Behavior

Rich Wolf, Poor Sheep

The world will always have charlatans.

Shams. Frauds. Fakes.

Mountebanks. (there’s your million-dollar word for the day.)

I guess there’s an inner demon in human nature that compels some to prey on others.

Most charlatans discover a roundabout way to extract money from their victims. Start by talking about the weather. Then ask about the kids. Then mention these amazing pills. Yep—longer and stronger. Oh by the way—would you want to invest in this pill company?

Not so in personal finance and investing. No roundabout needed. The entire conversation is already about money. It’s so easy to sell the idea of “make more money.” That’s why the world of money is ripe for charlatans.

I’m not too worried about the “obvious charlatans.” These are the “Nigerian princes” and ForEx salesmen pitching 30% gains per day. Their proposals are too stupid to be effective. Heck—the phrase “obvious charlatan” is an oxymoron. A talented charlatan is, by definition, deceptive.

The real problems are the wolves in sheep’s clothing. The guys (and yes—they’re usually guys) presenting a genuine, fluffy exterior to belie their bloodthirsty fangs.

I’m sure I’d fall prey to some of them. Maybe I already have. But compared to the average Joe, my radar for financial fakery is pretty well-tuned.

That’s how I know Robert Kiyosaki is a charlatan.

Yes, He’s a Fraud

I’m sorry if you’ve read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m sorry if Robert Kiyosaki is a mentor to you.

He’s a wolf. The worst kind of wolf. Because he’s great at being a faux sheep. And he has convinced a lot of sheep (no offense) that he has their best interest in mind.

It’s a bastardization of the idea of “best interest.” And I take that personally.

Kiyosaki Gets a Little Credit

His book Rich Dad, Poor Dad is entertaining and engaging. It contains some great ideas (and some shitty ones). But for many people, Rich Dad was the first book that spoke to them in layman’s terms and introduced them to the idea of ownership—real estate, stocks, a small business, etc—as a vessel to financial growth.

Let’s give Kiyosaki a pat on the back for a solid, influential book.

That was 1997. What’s Kiyosaki done since?

He’s Been a Fraud for 25 Years

He’s predicted doom and gloom time after time. As regular reader Craig G. likes to joke, “He’s predicted 27 of the last 2 market crashes.”

Will Kiyosaki eventually be right? Of course he will. The market will eventually crash, as I wrote last October. Go ahead and read it. I called it a year ago. Just sayin’…

But I’m transparent in admitting that nobody knows when the market correction is coming. Nobody. Not me, you, nor Kiyosaki. But look how many times Kiyosaki has called for a crash—and look what the market has done since.

Cheers to Twitter user @LucTenHave for creating this chart.

Just revel in it. Look at that shit. Ewwwwwww.

And he was at it again this past week.

Kiyosaki has been wrong time after time. And if you’d listened to him, your investing dollars would be in a terrible state. He would have damaged your hard-earned money. And he would have charged you for it.

That’s the kind of mentor and advisor that Kiyosaki is. My friend Stephen nailed his response.

Why Robert? Why?!?!

You might wonder…So, why is Kiyosaki continually wrong? Why hasn’t he learned from his mistakes?

STOP. If you’re asking those questions, you don’t understand Kiyosaki.

He knows that he’s wrong. Yes! He knows!

He just doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to learn from his mistakes.

So now you might wonder…But, why then? Why is he predicting terrible things?

The Worst Kind of Marketing

He’s fear-mongering—a tried-and-true charlatan marketing tactic.

He is preying on your fears (the fear of losing money, the fear of missing out on a big opportunity).

Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator.

And Robert knows that if he can scare you, then he can sell to you.

He wants you to buy his book. Or buy a ticket to his talk. Or his online course, *today only for $99.99.*

He’s marketing. He’s selling. And he’s preying on your fear to do so.

But Jesse—you’re playing into Kiyosaki’s hands. Marketing = Attention. He wants attention. He wants his name written down. You’re giving it to him.

I’m ok with giving him attention, so long as you—my audience—realize that he sucks. His last two decades of advice have sucked. And I want you to know that and to avoid getting hurt by it. You’re my priority, and Robert can go suck it.

As fellow writer Nick Maggiulli recently pointed out, Kiyosaki will keep doing this until enough people tell him he can peddle his shit elsewhere.

So, readers, I hope you consider telling Kiyosaki just that.

He doesn’t care if he’s wrong as long as it sells. This has been his business model for the past 25 years. It’s a wolf’s business model, hidden by the wooly façade that a bestselling book created for him in 1997.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad?

Nah.

Rich Wolf, Poor Sheep. And we aren’t sheep.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this article and want to read more, I’d suggest checking out my Archive or Subscribing to get future articles emailed to your inbox.

-Jesse

P.S. – If you enjoy podcasts, check out the Best Interest Podcast! It’s getting some rave reviews!

About Jesse Cramer

Jesse Cramer created The Best Interest to explain personal finance and investing in simple terms. His writing has been featured by CNBC, MSN, The Motley Fool, and other national publications. He resides in Rochester, NY with his girlfriend and their dog. Follow him on Twitter: @BestInterest_JC
View all posts by Jesse Cramer →

7 thoughts on “Rich Wolf, Poor Sheep

  1. You know that Nigerian prince thing goes way back to before email and internet were things. It started with real physical letters with actual Nigerian stamps and postmarks sent to, I think, mostly oil company executives. I remember how cool those stamps were and that when I asked a friend who was a Fortune 500 CEO of another oil company if he got those too, he just nodded and said he got them frequently. I’m guessing they actually worked more in the early days because, no internet, so there was no way to know they were sending thousands of those real paper letters out. Unless you met a friend in the barber shop, like I did, you really wouldn’t know they were a mass mailing thing, they were hand typed and hand signed. It really was kind of an art form in the world of scams. But, of course, it was obviously sketchy and nobody I knew was dumb enough to fall for it. Or if they did they were to embarrassed to admit it! And Mr. K’s book, I thought it was painful to read and had almost as much bad advice as good.

  2. It’s sad to see someone stoop to this level. His book was a solid entry point for most investors. He also wrote like 1,000 follow ups. He *should* have had enough cash to fly off into the sunset and drink Margaritas daily on the beach. Good lord, the insatiable need for more. What is next Kiyosaki Water?

  3. Thanks to you and Stephen Wealthy for calling him out. Pointing this out on social media will hopefully help prevent others from falling into his hate/fear, negativity and untruths he keeps spewing. Keep up the good public service calling out these types of grifters!

  4. Thanks for be real about Rich Dad Poor Dad.

    I liked the book when I read it and the concepts are straightforward, but to be honest it wasn’t a huge “life-changing” book for me. A lot of it is common sense. Save money, invest – the high level ideas in the book are good but nothing revolutionary.

    Where Kiyosaki gets things wrong is the low-level ideas of how to execute with your money, y’know, the part that actually matters.

    To his credit though, he’s successfully predicted the last 2000 of the past 2 bear markets.

    1. Hey GMGL! Thanks for writing in.

      Agreed – the concepts of the book are solid! But not necessarily different . Perhaps the thing he got most correct was telling his story in a way that engaged the non-money layperson.

      As for his recent work(s)…yikes.
      And yes, his predictions are incredibly…frequent.

      -Jesse

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