Kiyosaki in 2014.
|Born||Robert Toru Kiyosaki
April 8, 1947
Hilo, Hawaii, United States
|Occupation||Founder of the Rich Dad Company and Cashflow Technologies, Inc.
Author of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books
Principal Host of the Rich Dad Radio Show
Financial columnist on Yahoo Finance
Former host of Rich Dad TV on PBS
|Notable works||Rich Dad, Poor Dad|
|Spouse||Kim Kiyosaki (since 1985)|
Robert Toru Kiyosaki (born April 8, 1947) is an American businessman, investor, self-help author, educator, motivational speaker, activist, financial commentator, and radio personality. 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, videos, games, seminars, blogs, coaching, and workshops. He is also the creator of the Cashflow board and software games to educate adults and children business and financial concepts.
Kiyosaki self-published Rich Dad Poor Dad. He established financial literacy programs to help others achieve financial independence. The author of more than 26 books, including the international personal finance blockbuster Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books which has been translated into 51 languages, available in 109 countries and have combined sales of over 27 million copies sold worldwide. Three of his books, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant, and Rich Dad's Guide to Investing, have been on number one on the top 10 best-seller lists simultaneously on Publishers Weekly, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. In 2005, he was inducted into the Amazon.com Hall of Fame as one of the bookseller’s top 25 authors.
Kiyosaki is known for simplifying complex concepts and ideas related to business, investing, finance, and economics. He has garnered an international reputation for his straight talk, irreverence, courage, and views on money and investing that often contradicts conventional financial advice. Kiyosaki believes that the world needs more entrepreneurs to create jobs to spur economic growth and solve pressing world issues. Much of his teachings and views encourage people to become financially educated and to take an active role in investing for their financial future.
An advocate for financial education, Kiyosaki has stressed the importance of entrepreneurship, business education, investing, and comprehensive financial literacy concepts should be taught in schools around the world. Kiyosaki also operates his own blog, acts as a principal host on his YouTube Channel called The Rich Dad Channel, radio show called the Rich Dad Radio Show and maintains a monthly column on Yahoo Finance writing about his business endeavors and his views on the global economy, investing, business, personal development and personal finance.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 Business ventures and investments
- 3 Business and financial advice
- 4 Media appearances
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Criticism and controversy
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early life and career
Kiyosaki was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii to a well-educated middle-class American family of Japanese ancestry. He is the eldest son of Ralph H. Kiyosaki (1919–1991), an academic and educator and Marjorie O. Kiyosaki (1921–1971), a registered nurse. Ralph was an accomplished scholar and graduated valedictorian of his high school and earned his bachelor's degree in two years from the University of Hawaii. He worked full-time and raised a family, and also found time to attend advanced courses at Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University on full scholarships. Though Ralph whom Robert called his biological father his "poor dad" earned a substantial income from his high paying government job, the family struggled financially. Ralph eventually became the head of Education and later became unemployed after he ran for the office of Lieutenant Governor of the state of Hawaii as a Republican, and he lost the election against his boss. As a result of that loss, Ralph was later blacklisted from the government and never recovered professionally. Ralph later dipped into his retirement savings and purchased a Swensen's ice cream franchise, which then became unprofitable eventually went bankrupt that left him in destitute unemployment in his later life.
Making money was an early interest for Kiyosaki. Much of his early childhood years were enlivened with entrepreneurial and investment ventures. One of his first business ventures was a counterfeit nickel making company that he started with his childhood friend. Kiyosaki began melting down lead toothpaste tubes and forging lead coins in plaster-of-Paris molds. His father foiled his plans when he later explained to Robert that the toothpaste venture was illegal and constituted counterfeiting but commended Kiyosaki for taking initiative in his entrepreneurial aspirations.
As a child, Kiyosaki displayed an interest in learning how to make money. His interest in making money dated to his schoolboy days spent with his childhood friend Mike. The pair would then learn basic business, investing and financial concepts from Mike's father Richard Kimi,  an eighth grade high school dropout who later became a successful businessman as well as one of the wealthiest private investors in Hawaii whom Kiyosaki called his "Rich Dad". Kiyosaki would eventually develop a father-son relationship with his rich dad and spent many days after school and summer breaks during his teenage years learning financial and business concepts and lessons from his Rich Dad, often through the use of anecdotes, real world business examples, and through the board game Monopoly. Kiyosaki played the board with his Rich Dad by the hour and His Rich Dad would often state the purpose for playing Monopoly was because the formula, 4 green houses and 1 red hotel was the formula for great wealth was found in the game. Many of these business lessons taught by Rich Dad would later become the literary groundwork for Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as the foundation for Kiyosaki's business career.
One of Kiyosaki's first business lessons he learned from his Rich Dad was experiencing the “Rat Race”. His Rich Dad was able to achieve this by making Kiyosaki and his friend Mike work in one of his grocery stores for three hours for ten cents an hour pay. Within a couple weeks, Kiyosaki, grew tired of being exploited for labor, demanded that he receive a pay raise, but instead, his Rich Dad cut his pay and told him to work for free as a fundamental financial lesson. Kiyosaki and his friend Mike eventually learned the lesson later by starting a comic book library business. Kiyosaki learned of the opportunity through while working in his town’s general store while stacking cans. One day, he saw the manager trashing the previous month’s comics to make room for newer editions. Robert then took advantage of this opportunity by asking for old comics – still in excellent condition and then utilized the old comics to start his own comic book library business in his friend’s basement. The comic book library soon became a neighborhood success and Kiyosaki employed Mike's sister for $1 a week to manage the store. Within days, the comic book library soon became a neighborhood hit and at the young age of nine, Kiyosaki and his friend averaged US$9.50 in weekly revenue over a three-month period. The comic library lesson later taught Kiyosaki the importance of starting his own successful business in order to take control of his own personal finances.
Despite being born into a family of educators, Kiyosaki struggled scholastically in school, earning very poor grades all throughout his elementary, high school, and college years. Frustrated with his struggling academic progress, Kiyosaki did not like school and did not enjoy the subjects he learned as he felt that the subjects being taught were not subjects he wanted to use in the real world. He often wanted to drop out of school but was persuaded not to by his high school counselors and father. His high school teachers labelled him "stupid" and told him that he was not "smart enough" to go to college. He failed English twice in high school and was put in a remedial summer school English class during his junior year. He also failed Japanese, French, and Spanish. After Kiyosaki found success with his Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books, he described it as ironic that his books would reach the New York Time's Bestseller list despite his inability to write. Despite his lackluster academic performance, Kiyosaki's Rich Dad let him in on a secret where he stated that his school grades were important but stressed that his financial statement was his "report card" for the rest of his life once he left school. Reflecting on his school days, Kiyosaki states he doesn't use much of what he had learned after the fifth grade and has said that the subjects he had learned in school through his formal education had nothing to do with his financial success. He has criticized the American education system for not teaching basic financial skills needed to prosper in a capitalistic society. Kiyosaki has stated to his readers that “If you want to be an employee, go to school. If you want to be rich, you don’t need school.” During live Rich Dad Company seminars and wealth presentations, Kiyosaki often remains self-deprecating about his poor academic performance during his schoolboy days, particularly about his failure in the school system as he was not particularly good at anything at school. Instead he has mocked students who are academically successful and has called PhD holders as people who are “poor, helpless and desperate” and “the best way to get even with A-grade students was to make them employees of mine”.
He attended Hilo High School and graduated in 1965. Upon graduating from high school, Kiyosaki wanted to skip college and was eager to enter the business world but eventually agreed that a formal college education would be of benefit to him. He initially chose to forego college but was overruled by his family as well as persuasion from a persistent high school counselor pointing out Kiyosaki pointing alternative educational and career options for him. His father encouraged Kiyosaki to improve his grades to go to a good college and get a good job as it felt it would lead the young Robert to financial success. 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 for its emphasis on discipline and leadership, later citing both skills as being important to becoming an entrepreneur. He graduated with the class of 1969 as a deck officer, and a commission as a 2nd LT in the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from college in New York, Kiyosaki began his career by taking a job with Standard Oil's tanker office as a third mate sailor. His career with Standard Oil was short-lived and Kiyosaki resigned with the organization after 6 months to join the Marine Corps to hone his business and leadership skills. He served in the Marine Corps as a helicopter gunship pilot during the Vietnam War in 1972, where he was awarded the Air Medal. At the age of 25, not knowing what to do as a future career path for the rest of his life, Kiyosaki's father insisted that he'd become a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, get a master's degree and a PhD and work in academia or for the government. Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad" thought his "Poor Dad"s advice was "bad" and suggested to him to become financially successful by learning how to become an active entrepreneur and investor.
Kiyosaki enrolled in a 2-year MBA program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 1973 at the insistence of his Poor Dad while his Rich Dad thought that the MBA program was a waste of time. Despite Hawaii's emphasis on business and finance, Kiyosaki was unimpressed with the professors as they focused on the theoretical aspects of business; what interested Kiyosaki was the practical aspects of business - how to make money. Kiyosaki later dropped out of the MBA program and attended a 3-day real estate investing course. The course resonated with Kiyosaki's interest on the practical aspects of business in addition to the course's focus on generating income from different streams of revenue from a property investment. Kiyosaki began investing in real estate after attending the course by purchasing a condo that was in foreclosure on the island of Maui. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in June 1974. Though Kiyosaki contemplated a career to fly for the airlines, he instead took a job as a sales associate for Xerox to further hone his business skills by selling copy machines in Leesburg, Virginia until June 1978.
In 1977, Kiyosaki launched his business career where he entered the retailing industry and 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 was moderately successful, but eventually went bankrupt, as he wanted to save money on costs and did not intellectually protect the product. Kiyosaki then started a rock and roll retail business that licensed T-shirts, hats, wallets, and bags for heavy metal rock bands such as Mötley Crüe, Judas Priest, and Duran Duran. Many of the products were in national chains like JCPenney, Tower Records, and Spencer Gifts. The company went bankrupt in 1980.
In 1985, Kiyosaki established an international business education company teaching entrepreneurship, investing, and social responsibility to thousands of people throughout the world. In 1994, Kiyosaki sold the education company and through various strategic real estate investments, allowed him to retire at the age of 47. In 1997, he began his writing career and launched Cashflow Technologies, Inc., a business and financial education company which owns and operates the Rich Dad and Cashflow brands. The Rich Dad Company is now a multimillion-dollar financial and business education company operating in over 100 countries offering comprehensive real world business and financial education to millions of people all over the world.
Business ventures and investments
Aside from operating the Rich Dad Company, Kiyosaki continues to operate external business ventures and various investments carving his niche as a businessman and parlaying his ventures and investments into a massive business and financial empire since he came out of retirement in 1997. Many of these ventures 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 2 million USD in cash flow per month tax free from all his businesses and investments. Kiyosaki's estimated wealth is about $80 million USD.
In 1997, Kiyosaki launched The Rich Dad Company, a private business and financial education company which owns and operates the Rich Dad and Cashflow brands. Kiyosaki started the Rich Dad Company at his kitchen table with his wife Kim. He financed the venture when he raised $250,000 in seed capital from private investors. Kioysaki has since then established a multimillion-dollar financial education empire spanning books, CDs, board and video games, online videos, seminars and motivational speaking engagements. In 2014, the company leveraged the global success of the Rich Dad games with the launch of new and breakthrough offerings in mobile and online gaming as well as Rich Dad's Clutch, a digital learning platform.
Kiyosaki bought a silver mine in Argentina and took a gold mining company in China public in 2002, and took public additional mines from IPOs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange during the early 2000s. In 2009, Kiyosaki revealed in his book Conspiracy of the Rich that he is currently working on a copper mining company located in Vancouver, British Columbia that is set to be taken public once copper prices begin to appreciate.
Kiyosaki is an active real estate investor. A large portion of his business empire and wealth is concentrated in real estate investing. Kiyosaki's real estate empire encompasses some several thousand cash flowing apartment complexes, commercial properties, luxury hotel, a boutique hotel, and five courses. He has various real estate investments, real estate development ventures, and property management ventures operating around the United States, such as Arizona, Texas Louisiana, and Oklahoma as Kiyosaki's investment strategy is to look for places with increasing populations and job opportunities to ensure that there will be lots of renters. Since 2012, Kiyosaki has mainly invested in distressed houses and apartment buildings in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma as those cities have an established petroleum industry providing jobs as real estate is only as there are jobs. He has invested in Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston investment real estate. He is also a proponent of using leverage such as hard money to get your investment deal done. He has stated that he does not invest in foreign real estate as he does not understand the underlying economics of it and has advised real estate investors to stay with investments that they understand. Kiyosaki says he does not invest in real estate just to own real estate but states that his primary intent to invest in real estate is to leverage debt, minimize taxes, and ultimately hang onto the property for cash flow. He prefers to purchase real estate during economic downturns as much investment real estate is sold for pennies on the dollar. Many of his properties are one hundred percent debt financed utilizing rolling-equity refinances and government tax incentives without using his own money.
Kiyosaki's first investment property was an $18,000 USD 1 bedroom and 1 bath condo located near Lahaina, Maui, where many of the properties provided housing for employees that worked at several luxury hotels nearby. He used a credit card to finance his down payment of $1,800 with rest of the financing coming from the seller making the property 100 percent debt financed. His real estate investment venture netted him $25 in monthly positive cash flow with none of his own money invested in the deal creating an infinite return on investment. After finding success with his first venture, Kiyosaki later purchased two more condo units development using two different credit cards. He then sold two of the three condos for approximately $35,000 USD each, realizing a $17,000 USD capital gains profit to which he later regretted when he realized how much capital gains taxes on the profit he had to pay. He held on to the remaining unit until the late 1980s and eventually sold it for $375,000 USD when the real estate market boomed on the island of Maui. Kiyosaki starting his own real estate holding company in the 1980s during his tenure with Xerox and continued on with single family property investments after the Savings and loan crisis and the 1986 Tax Reform Act hit the United States in the late 1980s, where much foreclosure investment real estate was sold for pennies on the dollar. During the crisis, Kiyosaki purchased a 2 bedroom 1 bath house for $50,000 in Portland, Oregon. He placed $5,000 down with the rest of the financing coming from the seller with his total PITI payments costing him about $450 a month. He later sought bank financing for a "home improvement" loan to which he later used to improve the property to a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom property. The appraisal of the property was valued at $95,000 with the bank offering an 80 percent loan of $76,000. After all expenses and loans were paid off, Kiyosaki netted $25,000 in his pocket in addition $200 monthly cash flow. He later sold the property for $95,000 in 1990 and rolled over the profits via a 1031 exchange to an apartment house in Beaverton, Oregon.
After progressing with smaller real estate investments, Kiyosaki moved into the commercial real estate sector, branching off into semi-large apartment complexes, with a large portion concentrated in Arizona and the Southwestern United States and retired in 1994. During the Arizona housing market slump in the mid 1990s, Kiyosaki began investing aggressively in the real estate market where he was able to purchase a $75,000 house at a bankruptcy court for $20,000 and sold it later for $60,000 with only five hours of work. He later rolled over the profits into his real estate holding company as a form of a promissory note. Kiyosaki was able to do go through six of those "buy, create and sell" bankruptcy court real estate transactions that netted him a windfall profit of $190,000, which was later sheltered into his real estate holding company and converted into a note used for other corporate expenses. He also invested in a mini-storage facility that netted him $12,000 monthly cash flow to which he later used the monthly rental proceeds to purchase a Porsche. Eventually, he sold the mini-storage and rolled the profits into another apartment property.
Since coming out of retirement in 1997, Kiyosaki remains involved with the apartment business and owns over 1400 units of apartment houses. Kiyosaki 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. Kiyosaki has a preference for commercial rental property investments over other real estate classifications.
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 as stated in an interview with The Alex Jones Show in 2010. During the same year, Kiyosaki acquired a $46 million Arizona landmark resort with 5 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 advocated to budding entrepreneurs to partner with the government and help rectify business problems government wants solved such as providing affordable rental housing or solar power to the masses. He has advised investors not to invest in paper assets as people will see that money and shares are not real wealth and instead focusing on acquiring hard assets such as property and resources such as oil, gold and other precious metals.
Oil wells and natural gas
Kiyosaki has been in the oil business since the late 1990s and got interested in the petroleum industry dating back to his days working at Standard Oil. He has stated his reason for investing in oil as petroleum affects so many parts of human society such as plastics, food production, gasoline, airplane tickets, consumer electronics and heating. He owns a number of oil drilling operations and oil wells in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, but does not invest in oil company stocks such as ExxonMobil or BP. 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.
In a 2010 Rich Dad Insiders video, Kiyosaki stated that he made a substantial investment in a startup solar energy company. He reiterated this solar investment venture on the Alex Jones Show in late 2010 expressing a positive outlook on the solar power industry saying that "solar energy is the future".
Kiyosaki has been actively involved in financial markets but has asserted that he now rarely invests in the stock market, bond market, or other traditional investment markets that involves paper assets. Kiyosaki states that he utilized paper assets in the past primarily for their liquidity, usually for a short-term gain for his money to move in and eventually out of. He has preferred to keep much of his wealth concentrated in privately controlled companies, real estate, and commodities as he has expressed his desire for better control over these investments.
In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Kiyosaki mentioned achieving consistent 16% ROI through tax lien certificates. Written in a chapter of Rich Dad's Prophecy, Kiyosaki states of having invested in various government tax free bonds such as municipal bonds and municipal mortgage real estate investment trusts offered by real estate development companies paying over 12% tax-free dividend interest.
Kiyosaki has also stated in interviews that he does not invest or play the stock market, much like the fact that he does not invest in oil company stocks opting to prefer technical trading in the financial market. He has been an active options trader where he has traded stock options, Forex currencies, and other derivatives. A portion of his wealth is concentrated in a basket of Asian currencies through ETFs as a hedge against the U.S. dollar. Kiyosaki owns a number of foreign currencies such as the Malaysian ringgit, the Singapore dollar, the Thai baht and the Philippine peso.
Kiyosaki is involved in the commodity market where he invests in gold and silver commodities as well as gold and silver ETF's. He stated this for the reason that he uses commodities as a hedge against uncertain economic forces such as inflation and hyperinflation as well as government's mismanagement via printing of the nation's currency. Kiyosaki also states that investing in gold and silver is a hedge is akin to buying an insurance policy against fiat money and corruption in the financial system. Kioysaki also believes that gold and silver will be valuable for at least another 1000 years. Kiyosaki also states that gold is a tangible asset that has held its value throughout history.
During his teenage years, Kiyosaki dabbled with silver and gold coins as a starting investment during the 1960s. Kiyosaki states that he is a "gold bug", meaning that he holds various commodities such as gold and silver to hedge against government misprinting of the US dollar. Kiyosaki invests much of his remaining and excess cash flow into gold and silver to further secure his asset foundation. In a 2013 interview with KITCO news, Kiyosaki advised to allocate 25 percent of one's wealth in precious metals.
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 ones 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 ones 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.
Originally self-published before being picked up commercially to become a best seller, the central concept of his book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" is an anecdotal comparison of his "two fathers." His "poor dad" was his biological father, who was highly educated and became superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education but was always struggling financially. Contrasted with this is his "rich dad," who was his best friend's father, a successful businessman who later became "one of the richest men in Hawaii" by investing the income from his businesses into income-producing investments such as real estate and was an 8th grade high school dropout. Its main purpose as a self-help book is to help people rethink their idea of money and their concept of themselves as employees who will gain financial rewards from conformity and education. In an April 2012 Rich Dad blog, Kiyosaki has advised young people in college or graduating from high school to explore the aspects of non-traditional education offered by community college courses on investing hosted by professionals where one can learn important new world skills like computer programming, web design, and more at a fraction of the cost than a traditional education at a four-year university. Additionally, Kiyosaki has also stressed the importance of financial education in addition to one's academic and professional education, financial education acquired by attending seminars, reading books, taking classes on sales, marketing, and advertising and hiring a coach.
Kiyosaki uses the "rich dad, poor dad" comparison to illustrate his view that the majority of people are stuck in what he refers to as "the rat race"–living paycheck to paycheck and spending all of their time working to pay bills and other expenses. In his books, Kiyosaki has recommded hard asset tax-advantaged investment vehicles, such as real estate or businesses, rather than ownership of paper assets such as stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds. This idea is further developed in his later books and "Rich Dad" became Kiyosaki's personal brand for various publishing ventures. Kiyosaki's business approach stresses the importance of financial literacy through the acquisition of what he calls "assets" as the means to obtaining wealth and to train one's mind to see opportunities is the first step to creating or acquiring assets. He says that life skills are often best learned through experience and that there are important lessons not taught in school. He says that formal education is primarily for those seeking to be employees or self-employed individuals, and that this is an "Industrial Age idea." In order to obtain financial freedom, Kiyosaki stresses the importance of knowing the difference between an asset and a liability and to learn how to create assets that produces income or appreciates, and has a ready market. Furthermore, Kiyosaki also states one must be either a business owner or an investor, or both generating passive income particularly on a monthly basis. Kiyosaki has also emphasized that it’s not the assets like real estate, stocks, mutual funds, businesses or money that makes one rich but what one know and the information, knowledge, wisdom, and know-how one’s financial intelligence that makes a person rich.
Kiyosaki also stresses the importance of entrepreneurship and investing, developing strong financial aptitude and having savvy business skills and shrewd business acumen, and focusing on looking for business opportunities and developing multiple revenue streams instead of looking for a traditional job to achieve great wealth. He states that the richest people in the world own businesses and entrepreneurship has created the most billionaires among the worlds wealthiest people. He has stressed in his books that people should create assets that produce cash flow such as being an entrepreneur and investing in real estate. He has continuously advocated throughout his books entrepreneurship and real estate investing as a vehicle for building wealth and achieving financial success.
Kiyosaki has also advocated the importance of learning to read financial statements as it measures how smart one is financially and learning to read financial statements in order to achieve great wealth and financial independence as he considers one's financial statement your "report card" after one leaves school and joins the workforce. With regards to business, Kiyosaki states that roughly 80% of the very rich became rich through building a business, stressing the study of the basics of business and entrepreneurship, such as learning how to sell, brand, and market in order to be a rich investor and good business owner, or to know what a business owner knows.
Kiyosaki has also emphasized the importance of investing for cash flow instead of capital appreciation when analyzing and buying investments. He has emphasized through his books that saving and investing are not the same concepts and that the traits of a skilled investor is to have cash flowing in into one's pocket. Kiyosaki has stressed the importance of focusing on cash flow when analyzing any business or investment as cash flow is realized when one purchases an investment and hold on to it, and every month, quarter, or year that investment returns money to the investor. Kiyosaki has asserted that an investor should look for cash flow over capital gains or invest for cash flow and capital gains in the best case investment scenario. He has stated every investment whether business, a stock, or a piece of real estate should be looked at from a business perspective and that one should invest as an entrepreneurial partner seeking active control over the investment in percentages of the business to mitigate risk instead of from the point of view as a traditional shareholder. He states that the cash flow investor focuses on long-term trends and is not affected by short-term market fluctuations or aren't as susceptible to market swings. He reasserts himself that rich people put their money to work and make their money from their investments. With regards to capital gains, Kiyosaki has criticized real estate “flippers”, calling them "dealers" and not investors as they got caught when the real estate market turned down during the 2000s subprime mortgage crisis as well as being subject to self-employment taxes. When the market reversed and crashed, the properties were no longer worth what the flippers bought them for, and there were no buyers to flip the properties to.
Kiyosaki often refers to what he calls "The CASHFLOW Quadrant", a conceptual tool which he developed to categorize the four major ways income is earned in the world of money. Depicted in a diagram, this concept entails four groupings, split with two crossed lines (one vertical and one horizontal). In each of the four groups there is a letter representing a way in which an individual may earn income. The letters are as follows.
- E: Employee – Working for someone else.
- S: Self-employed or Small business owner – Where a person owns his own job and is his own boss.
- B: Business owner – A person who owns a business to make money; typically where the owner's physical presence is not required.
- I: Investor – Investing money in order to receive a larger income in the future or analyses other businesses as potential investments.
For those on the left side of the divide (E and S), Kiyosaki says that they may never obtain true wealth. Conversely, those on the right side of the divide (B and I) are supposedly following the only road to true wealth. Kiyosaki also classifies the four main "asset" classes as means of gaining wealth:
- Businesses: Businesses that generate monthly cash flow that don't require the owner's physical presence.
- Real Estate: Real estate such as owning farmland, mobile home parks, warehouses, small family homes, or apartment houses that generate monthly cash flow.
- Paper Assets: Investments such as stocks, bonds, REITs, ETF's, mutual funds, private equity funds etc.
- Commodities: Agriculture, livestock, oil and natural gas, industrial metals such copper and tin or precious metals such as gold and silver that are used to hedge government's mismanagement printing of the nation's currency.
Kiyosaki has stated that are three types of education everybody needs to be financially successful in the Information Age.
- Academic: Scholastic education teaches you skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Though critics of Kiyosaki have criticized him for downplaying academic education, Kiyosaki continuously stresses the importance of this type of education is very important in the modern era.
- Professional: Education that teaches you the skills to work for money. This type of education can range from licensing, an apprenticeship in a trade or an internship for a professional career such as a masseuse, firefighter, plumber, electrician, doctor, or lawyer. Kiyosaki states that professional education was essential to job security in the Industrial Age and today that it takes much more than professional education to be financially successful.
- Financial: Education that teaches you how to manage, invest, leverage, and protect the money you have earned and ultimately have money work for you. Kiyosaki states that financial education is essential for financial success in the Information Age. Kiyosaki stresses that financial success and being financially smart is not about how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard money works for you, and how many generations you pass your money on to.
Kiyosaki has also referred to the "three types of incomes", the types of income is earned in the world of money. Kiyosaki has continuously emphasized the importance of converting earned income into passive and portfolio income as quickly as possible.
- Earned Income: Income from wages via a traditional job, labor and paycheck, interest on savings, and retirement plans. Kiyosaki states that earned income is the highest taxed income and the income of the poor and middle class. It is also the income that is the hardest to build wealth with.
- Portfolio Income: Income one gets from your portfolio of investments where it is generally derived from paper assets such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It is the second highest taxed income. It is the most popular type of income because paper assets have high liquidity and are easier to manage and maintain.
- Passive income: Income one gets continuously on a regular basis without working on the part of the person who’s receiving it. Generally derived from businesses, real estate investments, royalties, trademark licenses, stock dividends and distributions. It is the lowest-taxed income, with many tax benefits, and is the easiest income to build wealth with.
In 2015, Kiyosaki introduced a concept associated with three types of wealth. He gave a breakdown of those three wealth categories in his 2015 book Second Chance. Kiyosaki refers to the three types of as primary, secondary and tertiary. Kiyosaki states that primary and secondary wealth are the forms of wealth held by the rich while tertiary wealth are forms of wealth held by the poor and middle class and those who hold tertiary wealth will be wiped out during times of an economic crisis.
- Primary wealth: Wealth derived from direct ownership of physical resources such as land, livestock, lumber, oil, physical gold and silver, and fish.
- Secondary wealth: Wealth derived from production which is generated from a company’s capacity to produce more primary wealth. Examples of secondary wealth would include a dairy producing farm, gold and silver mines, a lumberyard, an oil well, a piece of real estate such as a townhouse or apartment building or a fishery.
- Tertiary wealth: A claim to wealth. Examples of tertiary wealth include an oil company stock, a municipal housing bond, a real estate investment trust, a gold ETF, or a mutual fund.
Kiyosaki also advocates the value of games, particularly Monopoly, as tools for learning basic financial concepts and strategies such as "trade four green houses for one red hotel." Kiyosaki has created several games such as Cashflow 101 and Cashflow 202 to reinforce the financial concepts written in his books.
Kiyosaki regularly expresses his views related to the global economy, investing, business, and personal finance. He has written numerous blog posts, financial columns, and through his Rich Dad Poor Dad series of books outlining his beliefs and views.
Views on education
Kiyosaki has been a harsh critic of the American education system, describing it as a broken and obsolete system as well as the lack of financial education being taught in it. Due to the lack of financial education being taught in schools, Kiyosaki often languished in the classroom and wondered didn't know why he was in school. During his schoolboy days, Kiyosaki felt the subjects he learned in school was not applicable in his real life and often wondered why he never learned anything about the subject of money and how it worked. Kiyosaki felt that school did not prepare him for the world of being an entrepreneur and often described his own childhood experience of not learning anything about how money worked or how to be an entrepreneur in school. He has described schools as places that teach people how to get jobs and become employees rather than entrepreneurs who wanted to start their own businesses and manage their own investments. He has criticized the American education system for not teaching people basic financial skills needed to prosper in a capitalistic society and says that the system is designed to produce employees instead of entrepreneurs. Kiyosaki further backs up his notion by citing a historical reference of oil industrialist John D. Rockefeller who took over the American education system through establishing the General Education Board in 1903 and utilized it as a system that produced employees rather than entrepreneurs. Kiyosaki has castigated schools and school systems that do not include financial knowledge as part of their curricula and has said that the rich have a conspiracy to keep people financially ignorant. Kiyosaki has also criticized the education system for failing to foster independent thinking and creativity as well as the system for robbing people from thinking like an entrepreneur, innovator, and investor.
Kiyosaki has criticized academic researchers that have an anti-capitalist and anti-money bias as Kiyosaki himself advocates the value of strong entrepreneurial and financial skills as necessary and useful traits to have in a capitalistic society. He has labelled academics with perceived anti-capitalist biases as "hardcore communists and socialists".
Kiyosaki has been critical of the rising cost of college tuition in addition to the falling income for millennial college graduates. He states that millennials entering college are paying obscene amounts of money for tuition, taking on crippling student loan debt, and finding a weak job market that doesn’t justify the costs. He has called organizations such as Sallie Mae as "racketeers" issuing student loans to students who are unable to declare bankruptcy and clear their loans as both corrupt and criminal. He has advised and cautioned to his readers and followers to educate themselves on the cost of college education and the expected return of the degree. He advises people to view and question college like any other investment and determining the return on investment on whether a college degree is really worth the money. He has described the millennial generation of college and university graduates as an entire generation being crushed by student loans they’ll never repay in an effort to get jobs that don’t exist. He has stated that a person going to college or university to achieve financial success is a "scam", a "sales pitch" and asserts the dogma that more education and schooling will make a person more financially successful as absolutely untrue. Kiyosaki further asserts that more education may leave a person unemployed and economically destitute in the long run citing numerous unemployed college graduates who are not finding a well paid job strong enough amortize their student loan debt. Kiyosaki also cites that American colleges and universities have produced an oversupply of overqualified university graduates, particularly holders of liberal arts degrees finding themselves in a weak job market that are either jobless or working odd jobs requiring less education as anecdotal and statistical examples.
Kiyosaki has criticized the conventional notion that if one goes to school and gets good grades, one will be successful financially and in life. Kiyosaki asserts that success in education, the world of academics or being successful in school doesn't make one financially successful or rich. He rejects this notion and asserts that good grades in school doesn't necessarily translate to financial success and that only success doing well in school guarantees is success in academia. He has cited many valedictorians that have been successful in school, but were not successful in the real world of business, investing, and in life financially. He has asserted that success in real life is not measured by grades on one's academic report card but by one's financial statement and that a persons financial statement is a persons "report card" for the rest of a persons life. He alludes to his own father's and his extended family's experience as highly educated and intelligent people who all held PhDs, yet were poor. Kiyosaki further alludes this notion taught by his highly educated father that going to school would give him a better chance at getting a good job and attaining financial success. However, he has questioned this notion where he uses his father, a PhD holder and a university professor as an illustration on how one can remain poor despite being academically successful and highly educated.
Kiyosaki has criticized people for equating general academic disciplines and concentrations taught in colleges and universities such as accounting, economics, finance, marketing, business administration with practical financial education. Kiyosaki cites his tax advisor and accountant, Tom Wheelwright who holds a master's degree in Accounting that he received no practical financial education on how to successfully manage his own personal finances. With the lack of financial education being taught in schools, Kiyosaki has told his readers that school at best teaches people how to balance a checkbook as well as being future clients to Wall Street. Kiyosaki states this since schools lack financial education, schools in turn instead recruit financial planners bankers to save money and put their money in a 401(k) to be future clients rather than teaching them practical financial education for students on how to successfully manage their own financial lives.
Views on Australian real estate
In December 2014, Kiyosaki believed that the Australian real estate was in a property bubble that was about to burst as he considered many foreign investors who are buying anything they can get their hands on. Kiyosaki has since then advised Australian investors to invest in commodities such gold or oil, where prices were falling.
Views on mutual funds
Kiyosaki has criticized mutual funds for lacking financial transparency. He wrote in one column that investors in any mutual fund with a 2.5% annual fee would, over a long time period take over 80% of the risk, surrender 80% of the earnings to the fund, while only earning 20% of the mutual fund profits, if there are any left over. Kiyosaki expanded on his criticism of mutual funds in another column by stating they are for "losers." Despite the fact that most mutual funds actually charged less than 1.1%. He has drawn much criticism for comparing investing in mutual funds to playing the lottery, and for discouraging 401(k) investing, contrary to the advice of most professional financial advisers. In contrast to these statements, Kiyosaki wrote in his book Prophecy that while mutual funds are not great investments, they remain one of the few acceptable investment vehicles available to those who will not educate themselves financially. With regards to mutual funds and most paper assets in general, Kiyosaki ridicules the retirement advice advised by many financial experts of "invest for the long term" and diversification as he considers the advice to be "bad advice" especially with HFT systems used by giant investment houses, with the capital to buy and operate multimillion-dollar computers, that are capable of performing thousands of trades a minute, trading against hapless amateur investors, day trading with the big investment houses are trading in milliseconds often ripping into the pension plan profits held by many pensioner retirees. He has labelled the advice "invest for the long term" and diversification as a sales pitch. Kiyosaki has stated the reason most people continue to choose mutual-fund investing is because of the simple process, which makes it inherently risky. He supports his reason by citing the stock market crash between March 2000 and March 2003, where it was estimated that millions of people lost $7 to $9 trillion in the market crash and the underlying reason is because millions of people mistook a common industry sales pitch for sound financial advice.
Kiyosaki's criticisms are supported by the founder of the mutual fund Vanguard, John C. Bogle. In a Frontline episode titled "401(k)s: The New Retirement Plan, For Better or Worse", Bogle stated that management fees and trading costs gobble up approximately 2.5% of an investor's annual returns and approximately 80% of an investor's long term gains. He says management costs reduce the value of a $1,000 investment over 65 years from approximately $140,000 at 8% compounded annually to a mere $30,000 at 5.5% compounded annually. Bogle's solution is to utilize index funds, which charge as little as 0.09%, to substantially reduce or eliminate management fees.
Many local stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), including WTTW of Chicago, KAET of Phoenix, KOCE of Orange County, California, WLIW of the New York/New Jersey area, and WGBH of Boston, featured Kiyosaki with his now cancelled Rich Dad TV series.
Kiyosaki has acted as a financial commentator and has given financial advice on numerous network television news channels such as on CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg. He has also been a featured guest with many prominent media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera, GBTV, and PBS to People's Daily, Sydney Morning Herald, The Doctors, Straits Times, and NPR.
He has appeared on programs such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Fox and Friends, Larry King Live, The O'Reilly Factor, The Alex Jones Show, Glenn Beck, and Your World with Neil Cavuto. In 2002, a speech given by Kiyosaki became the subject of a CNN story.
In 2006, Kiyosaki appeared on CNBC, discussing financial issues, answering questions from the audience, and comments by the financial experts were also invited. In particular, Kiyosaki also filled in a few episodes under the title The Millionaire Inside Debt-Free and The Millionaire Inside: Get Inspired. Other financial experts accompanied Kiyosaki, including David Bach, Jennifer Openshaw, Larry Winget, Keith Ferrazi, and Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts.
In 2009, Kiyosaki was featured in a 10 Questions session in Time magazine. Kiyosaki has criticized other financial gurus, particularly the financial teachings of Suze Orman and Jean Chatzky, calling it "bad advice". Orman responded to Kiyosaki's attacks via Twitter and the two engaged in a Twitter war in March 2010.
In 2010, Kiyosaki completed a mini-documentary, Shooting the Sacred Cows of Money. The documentary touches on the five essential elements of financial education which centers on debunking the destructive myths about money.
In 2013, Kiyosaki began hosting his own online radio show, where it focuses on his personal views on money, entrepreneurship, business, personal development and the global economy. With his personal frustration with financial advice being dispelled by financial pundits in mainstream financial and business media, Kiyosaki began envisioning his own radio show with his own team of professionals from the world of money, investing, business, and personal development. The show also hosts his wife, Kim Kiyosaki, special guests, as well as Rich Dad advisers where they provide various viewpoints on setting the foundation for financial prosperity.
In 2015, Kiyosaki completed a movie, The Man Who Could See the Future. The movie acts as a supplementary piece of learning material to compliment the release of his 2015 book Second Chance. The movie shares his personal revelations about money, life, and predicting the future, the importance of financial education, and how to successfully profit from the future of the global economy. In addition, it also gives a revealing glimpse of how architect R. Buckminster Fuller created the transition of him from being poor to becoming financially successful.
Kiyosaki has 3 younger siblings: Emi Kiyosaki (b.1948), Jon Kiyosaki (b.1949), and Beth Kiyosaki (b.1951). Emi Kiyosaki, is a former Tibetan Buddhist nun who was then known by the name Ven. Tenzin Kacho. He has co-authored one book with Emi called "Rich Brother, Rich Sister".
Robert is married to Kim Kiyosaki, who is now an entrepreneur, investor, author, and motivational speaker. Since 1994, the Kiyosakis have lived in the Scottsdale area in Phoenix, Arizona. The two have no children. Kiyosaki also owns and rents out a vacation home in Hawaii. He also owns a sailboat that is chartered throughout the Hawaiian Islands. He also owns several luxury cars that include a Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, Mercedes Benz and a Ferrari.
In a Jetset magazine column on October 20, 2015, Kiyosaki endorsed and supported Republican candidate Donald Trump for the 2016 Presidential elections. Though having no interest or involvement in politics, Kiyosaki stated that he foresaw Donald Trump's candidacy back in 2006 as much of his support to Trump resonates through their common ground as educators, investors and entrepreneurs as well as their concern for the growing need for financial education. He also states that Trump is the only candidate who knows how to negotiate tough with China, Middle East, Europe, and Mexico, how to create jobs and make money in addition to having enough influence and desire to convince Congress to lower corporate income-tax rates to repatriate offshore money held by multinational corporations in foreign nations.
Criticism and controversy
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 responds that his material is meant to be a motivational tool to get readers thinking about money rather than a guide to wealth. He also says the books are supposed to be "interesting" to people, which does not involve a lot of technical material.
Kiyosaki has been criticized for being anti-education, advocating people to drop out of school and for downplaying the importance of higher education for playing a role in 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. Kiyosaki believes that complete education — education that includes comprehensive financial education — is the most important factor in determining whether a person will be financially successful. He has shared anecdotes of close friends and students being unable to pay back their student loans and students with college degrees that are unemployed or working odd jobs requiring less education. He has also stated that a person doesn't necessarily need a college degree to be financially successful in life. Kiyosaki has also cited the greater risk of being unemployed, being unable to default on student loans and falling into a lower-income category for millennial college and university graduates due to the fast changing job market conditions in the Information Age. Kiyosaki has also questioned the perceived value and worth of a college degree and its return on investment and has stated to people that a college degree may be obsolete as knowledge becomes more obsolete and outdated much quicker in the Information Age. Kiyosaki reiterated his sentiments regarding on the perceived value of higher education as well as the issue of numerous unemployed millennial college graduates being unable to pay back massive student loans.
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Over the past two decades, on an asset-weighted basis, average expense ratios incurred by mutual fund investors have fallen significantly [...]. In 1990, equity fund investors on average incurred expenses of 99 basis points—or 99 cents for every $100 invested. By contrast, expense ratios averaged 77 basis points for equity fund investors in 2012, a decline of more than 20 percent from 1990. The average expense ratio of hybrid funds fell from 102 basis points to 79 basis points. Bond fund expense ratios declined from 88 basis points in 1990 to 61 basis points in 2012, a 31 percent drop.
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