Kiyosaki in 2014.
|Born||Robert Toru Kiyosaki|
April 8, 1947
Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.
|Alma mater||United States Merchant Marine Academy (BS)|
University of Hawaii at Hilo (dropped out)
|Subject||Personal finance, business investing|
|Notable works||Rich Dad, Poor Dad|
Robert Toru Kiyosaki (清崎 徹 Kiyosaki Tooru, born April 8, 1947) is an American businessman and author. Kiyosaki is the founder of the Rich Dad Company, a private financial education company that provides personal finance and business education to people through books and videos. The company's main revenues come from franchisees of the Rich Dad seminars that are conducted by independent people using Kiyosaki's brand name for a fee. He is also the creator of the Cashflow board and software games to educate adults and children business and financial concepts.
Kiyosaki's seminars in the US and Canada are conducted in collaboration with a company called Elite Legacy Education (the only publicly traded education company monitored and approved by the SEC and the DOJ) and are contracted out to local companies as affiliations in other countries. However, some attendees have sued Kiyosaki on claims that his high-priced seminars did not deliver anything special.
Kiyosaki is the author of more than 26 books, including the international self-published personal finance Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books which has been translated into 51 languages and sold over 27 million copies worldwide. He has been criticized for advocating the practices of debatable legality perceived as "get rich quick" philosophy. Kiyosaki is the subject of a class action suit against him by people who attended his seminars and has been the subject of two investigative documentaries by CBC Canada and WTAE USA. Kiyosaki's company filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
Early life and career
Robert Toru Kiyosaki was born on 8 April 1947 in Hilo, Hawaii. A part of the Yonsei generation of Japanese Americans, he was the eldest son of Ralph H. Kiyosaki (1919–1991), an academic and educator, and Marjorie O. Kiyosaki (1921–1971), a registered nurse. Kiyosaki was followed by his three siblings - sisters Emi and Beth, and his brother John. He attended Hilo High School and graduated in 1965. Kiyosaki received congressional nominations from Senator Daniel K. Inouye for the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Kiyosaki chose to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York and graduated in 1969 as a deck officer with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from college, Kiyosaki took a job with Standard Oil's tanker office as a third mate. Kiyosaki resigned after six months to join the Marine Corps, serving as a helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War in 1972, where he was awarded an Air Medal.
As per Kiyosaki, he enrolled in a two-year MBA program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 1973 while he still was in the military. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in June 1974. He took a job as a sales associate for Xerox until June 1978. In 1974, Kiyosaki attended the Erhard EST seminars, which he says changed his life. In 1977, Kiyosaki started a company called "Rippers". The company brought to market the first nylon and velcro surfer wallets. Kiyosaki and his products were featured in Runner's World, Gentleman's Quarterly, Success Magazine, Newsweek, and Playboy. The company eventually went bankrupt.
In 1985, Kiyosaki cofounded the Excellerated Learning Institute, a business education company teaching entrepreneurship, investing, and social responsibility. Around this time, he married his second wife, Kim, who had already invested in some real estate in Phoenix. In 1994, Kiyosaki sold the education company.
In 1992, Kiyosaki published his first book, If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go To School. In his book, he encouraged parents not to send their children to college and instead to enter the real estate business.
In 1997, Kiyosaki launched Cashflow Technologies, Inc., a business and financial education company that owns and operates the Rich Dad and Cashflow brands. Kiyosaki partnered with Amway to promote his book. As per an interview with Forbes, Kiyosaki's main earnings come through franchisees of the Rich Dad seminars.
Other business ventures and investments
Kiyosaki's earlier two businesses (for surfing bags with Velcro fasteners and T-shirts) went bankrupt. Thereafter he set up a company for financial and real estate education that has done well thus far, with its main business model of high priced seminars (ranging from $12,000 to $50,000 per head). In an interview with CBC, he described his books as an advertisement for his higher priced seminars. In 2012, Kiyosaki again filed for bankruptcy.
Kiyosaki operates other external business ventures and investments. Many are concentrated in the information technology (mobile apps and internet), publishing, retail, education, mining, energy, financial market, and real estate industries. Kiyosaki asserts that he makes two million USD in cash flow per month tax free from all his businesses and investments. Kiyosaki's estimated wealth is about $80 million USD. Kiyosaki owns over 1400 units of apartment houses  and has been involved with commercial real estate sector such as investing in warehouses, Triple net lease and real estate development ventures around the United States.
During the subprime mortgage crisis in the late 2000s, Kiyosaki invested heavily having acquired nearly 40% of his 2015 portfolio of distressed properties during the downturn. In 2008, Kiyosaki purchased a 300 unit, $17 million apartment complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many of his commercial real estate holdings include luxury and boutique hotels, golf courses, and large apartment complexes according to an interview he did with The Alex Jones Show in 2010. During the same year, Kiyosaki acquired a $46 million Arizona landmark resort with five golf courses that was in foreclosure at a bankruptcy court. In 2011, he invested in a 2000-unit apartment construction project and earned approximately $250,000 in monthly cash flow. In May 2015, he invested in a 1600-unit apartment complex for $80 million USD. In December 2015, Kiyosaki refinanced a $300 million mortgage at 2.5 percent on one of his apartment complex investments. In May 2016, Kiyosaki stated he controls over 10,000 apartment units producing over one million dollars in cash flow every month. Kiyosaki has been in the oil business since the late 1990s. He owns a number of oil drilling operations and oil wells in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. In 2013, Kiyosaki invested in three new oil wells at a 10 percent stake. In late 2015, Kiyosaki amassed a portfolio of 400 privately controlled oil wells.
Business and financial advice
Kiyosaki's financial and business teachings focus on what he calls "financial education" generating passive income by means of focusing on business and investment opportunities, such as real estate investments, businesses, stocks and commodities, with the ultimate goal of being able to support oneself by such investments alone and thus achieving true financial independence without working for a paycheck through a conventional salaried job. Kiyosaki defines the term "assets" as things that put money in one's pocket and describes an asset can be anything as long as it has value, produces income or appreciates, and has a ready market. He states that assets generate cash inflow, such as stock dividends, rental income from properties, or income from businesses, and the term "liabilities" as things that devour cash out of one's pocket, such as one's personal residence, consumer loans, car loans, credit card payments and student loans. Kiyosaki argues that financial leverage is crucial in becoming rich despite risks, repercussions, and pitfalls that come with utilizing leverage to achieve financial independence. Kiyosaki stresses the importance of building up an asset first to fund one's liabilities instead of saving cash or relying on a salary from a traditional job.
Kiyosaki is married to Kim Kiyosaki. Since 1994, the Kiyosakis have lived in Phoenix, Arizona. Kiyosaki endorsed and supported Republican candidate Donald Trump for the 2016 Presidential elections.
Criticism and controversy
In May 2006, Kiyosaki was featured in 20/20 where he coached three people to invest $1,000 each. All three of them lost as much money as they had before Kiyosaki's coaching, leading them to doubt about Kiyosaki's advice. In 2007, the Ohio state government Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing issued an extraordinary statement warning people against some of the illegal methods that were being preached by Kiyosaki in his books and seminars. In 2010, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation did an exposé on scams that were being perpetuated by Kiyosaki's company in Canada in the guise of seminars. Upon tracking the success claims of "Rich Dad" seminar organizers, they discovered that these claims were not true. Investments in trailers and trailer parks, which were being propagated as "successful" by seminar teachers, were found to actually be barren pieces of land that no one was using.
From 1990 to 1995, Kiyosaki used Amway to promote his book with multi-level marketing. Kiyosaki was sued by his fellow author Sharon Lechter in 2007 for not keeping to the terms of their agreement over their jointly written book. Kiyosaki's advice have been criticized for emphasizing anecdotes and containing nothing in the way of concrete advice on how readers should proceed or work. Kiyosaki responded that his material is meant to be a motivational tool to get readers thinking about money rather than a guide to wealth, and that "rich dad" was a fictional character. He also says the books are supposed to be "interesting" rather than involve a lot of technical material. As per John Reed, a real estate advisor, Kiyosaki's books often advise illegal practices such as using insider tips from rich friends (insider trading), vulture real estate purchases, taking more debt on credit cards than one can handle and declaring bankruptcy whenever one's plans go awry. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he admitted that he partnered with a real estate firm to promote their business through his seminars. He also admitted that since the Rich Dad seminars were franchisees that functioned independent of him, he had little control over their content.
Kiyosaki has been criticized for being anti-education, according to some. Some also say he is advocating for people to drop out of school and is unfolding the idea of higher education being superfluous for determining one's financial success. He has ridiculed, scorned, and mocked people who are highly educated and academically successful and has said "the best way to get even with A-grade students was to make them employees of mine". He has described people who go to college as "suckers" and PhD holders as people who are "poor, helpless, and desperate", alluding to Kiyosaki's own father, who became poor and unemployed during the last years of his life despite being a highly educated PhD. Kiyosaki has responded that he is "pro-education" in terms of building wealth via financial education and that he is "anti-education" in terms of the lack of financial education being taught in the American school system.
In 2015, advocating the purchase of gold, Kiyosaki predicted in Manila that there would be an even bigger financial crash in 2016 which would be worse than the 2008 crash. His prophecy did not materialize.
- If You Want to Be Rich & Happy: Don't Go to School?: Ensuring Lifetime Security for Yourself and Your Children (1992). ISBN 0-944031-38-2.
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- Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom (2000). ISBN 0-446-67747-7.
- Rich Dad's Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in, That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not! (2000). ISBN 0-446-67746-9.
- The Business School for People Who Like Helping People (March 2001). ISBN 99922-67-42-9 – endorses multi-level marketing
- Rich Dad's Rich Kid, Smart Kid: Giving Your Children a Financial Headstart (2001). ISBN 0-446-67748-5.
- Rich Dad's Retire Young, Retire Rich (2002). ISBN 0-446-67843-0.
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- Rich Dad's Who Took My Money?: Why Slow Investors Lose and Fast Money Wins! (2004) ISBN 0-446-69182-8.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad for Teens: The Secrets About Money – That You Don't Learn in School! (2004) ISBN 0-446-69321-9.
- Rich Dad's Before You Quit Your Job: 10 Real-Life Lessons Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Building a Multimillion-Dollar Business (2005). ISBN 0-446-69637-4.
- Rich Dad's Escape from the Rat Race – Comic for children (2005)
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- Rich Dad's Increase Your Financial IQ: Get Smarter with Your Money (2008). ISBN 0-446-50936-1.
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- Rich Dad's Rich Brother Rich Sister (2009) co-written with Emi Kiyosaki
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