Related: Analyzing a Kiyosaki cornerstone: Is Your Home an Asset or Liability?.
Chuck Jaffe, a writer with MarketWatch, set his sights on the Teach Me to Trade seminar last year, and ordained the event his “Stupid Investment of the Week.” This year, he attended Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Academy,” and came to the same conclusion.
Robert Kiyosaki, whose advice is short on concrete ideas, has built an empire with his Rich Dad, Poor Dad series of books, videos, and board games, has developed a series of seminars. This is particularly ironic since his philosophy eschews education in all forms. Here’s what Jaffe has to say about this experience in the teaser seminar.
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The free come-on seminar was pitching the most basic training basic real estate course, one which focuses on taking advantage of foreclosure situations and distress situations to find ways to finance your deals. While Huffman showed a diagram with 11 different three-day training courses — and he mentioned the possibility of hiring a mentor instead of going to the classes at all — the focus was just on doing the one class.
Most people might have thought they were getting a one-and-done deal and at a significant discount (attendees at the free seminar were offered the chance to register for the class, normally $995 online, for just $495). But there’s little doubt that one training seminar will lead to hard-sell pitches for others. Several members of the audience had previously paid for Rich Dad training; interestingly, the three I talked to said they have yet to turn a profit, but expect to soon.
The seminar leader focused on foreclosures, which are seen as a surefire way to make quick money thanks to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. But there are still lots of foreclosed property shoppers as well, and competition in the marketplace is making these “investments” less favorable.
Jaffe ends with this:
Clearly, everyone who liked Huffman’s pitch and bought Rich Dad Academy training has the potential to be the next success story, but most won’t be; Kiyosaki’s advice — however flawed some people find it — has worked for at least a small-but-dedicated group of followers.
But that success story is not likely to be the “average” attendee, but rather the exceptional one, the person who dives in with a passion and single-mindedness that stand out from the crowd.
The introductory seminar was free, and you get what you pay for. If you want to learn the “66 Ways to Find Bargain Properties and Motivated Sellers” and “17 Key Internet and Realtor Search Criteria,” you have to attend a three-day seminar with the price of $1,000. Attendees were given the “opportunity” to buy their tickets for “only” $500 a piece.
Before you pay for a seminar you must do your due diligence. Ask about the success rate of people who have taken the class. If you can’t get accurate information — or worse, you’re mocked for asking a valid question — pass on the seminar. There’s no need to fatten Kiyosaki’s wallet.
A common theme in seminars, whether it’s the get-rich-quick type or the change-your-life type, is the instruction to dismiss any contrary arguments as not valid. I see that is what Jaffe experienced in this seminar. That’s also what I experienced when I was strongly suggested to attend a Landmark Education Forum. Anyone who disagrees with the effectiveness of the “education” “just doesn’t understand.”
Updated October 15, 2015 and originally published July 14, 2007.