both of these taxes were initially levied against only the rich. It was this point that rich dad wanted Mike and me to understand. He explained that the idea of taxes was made popular, and accepted by the majority, by telling the poor and the middle class that taxes were created only to punish the rich. This is how the masses voted for the law, and it became constitutionally legal. Although it was intended to punish the rich, in reality it wound up punishing the very people who voted for it, the poor and middle class.
“Once government got a taste of money, the appetite grew,” said rich dad. “Your dad and I are exactly opposite. He’s a government bureaucrat, and I am a capitalist. We get paid, and our success is measured on opposite behaviors. He gets paid to spend money and hire people. The more he spends and the more people he hires, the larger his organization becomes. In the government, the larger his organization, the more he is respected. On the other hand, within my organization, the fewer people I hire and the less money I spend, the more I am respected by my investors. That’s why I don’t like government people. They have different objectives from most business people. As the government grows, more and more tax dollars will be needed to support it.” My educated dad sincerely believed that government should help
people. He loved John F. Kennedy and especially the idea of the Peace Corps. He loved the idea so much that both he and my mom worked for the Peace Corps training volunteers to go to Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. He always strived for additional grants and increases in his budget so he could hire more people, both in his job with the Education Department and in the Peace Corps. That was his job.
From the time I was about 10 years old, I would hear from my rich dad that government workers were a pack of lazy thieves, and from my poor dad I would hear how the rich were greedy crooks who should be made to pay more taxes. Both sides have valid points. It was difficult to go to work for one of the biggest capitalists in town and come home to a father who was a prominent government leader. It was not easy knowing who to believe.
Yet, when you study the history of taxes, an interesting perspective emerges. As I said, the passage of taxes was only possible because the masses believed in the Robin Hood theory of economics, which was to take from the rich and give to everyone else. The problem was that the government’s appetite for money was so great that taxes soon needed to be levied on the middle class, and from there it kept “trickling down.” The rich, on the other hand, saw an opportunity. They do not play by the same set of rules. As I’ve stated, the rich already knew about corporations, which became popular in the days of sailing ships. The rich created the corporation as a vehicle to limit their risk to the assets of each voyage. The rich put their money into a corporation to finance the voyage. The corporation would then hire a crew to sail to the New World to look for treasures. If the ship was lost, the crew lost their lives, but the loss to the rich would be limited only to the money they invested for that particular voyage. The diagram that follows shows how the corporate structure sits outside your personal income statement and balance sheet.
How the Rich Play the Game
Is reduced/diminished by expenses Assets ————————————————> Income (through personal corporation)
It is the knowledge of the power of the legal structure of the corporation that really gives the rich a vast advantage over the poor and the middle class. Having two fathers teaching me, one a socialist and the other a capitalist, I quickly began to realize that the philosophy of the capitalist made more financial sense to me. It seemed to me that the socialists ultimately penalized themselves, due to their lack of financial education. No matter what the “Take from the rich” crowd came up with, the rich always found a way to outsmart them. That is how taxes were eventually levied on the middle class. The rich outsmarted the intellectuals, solely because they understood the power of money, a subject not taught in schools.
How did the rich outsmart the intellectuals? Once the “Take from the rich” tax was passed, cash started flowing into government coffers. Initially, people were happy. Money was handed out to government workers and the rich. It went to government workers in the form of jobs and pensions. It went to the rich via their factories receiving government contracts. The government became a large pool of money, but the problem was the fiscal management of that money. There really is no recirculation. In other words, the government policy, if you were a government bureaucrat, was to avoid having excess money. If you failed to spend your allotted funding, you risked losing it in the next budget.
You would certainly not be recognized for being efficient. Business people, on the other hand, are rewarded for having excess money and are recognized for their efficiency.
As this cycle of growing government spending continued, the demand for money increased and the “Tax the rich” idea was now being adjusted to include lower-income levels, down to the very people who voted it in, the poor and the middle class.
True capitalists used their financial knowledge to simply find a way to escape. They headed back to the protection of a corporation. A corporation protects the rich. But what many people who have never formed a corporation do not know is that a corporation is not really a thing. A corporation is merely a file folder with some legal documents in it, sitting in some attorney’s office registered with a state government agency. It’s not a big building with the name of the corporation on it. It’s not a factory or a group of people. A corporation is merely a legal document that creates a legal body without a soul. The wealth of the rich was once again protected. Once again, the use of corporations became popular-once the permanent income laws were passed- because the income-tax rate of the corporation was less than the individual income-tax rates. In addition, as described earlier, certain expenses could be paid with pre-tax dollars within the corporation.
This war between the haves and have-nots has been going on for hundreds of years. It is the “Take from the rich” crowd versus the rich. The battle is waged whenever and wherever laws are made. The battle will go on forever. The problem is, the people who lose are the uninformed. The ones who get up every day and diligently go to work and pay taxes. If they only understood the way the rich play the game, they could play it too. Then, they would be on their way to their own financial independence. This is why I cringe every time I hear a parent advise their children to go to school, so they can find a safe, secure job. An employee with a safe, secure job, without financial aptitude, has no escape.
Average Americans today work five to six months for the government before they make enough to cover their taxes. In my opinion, that is a long time. The harder you work, the more you pay the government. That is why I believe that the
idea of “Take from the rich” backfired on the very people who voted it in.
Every time people try to punish the rich, the rich don’t simply
comply, they react. They have the money, power and intent to change things. They do not just sit there and voluntarily pay more taxes. They search for ways to minimize their tax burden. They hire smart attorneys j and accountants, and persuade politicians to change laws or create legal loopholes. They have the resources to effect change.
The Tax Code of the United States also allows other ways to save on taxes. Most of these vehicles are available to anyone, but it is the rich who usually look for them because they are minding their own business. For example, “1031” is jargon for Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, which allows a seller to delay paying taxes on a piece of real estate; that is sold for a capital gain through an exchange for a more expensive piece of real estate. Real estate is one investment vehicle that allows such a great tax advantage. As long as you keep trading up in value, you I will not be taxed on the gains, until you liquidate. People who do not take advantage of these tax savings offered legally are missing a great opportunity to build their asset columns.
The poor and middle class do not have the same resources. They sit there and let the government’s needles enter their arm and allow the blood donation to begin. Today, I am constantly shocked at the number of people who pay more taxes, or take fewer deductions, simply because they are afraid of the government. And I do know how frightening and intimidating a government tax agent can be. I have had friends who have had their businesses shut down and destroyed, only to find out it was a mistake on the part of the government. I realize all that. But the price of working from January to mid-May is a high price to pay for that intimidation. My poor dad never fought back. My rich dad didn’t either. He just played the game smarter, and he did it through corporations-the biggest secret of the rich.
You may remember the first lesson I learned from my rich dad. I was a little boy of 9 who had to sit and wait for him to choose to talk to me. I often sat in his office waiting for him to “get to me.” He was ignoring me on purpose. He wanted me to recognize his power and desire to have that power for myself one day. For all the years I studied J and learned from him, he always reminded me that knowledge was power. And with money comes great power that requires the right knowledge to keep it and make it multiply. Without that knowledge, the world pushes you around. Rich dad constantly reminded Mike and me that the biggest bully was not the boss or the supervisor, but the tax man. The tax man will always take more if you let him.
The first lesson of having money work for me, as opposed to working for money, is really all about power. If you work for money, you give the power up to your employer. If your money works for you, you keep and control the power.
Once we had this knowledge of the power of money working for us, he wanted us to be financially smart and not let bullies push us around. You need to know the law and how the system works. If you’re ignorant, it is easy to be bullied. If you know what you’re talking about, you have a fighting chance. That is why he paid so much for smart tax accountants and attorneys. It was less expensive to pay them than pay the government. His best lesson to me, which I have used most of my life, is “Be smart and you won’t be pushed around as much.” He knew the law because he was a law-abiding citizen. He knew the law because it was expensive to not know the law. “If you know you’re right, you’re not afraid of fighting back.” Even if you are taking on Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men.
My highly educated dad always encouraged me to seek a good job with a strong corporation. He spoke of the virtues of “working your way up the corporate ladder.” He didn’t understand that, by relying solely on a paycheck from a corporate employer, I would be a docile cow ready for milking.
When I told my rich dad of my father’s advice, he only chuckled. “Why not own the ladder?” was all he said.
As a young boy, I did not understand what rich dad meant by owning my own corporation. It was an idea that seemed impossible, and intimidating. Although I was excited by the idea, my youth would not let me envision the possibility that grownups would someday work for a company I would own.
The point is, if not for my rich dad, I would have probably followed my educated dad’s advice. It was merely the occasional reminder of my rich dad that kept the idea of owning my own corporation alive and kept me on a different path. By the time I was 15 or 16, I knew I was not going to continue down the path my educated dad was recommending. I did not know how I was going to do it, but I was determined not to head in the direction most of my classmates were heading. That decision changed my life.
It was not until I was in my mid-20s that my rich dad’s advice began to make more sense. I was just out of the Marine Corps and working for Xerox. I was making a lot of money, but every time I looked at my paycheck, I was always disappointed. The deductions were so large, and the more I worked, the greater the deductions. As I became more successful, my bosses talked about promotions and raises. It was flattering, but I could hear my rich dad asking me in my ear: “Who are you working for? Who are you making rich?” In 1974, while still an employee for Xerox, I formed my first corporation and began “minding my own business.” There were already a few assets in my asset column, but now I was determined to focus on making it bigger. Those paychecks with all the deductions made all the years of my rich dad’s advice make total sense. I could see the future if I followed my educated dad’s advice.
Many employers feel that advising their workers to mind their own business is bad for business. I am sure it can be for certain individuals. But for me, focusing on my own business, developing assets, made me a better employee. I now had a purpose. I came in early and worked diligently, amassing as much money as possible so I could begin investing in real estate. Hawaii was just set to boom, and there were 4 fortunes to be made. The more I realized we were in the beginning stages of a boom, the more Xerox machines I sold. The more I sold, the more money I made, and, of course, the more deductions there were from my paycheck. It was inspiring. I wanted out of the trap of being an employee so badly that I worked harder, not less. By 1978,I was consistently one of the top five salespeople in sales, often No. 1. I badly wanted out of the rat race.
In less than three years, I was making more in my own little corporation, which was a real estate holding company, than I was making at Xerox. And the money I was making in my asset column, in my own corporation, was money working for me. Not me pounding on doors selling copiers. My rich dad’s advice made much more sense. Soon the cash flow from my properties was so strong that my company bought me my first Porsche. My fellow Xerox salespeople thought I was spending my commissions. I wasn’t. I was investing my commissions in assets.
My money was working hard to make more money. Each dollar in my asset column was a great employee, working hard to make more employees and buy the boss a new Porsche with before-tax dollars. I began to work harder for Xerox. The plan was working, and my Porsche was the proof.
By using the lessons I learned from my rich dad, I was able to get out of the “proverbial rat race” of being an employee at an early age. It was made possible because of the strong financial knowledge I had acquired through these lessons. Without this financial knowledge, which I call financial IQ, my road to financial independence would have been much more difficult. I now teach others through financial seminars in the hope that I may share my knowledge with them. Whenever I do my talks, I remind people that financial IQ is made up of knowledge from four broad areas of expertise.
No. 1 is accounting. What I call financial literacy. A vital skill if you want to build an empire. The more money you are responsible for, the more accuracy is required, or the house comes tumbling down. This is the left brain side, or the details. Financial literacy is the ability to read and understand financial statements. This ability allows you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of any business.
No. 2 is investing. What I call the science of money making money. This involves strategies and formulas. This is the right brain side, or the creative side.
No. 3 is understanding markets. The science of supply and demand. There is a need to know the “technical” aspects of the market, which is emotion driven; the Tickle Me Elmo doll during Christmas 1996 is a case of a technical or emotion-driven market. The other market factor is the “fundamental” or the economic sense of an investment. Does an investment make sense or does it not make sense based on the current market conditions.
Many people think the concepts of investing and understanding the market are too complex for kids. They fail to see that kids know those subjects intuitively. For those not familiar with the Elmo doll, it was a Sesame Street character that was highly touted to the kids just before Christmas. Most all kids wanted one, and put it at the top of their Christmas list. Many parents wondered if the company intentionally held the product off the market, while continuing to advertise it for Christmas. A panic set in due to high demand and lack of supply. Having no dolls to buy in the stores, scalpers saw an opportunity to make a small fortune from desperate parents. The unlucky parents who did not find a doll were forced to buy another toy for Christmas. The incredible popularity of the Tickle Me Elmo doll made no sense to me, but it serves as an excellent example of supply and demand economics. The same thing goes on in the stock, bond, real estate and baseball-card markets.
No. 4 is the law. For instance, utilizing a corporation wrapped around the technical skills of accounting, investing and markets can aid explosive growth. An individual with the knowledge of the tax advantages and protection provided by a corporation can get rich so much faster than someone who is an employee or a small-business sole proprietor. It’s like the difference between someone walking and someone flying. The difference is profound when it comes to long-term wealth.
Tax advantages: A corporation can do so many things that an individual cannot. Like pay for expenses before it pays taxes. That is a whole area of expertise that is so exciting, but not necessary to get into unless you have sizable assets or a business. Employees earn and get taxed and they try to live on what is left. A corporation earns, spends everything it can, and is taxed on anything that is left. It’s one of the biggest legal tax loopholes that the rich use. They’re easy to set up and are not expensive if you own investments that are producing good cash flow. For example; by owning your own corporation - vacations are board meetings in Hawaii. Car payments, insurance, repairs are company expenses. Health club membership is a company expense. Most restaurant meals are partial expenses. And on and on - but do it legally with pre-tax dollars.
Protection from lawsuits. We live in a litigious society. Everybody wants a piece of your action. The rich hide much of their wealth using vehicles such as corporations and trusts to protect their assets from creditors. When someone sues a wealthy individual they are often met with layers of legal protection, and often find that the wealthy person actually owns nothing. They control everything, but own nothing. The poor and middle class try to own everything and lose it to the government or to fellow citizens who like to sue the rich. They learned it from the Robin Hood story. Take from the rich, give to the poor.
It is not the purpose of this book to go into the specifics of owning a corporation. But I will say that if you own any kind of legitimate assets, I would consider finding out more about the benefits and protection offered by a corporation as soon as possible. There are many books written on the subject that will detail the benefits and even walk you through the steps necessary to set up a corporation. One book in particular, Inc. and Grow Rich provides a wonderful insight into the power of personal corporations.
Financial IQ is actually the synergy of many skills and talents. But I would say it is the combination of the four technical skills listed above that make up basic financial intelligence. If you aspire to great wealth, it is the combination of these skills that will greatly amplify an individual’s financial intelligence.
- Spend 2. Pay Taxes
. Pay Taxes 3. Spend
As part of your overall financial strategy, we strongly recommend owning your own corporation wrapped around your assets.
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