I have a confession to make. There were many years when I didn’t like “Rich Dad” Robert Kiyosaki. Only recently have I become a fan but it’s taken me a while to come around.
Robert Kiyosaki is the creator of the Rich Dad brand, and author of a bazillion books like Rick Dad, Poor Dad and Cash Flow Quadrant. Kiyosaki’s message is: Poor people work for their money while rich people have their money work for them. And he uses a quadrant to illustrate his message, showing how poor or middle-class people are either employees or self-employed people who trade their hours for pay while rich people are business owners and investors who use their money to make more money.
I first read one of Kiyosaki’s books back in 2000 (I think it was his Cash Flow Quadrant book, although I can’t remember). The book was okay but I confess I didn’t love it and it took me years before I came around to appreciate and admire Kiyosaki.
Here are the reasons that I wasn’t a fan:
1. KIYOSAKI IS ALL SIZZLE AND NO STEAK
His ideas about why someone should own a business or invest in real estate were good. But I felt that he lacked the “how-to-do-it” that I was looking for. He is the master of packaging ideas but they didn’t always fulfill a value quotient, in my opinion.
What changed for me recently was a book I picked up called The Real Book of Real Estate in which Kiyosaki’s name is splashed prominently on the front but he has 22 other people write the book… and their insights are really quite valuable. While reading the book, I realized that Kiyosaki doesn’t have to provide the steak. He provides the sizzle and other people can provide the steak.
2. KIYOSAKI’S IDEAS CONFLICTED WITH MY ASPIRATIONS
I have always aspired to be a writer. That’s all I ever wanted to do. There are parts of being a writer that are “B” (Business owner) qualities, such as writing a book, and Kiyosaki’s advice would be to focus there. But there are parts of being a writer that are “S” (Self-employed), which Kiyosaki says are part of a less-than-ideal business model. The problem was, I really liked being a writer and enjoyed the “B” part of the business as well as the “S” part of the business. (Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Kiyosaki, he makes a distinction between being self-employed, where the business is entire dependent on you, and being a business-owner, where you grow a business that doesn’t require your input). It felt like Kiyosaki was discounting my aspirations.
What changed for me recently was re-reading Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad book (as part of a project for a client). In that book, Kiyosaki makes the excellent point that people should work to learn rather than work for money, then they can use their education to build businesses and invest. I can live with that because it helps me to see that there is a legitimate balance between what I do on the freelancing side of my business and what I do on the book/e-book writing side of my business.
3. KIYOSAKI’S DISCIPLES DROVE ME CRAZY
Yeah, that might sound harsh but in the past 12 years that I’ve been familiar with Kiyosaki’s ideas and worked with entrepreneurs and real estate investors, many of the biggest Kiyosaki disciples drove me crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I sat down with a prospective client who was stuck in a dead-end job and up to their nose in debt (while I ran my decently successful, debt-free business) only to have them lecture me about why my business needed to be a “B” business instead of an “S” business. And I’ve seen a bunch of aspiring real estate investors regurgitate the words “I want a cash flow positive property” without really understanding what it means, and while turning down potentially lucrative short-term deals because they didn’t meet their idea of a Kiyosaki-quality investment. And Kiyosaki’s emphasis on network marketing has created an army of pro-network-marketers who continue to make the same mistakes that lead to failure in their MLM businesses.
What changed for me was a client I’ve been working with who had me dig back into Kiyosaki’s work for some of his projects. He is an extremely successful real estate investor and lives out many of Kiyosaki’s principles in a way that most aspiring investors only dream of. I started to see Kiyosaki’s principles in action (something I hadn’t seen in the first decade of my familiarity with Kiyosaki’s work).
I’M TURNING INTO A KIYOSAKI FAN… SLOWLY
I’m not yet ready to go out and buy all of Kiyosaki’s books or get a Rich Dad tattoo or attend his seminars (PLEASE don’t invite me) but I have gained a new appreciation for Kiyosaki and I see the value that his platform can provide. I’m not quitting my “S” business just yet but (to use Kiyosaki’s own terminology), I’m building assets in the “B” and “I” categories of his quadrant. And I’m learning to respect his audience.
If you are a Kiyosaki disciple, here are some of my own thoughts for you:
- Kiyosaki has a good platform but he lacks step-by-step methodology and that might be holding you back. There are other resources out there that might be able to help you. Use Rich Dad as a springboard to do other research from other experts and don’t be afraid to move outside of the Rich Dad boundaries to see how other people are applying Kiyosaki’s ideas.
- If you’re an employee right now and you want to become rich, it can be hard to go from “E” to “I” in one step. Instead, make a plan to go from “E” to “S” to “B” to “I”. The steps are smaller and you can learn a lot along the way.
- Not every person aspires to be a real estate investor. There are other kinds of investments out there. You might be suprised.
- Remember that all of Kiyosaki’s ideas are only good if you actually act on them. If at this time next year you are still an employee and haven’t done anything else to move beyond that, then Kiyosaki’s ideas have no value for you. Action gets results. Figure out what is holding you back and address that.