Career management and personal finance are very closely related-more closely than most people realize. Sure, we members of the middle class understand at a basic level how a given job (or rather, the compensation associated with a given job) will or will not help us achieve our financial goals.
But we fail to recognize how good financial management can help us pursue more meaningful careers and can ultimately liberate us from the rat race.
Our problem is that we see good career management as the way to get ahead financially. We think that if we play our cards right-if we work hard, avoid getting laid off and negotiate good salaries-we won't have to worry about money. That's only partly right.
In fact, good career management stems from a foundation of good financial management. Career freedom and financial freedom begin with effectively managing our money.
Which leads me to our other big problem: Most of us don't know how to manage our money. As a result, we get stuck in jobs we dislike just so we can pay the bills, and we think we have no other choice but to work our pants off for a living. (For the record, I enjoy my job.)
However, if we understood how to manage our money-how to make it work for us, as opposed to us working for it-those of us in dead-end jobs would realize that we do have choices, and we wouldn't feel so trapped by our aluminum handcuffs.
That message of good personal financial management as a means to career freedom is an underlying theme of Robert Kiyosaki's book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Warner Business Books: 1998), which I began reading early last month upon my husband's recommendation. (I'm 60 pages from the end.)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad has transformed my outlook on money. I used to have a very adversarial relationship with money. I always assumed that I'd struggle financially. I always hated dealing with money, and I viewed it as the root of all problems, both personal and global.
After reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, I realized that I don't have to struggle with money my whole life. I have choices. What's more, managing my money no longer feels like a punishing chore. I enjoy thinking about money-how much I can save, how I can save more, and how I can use those savings to make even more money.
I found Kiyosaki's personal finance lessons in Rich Dad, Poor Dad so personally empowering that I wanted to share them with you. I realize CIO.com's audience is pretty sophisticated and includes some very wealthy readers, but for everyone else who's struggling financially, I hope you find the following insights as helpful and inspiring as I did. I think we can all benefit from some personal finance tips right now.