Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

by Mr. Cheap

I think I heard about and read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” right when it hit the tipping point and everyone was talking about it (I’d guess around 2004 maybe?). My aunt and uncle had read it, and I wanted to borrow another book from them and they forced this one on me. They told me it was about this guy and his two fathers (they couldn’t remember exactly how he had two fathers, but they assured me they explained it at the beginning), one of whom was a business guy, and the other was an academic. My uncle is very anti-education, so I was immediately suspicious and asked if it glorified the “business father” and denounced the “academic father”. They assured me this wasn’t the case and I foolishly read it.

From a very early age my parents taught me that its better to save then spend, and ideally you put money into things where it grows (how do you think I became Mr. Cheap?). Unfortunately they also made me ultra-conservative, and I wasted my investing youth on GICs and CSBs, but that’s a story for another day. With this background, when Mr. Kiyosaki advocated buying assets (which he defined as things that increase in value) instead of liabilities (which he defines as things that decrease in value) my reaction was “well, duh?!?!”.

I was excited when he kept promising to tell you how to find investments that would yield 13 or 17% (that range seems to be his “conservative estimated returns throughout the book”, but I got to the last page and hadn’t found anything.

John T. Reed thoroughly debunks Rich Dad, Poor Dad and if you’re at all thinking about reading this book or are enthusiastic after reading it, I’d recommend reading through his entire analysis before you gamble money on any of his ideas.

A couple of the things that Mr. Reed points out that bothered me too were that Bob seems quite unethical (I was bothered by him creating a library out of “discarded” comics that had been reported destroyed to the publisher and making money off of them the same way Mr. Reed was). I also didn’t like his re-defining the terms assets and liabilities. His “definition” of an asset is simply an appreciating asset, while his definition of a liability is a depreciating liability. Depreciating assets (like cars) aren’t liabilities and appreciating liabilities (like mortgages) aren’t assets. A car that you need to earn a living is still a depreciating asset, even though its a required expense for a business that earns money.

If you’ve read it, well at least its a fast, easy read. If you haven’t: don’t bother.

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