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How to Apply the Cashflow Quadrant Concept

All of us in one way or another desire financial security and many of us dream of attaining financial freedom. Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad’s Cash-flow Quadrant book and board game teach the principals of income, assets and cash flow. Understanding the different methods by which income or money is generated and how it is utilized is essentially what Cash-flow Quadrant is about.


  1. Learn about the concept of the 4 individuals.The basic premise of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books is that the business world is made up of largely 4 types of individuals:
    • Employee (E) – has a job.
    • Self-Employed (S) – owns a job.
    • Business Owner (B) – owns a business system.
    • Investor (I) – makes money work for them.
  2. Identify where you are now.Identifying where you are in this Cash-flow Quadrant can be done by looking at where most of your income comes from. What affects which quadrant we decide to generate our income from is due to internal differences in our core values, interests, outlook, life stage etc.
  3. Decide where you want to be.Traditional schooling teaches us largely to focus on become an Employee (E) or a high-paid Self-Employed(S) individual such as a doctor, lawyer or accountant. While there is nothing wrong with this idea, it becomes a problem if your primary goal is to attain financial freedom. Financial freedom is seldom to be found in these quadrants.
  4. Decide if financial freedom is for you.The words ‘financial’ and ‘freedom’ go hand-in-hand. You can never really be truly “free” in the modern world we live in unless you are financially free. The whole purpose of life is to generate and experience more life. Money allows you to “live” more life. Financial freedom is when you have enough wealth (assets and cash-flow) to allow you live more life on a sustainable basis.
    • Changing quadrants is a life-changing experience and often requires a fundamental shift in ones core values in order to come about.
    • This requires massive action and massive personal transformation. You will be required to step outside your comfort zone. Once you have crossed the proverbial Rubicon, or "crossed from the left side of the quadrant into right side", there is generally no turning back.
  5. Gain financial intelligence.The attainment of financial freedom requires a high level of financial intelligence. You need to be ready to move beyond job security (in the ‘E’ quadrant) in order to begin your journey towards financial freedom. Be under no illusions though; it is a bumpy, windy road laden with risks that need to be constantly managed. It is NOT for you if you want a secure, normal life. However, if you are prepared to make the leap, the prize at the end of this particular journey is financial freedom.
  6. Become aware of the risks included.It is important to note that success is not guaranteed. For example, 80% of businesses start-ups never get to celebrate their 5th birthday. And of those that have become a successful, many successful “B’s” have lost their money through over-confidential forays in the “I” quadrant. The road to financial freedom is littered with casualties and people who turn back on their goals out of fear.
  7. Get the skills needed.Many of the skills required to be successful as a Business Owner (B) or Investor (I) are not taught in school. In fact it’s remarkable just how many successful businessmen left school early but got their real education in the cut and thrust of the business world. Most successful business owners are innately curious, knowledge-thirsty and uncompromising in the pursuit of their goals. They chose to learn through Mentors; they read voraciously, and attend training courses and educational seminars converting this knowledge into action.
    • The rules of the game are totally different in each quadrant. They are completely different worlds and require different mindsets, tools, skills and behavior. Continuous learning and education will be your constant bedfellows in order to help you on this journey through each quadrant.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can MLM be the best business option for a college-going student to learn the skills and techniques related to business?
    Top Answerer
    It could be beneficial in that regard.
  • Question
    What is the cash flow quadrant?
    Carolyn Thomas-Burton
    Community Answer
    This quadrant represents the four methods of producing income. These are the "E", "S", "B" and "I" quadrants. The "E" quadrant stands for an employee who earns money by holding a job and working for someone else or a company. The "S" quadrant is for the self-employed who earn money working for themselves, either as solo operator or owning a small business. The "B" quadrant is the business owner who owns a large business or a system that generates money. The "I" quadrant is the investors that earn money from their various investments (money generating more money). The "E" and "S" quadrant have no financial leverage if at any time they must stop working.
  • Question
    When building a system, what variables do I focus on and what skills do I need?
    Carolyn Thomas-Burton
    Community Answer
    First, having the mindset of an entrepreneur. Second, education. Last, finding that mentor that will help you on that journey. The best book out there is "The Business of the 21st Century" by Robert Kiyosaki, co-author of the book "Rich Dad: Poor Dad".
  • Question
    Is it possible to go from the E quadrant, making /hr with no money and no assets, to the I quadrant making 6 figures in just a few short years?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, it is possible. However, there are risks involved that you must be aware of. For example, you could leverage financial institutions and jump directly into the Investor quadrant. Research good investment vehicles that yield higher returns than your loan's interest rate and take advantage of the dividend yields and capital gains in the market. The risk is that if you choose poorly or the investment vehicles don't perform well, then you will be at a loss. You reduce your risk level by knowing more; do your homework.
  • Question
    Some MLM companies are claiming that multi-millionaires can be created through this system of business, is this true?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but one must understand the logic behind the MLM companies. For details, check out "The Business of the 21st Century" by Robert Kiyosaki. It's a must-read before starting your MLM business.
Unanswered Questions
  • Is it necessary to complete high school education for me to apply the said concepts?
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  • You can actually earn income from each of these 4 quadrants simultaneously if you choose, but most of your income will likely come from one quadrant.
  • Whilst financial security can be found in each of the 4 quadrants, the skills and tools required and attained in ‘B’ or ‘I’ quadrants will help you achieve financial freedom more rapidly.
  • Earning income in the E quadrant while investing in the I quadrant can be achieved through hard work and getting out of your comfort zone. What this allows is to make sound decisions since money is flowing steadily until you can let go of the E quadrant (your job).

Video: Robert Kiyosaki Cashflow Quadrant – How To Apply It In Your Life Now

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