Robert Toru Kiyosaki (born April 8, 1947) is an investor, businessman, self-help author and motivational speaker. Kiyosaki is best known for his Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of motivational books and other material. He has written 18 books which combined have sold over 26 million copies. Although beginning as a self-publisher, he was subsequently published by Warner Books, a division of Hachette Book Group USA, currently his new books appear under the Rich Dad Press imprint. Three of his books, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Rich Dad's CASHFLOW Quadrant, and Rich Dad's Guide to Investing, have been on the top 10 best-seller lists simultaneously on The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. The book Rich Kid Smart Kid was published in 2001, with the intent to help parents teach their children financial concepts. He has created three "Cashflow" board and software games for adults and children and has a series of "Rich Dad" audio cassettes and disks. He also publishes a monthly newsletter.
He is married to Kim Kiyosaki.
Kiyosaki stresses what he calls "financial literacy" as the means to obtaining wealth. 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." And according to Kiyosaki, in order to obtain financial freedom, one must be either a business owner or an investor, generating passive income.
Kiyosaki speaks often of what he calls "The Cashflow Quadrant," a conceptual tool that aims to describe how all the money in the world is earned. Depicted in a diagram, this concept entails four groupings, split with two 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.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money—That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! (1997)
Originally self-published before being picked up commercially to become a best seller, the central concept of the book is an anecdotal comparison of his "two fathers." His "poor dad" was his biological father, who became Superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education but had very little real net worth. Contrasted with this is his (arguably fictitious, see "Criticism and controversy" section of this article) "rich dad," advocates tax-advantaged investment vehicles, such as real estate or businesses, rather than ownership of securities. This idea is further developed in his later books and "Rich Dad" became Kiyosaki's personal brand for various publishing ventures.Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom (2000)
Cashflow Quadrant is a personal finance and investing book written with Sharon Lechter, C.P.A. as the sequel to Rich Dad, Poor Dad. In it, Kiyosaki discusses what he calls the cashflow quadrant: a grid consisting of the letters "E", "S", "B", and "I". The cashflow quadrant itself is just an illustrative tool to show the difference between Employees, Self Employed/Small Business owners, Business owners (not directly involved in the day-to-day operation of the company), and Investors. Kiyosaki discusses the differences between concepts and ideas characteristic of each quadrant, particularly as they relate to passive income and tax advantages. Again, as a self-help author, he invites readers to consider their own ideas about money.Rich Dad's Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in, That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not! (2000)
Rich Dad's Guide to Investing gives the reader a roadmap to becoming the Ultimate Investor, one who uses other peoples' money to create investments that people want to buy into. While the first two books use broad strokes, this one goes into much more detail about actually implementing some of the strategies heretofore discussed. Rich Kid, Smart Kid (2001)
Rich Kid, Smart Kid is a retelling of Kiyosaki's views, condensed and clarified to try and help parents better understand and teach their children key financial concepts. It includes a series of activities that a parent can do with their child to make them aware of property, finance and the various ways and places businesses make money.Rich Dad's Prophecy (2002)
Rich Dad's Prophecy predicts that the market will crash around 2016 when the oldest Baby Boomers start cashing out their 401(k) plans. Individuals whose savings are locked into 401(k) plans will suffer because these retirement plans are not flexible and do not do well in a bear market. Robert Kiyosaki believes this may be his most important book yet.Why We Want You To Be Rich coauthored by Donald Trump (2007)
Why We Want You To Be Rich is a book written by both Robert Kiyosaki and Donald Trump. It encourages individuals to become financially literate to combat the upcoming problems facing America, such as the shrinking middle class and the entitlement mentality.
There are two stages to the game. In the first, "the rat race", the player aims to raise his or her character's passive income level to where it exceeds the character's expenses. The winner is determined in the second stage, "the fast track". To win, a player must get his character to buy his "dream" or accumulate $50,000 in monthly cash flow.
The game forces the players to do the accounts by themselves. In place of "score cards", there are financial statements. Therefore, players can see more clearly what is happening with their money. It generally shows how assets generate incomes and liabilities and 'doodads' affect expenses. Cashflow 202 "Cashflow 202" is a more advanced game than Cashflow 101. It is designed to help players learn about more sophisticated investing strategies. Cashflow 101 was generally meant to teach investing techniques that would work best in an "up market" where property values steadily increase, whereas Cashflow 202 is supposed to teach investment strategies for a fluctuating market where property values depreciate as well as rise.Cashflow for Kids "Cashflow for Kids" is basically a children's version of Cashflow 101, good for ages 5 through 9. There is also a Cashflow for Kids e-game available for free.Cashflow The E-Game "Cashflow The E-Game" is a computer software version of the Cashflow 101 board game. It is not necessary to have the board game in order to play the computer game.Cashflow 202 The E-Game "Cashflow 202 The E-Game" is a software expansion of the computer game "Cashflow The E-Game". Its counterpart is the "Cashflow 202" board game described earlier in this article.
In contrast to the argument above, Kiyosaki explains in his book, Prophecy that mutual funds are not bad investments, they are simply risky investments for those that are financially educated.
Kiyosaki's claim is given some credence by the founder of mutual fund powerhouse Vanguard, John C. Bogle. In a Frontline episode titled 401(k)s: The New Retirement Plan, For Better or Worse, Bogle, too, claims 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 to substantially reduce or eliminate management fees.
There is also disagreement over how blurred the line is between fiction and anecdote in many of his works. Critics believe that Rich Dad is fictional and that Kiyosaki created him as an author surrogate (a literary device). In the past, Kiyosaki has maintained that Rich Dad actually existed, but that he died decades before the book was first published. However, he has never revealed his name or any other identifying information. Attempts by outsiders to determine Rich Dad's identity have not revealed a conclusive candidate, despite the prominence such a wealthy individual would likely have had in Hawaii in the 1950s. However, in page 25 of "Why we want you to be rich", the book he co-authored with Donald Trump, Kiyosaki positively asserts that Rich Dad really existed.
Former real estate investor and author of books on real estate investment John T. Reed has questioned much of what Kiyosaki has claimed to have achieved. According to Reed, much of Kiyosaki's advice is illegal, makes no sense or is the product of "a rather ignorant, not very bright, novice, investor wannabe". He concludes his criticism, saying that "Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the dumbest financial advice books I have ever read. It contains many factual errors and numerous extremely unlikely accounts of events that supposedly occurred."
Kiyosaki has also been criticized for being overly repetitious in his teachings. Some consider this a tactic to produce "filler" material in order to make it appear he is covering more material. Kiyosaki claims that this is an intentional teaching style that he feels is important for maximum retention. Repetition often in the form of multiple points of view looking at the same concept help solidify the concept in the mind of the reader.
Even some of the facts he has offered directly have been questioned. For example, on September 19, 2006, Kiyosaki wrote in a Yahoo Finance article that the NYMEX is an exchange where "... pork bellies,… are traded". In reality, pork bellies are not traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
ABC ran a 20/20 segment on May 19, 2006 in which Kiyosaki was to advise 3 entrepreneurs on how to make money. They were given $1000 and 20 days to try and make the most money possible. At the end, after mediocre results, the contestants alleged that Kiyosaki never gave concrete advice. "All he [Kiyosaki] does is, I guess, is open your mind to the possibility. He doesn't tell you how to do it." Kiyosaki responds by saying that failure is important to learn. At the end, 20/20 asks, "Does anyone really need 18 books to learn to fail?"
Kiyosaki wrote a column in Yahoo Finance in which he blames poverty on laziness. He also implies a religious justification for wealth disparity. "Over the years, I've met many losers who pray to God to give them gold. God helps those who help themselves. Again, the conquistadors may have been killers and thieves, but at least they knew how to help themselves.
Kiyosaki downplays the importance of traditional and tertiary education in achieving financial success. Studies of the median incomes that come with different levels of education suggest the contrary, such as the one found here
Kiyosaki has also been associated with "multi-level marketing" companies such as Amway, and in 2000 gave a keynote speech at a Quixtar conference. On page 135 of Rich Dad's Who Took My Money?, Kiyosaki admits to his involvement with the MLM industry, stating "I often speak to network marketing businesses because they provide low-cost entry for people to start businesses while also providing them valuable training and mentoring."