Book Review: FAKE by Robert Kiyosaki

To this day, I still don’t understand Robert Kiyosaki. He’s the international best selling author who penned, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That was the 1997 book when Kiyosaki claimed he had access to both a rich father figure and a poor father figure. He decided to follow the rich dad, thus making Kiyosaki rich too. Really? I was born to a poor dad who later became a rich dad and in all honesty, I preferred my poor dad. Poor dad was a fun loving father. Rich dad was a man hell bent on making more and more money regardless of those he had to claw over in order to get that money. Truthfully, who would you choose to be your dad?

fake.jpg

Robert Kiyosaki’s latest book, FAKE, is supposed to expose to us how all money is fake, most teachers are fake (because they don’t teach financial literacy to anyone) and how assets, such as owning a home, is fake. These fake lies, according to Kiyosaki, makes the poor and middle classes poorer. Well, if you are poor, how can you get any poorer? The true victim in all of this is the middle class. They are the group that is paying all the taxes so rich monsters like Kiyosaki can get away with not paying any taxes AND the poor classes keep getting more and more benefits (such as free health care, free higher education, free food, home heating and subsidized housing).

If you had to choose between rich and poor, our socialistic society (not the capitalistic pig that Kiyosaki claims he is) gives a ton of benefits to those who are poor. Why then, would anyone want to choose to work hard, struggle and strive to be rich, only to have their hard earned money taken away in taxes and given to the poorer classes? Unless you can achieve extreme wealth, such as the $700million net worth of Robert Kiyosaki, whereby his wealth helps him avoid paying taxes, you’re literally screwed in the current financial environment. Thus the decline of the middle classes.

Eventually the government will run out of its fake, daily printed money and everything will collapse. The poor won’t feel any pain because they are poor. The rich won’t feel any pain either because, hey! they’re rich and cushioned (not with paper money but with gold & silver, the only “money” that Kiyosaki will deal with).

In the book FAKE, all throughout its 461 pages, Robert Kiyosaki keeps saying the same things over and over and over and over again: in 1971, then President Nixon took the U.S. Dollar off the gold standard, making our printed money henceforth, worthless, thus fake. Teachers, financial advisors, our leaders AND our parents know nothing about money. Their old advice of going to college, getting a good job, saving money, get out of debt, invest for the long term and diversify is obsolete. Really? What’s the alternative? Kiyosaki never tells. You have to keep buying his books (25 so far) to find out.

Lastly, because of the 2008 Housing Crisis, Kiyosaki states owning a home is a liability, a fake asset. A home costs you money. Doesn’t give you any money (like rental properties. Kiyosaki owns 6500 rental properties through the world). Never mind that if you hold onto your home long enough, you can sell it at a profit, the first $500,000 of which (per couple) is totally tax free. Doesn’t matter that the real truth of the 2008 housing collapse had to do with complete morons and nincompoops buying homes they couldn’t afford with no money they didn’t have to put down as a deposit and no mortgage income verifications. Everyone thought owning a house was a path to a get-rich-quick scheme. That’s not the fault of quality home ownership. That’s just the greed of an uneducated mass led astray by even more greedier bankers.

Kiyosaki also touts that most pension plans are fake, most Americans (78%) live paycheck to paycheck and Baby Boomers will run out of money in retirement. No they won’t. Not if they purchased a home correctly (20% down, less square footage, remain in the home till retirement with a paid-off mortgage). See above. Retiring with at least $500,000 in equity (that’s a half million dollars people, on a home that you lived in and gave you shelter) may be chump change to the likes of elitist Kiyosaki, but it’s financial freedom to people like you and me.

My paid-off home costs me annually: $5038 in property taxes, $704 in insurance, $1200 in maintenance, $1152 in electricity, $1800 in heating. That comes to an annual total of $9894. That’s $825 a month! Where can I go and live, for that little amount of money? Just to rent an apartment in my area, whether a studio or a one bedroom would cost me anywhere between $1000 and $1200 per month! Most landlords charge for heating ($100 a month) and you still have to pay your own electric bill ($75 a month) and renter’s insurance ($250 per year). You may think the maintenance on an apartment is free, but eventually your landlord will raise your rent so that he/she can meet their own financial requirements by passing the costs onto you. Moving in not an option.

For arguments sake, lets say if I rented, it would cost me $14,350 per year, based on the figures (rent, heat, electricity, insurance) listed above (assuming $1,000 a month rent). That comes to $1196 a month vs the $825 a month if I owned my own home. That’s a savings of $371 a month, $4452 for the year, $133,560 for thirty years of home ownership, providing none of the expenses increased over the thirty years, which we all know is improbable. Not spending $133,560 over the past thirty years loosened up a lot of money for the homeowner vs the renter. At the end of thirty years, the renter has nothing to show for themselves. The home owner, however, if he/she were smart would have an ample savings account (provided they didn’t piddle away the $133,560 in savings) plus they’d have ample equity (if they didn’t stupidly refinance and drain out their equity) to retire comfortably without ever working harder over the last thirty years.

Don’t want to work for thirty years? Want to retire rich at age twenty-nine instead? Do you believe in F.I.R.E.? Financial Independence Retire Early? Here’s what Kevin O’Leary, billionaire star of NBC’s Shark Tank has to say about early retirement:

Do you want to know what’s really wrong with our financial system, here in America? Kiyosaki has the answer to that question right.

It’s the lack of education!

Nobody knows anything about proper money management. It’s not taught in school. It’s figured out by us through trial and error. We have to make mistakes before we can learn. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather learn in a classroom than the real world on how to manage my money. Who wants to suffer failure and loss in order to learn?

Kevin Leary goes further on how he wants to help solve America’s illiteracy when it comes to finances and retirement. Listen and watch:

I study finance from the moment I wake up in the morning till the time I go to bed at night. I am constantly reading what almost everyone has to say about proper money management. You’d think I’d be a billionaire by now but I’m not. That’s because I have no desire to be rich. I don’t like what it takes to make yourself rich. I don’t like rich people nor do I want to associate with rich people. Most of them are not very nice people. I’m not going to buy anyone’s books (I get all my literature for free through my library) nor am I going to attend any of their lectures or retreats.

I prefer the slow and easy way up the ladder. And if that means I have to be a bit poorer, then so it be. There are benefits to being poor in this country. Don’t snub your nose of living with less and below your means. Sometimes living with a little bit less, in smaller digs and with less investments can truly be the financial independence one seeks. I didn’t learn that from a book. I learned that through trial and error.

Respect the dollar, even if it is paper. Figure out what’s important to you and your family. Most times, flying first class isn’t so important or enjoyable as you might think it is. Put blinders on and live your own best life. Not someone else’s. Go to college, but make it a trade school. Plumbers and welders earn way more now than doctors and lawyers. And plumbers and welders are real people. To me. Not elitists. Buy a home but one that’s affordable to you now and forever. There is no reason to upgrade. Every time you reach for a hammer or remodel your kitchen or bathroom, it’s not an expense. You’re making an investment in yourself. Eventually, that precious home is going to reward you for all the hard work you put into it over the years.

Financial pundits claim that you’ll never be rich if all you do is save, save, save. Really? How many of us know stories of the lowly bookkeeper or postal worker who saved their money and died with millions, only to will said funds to someone more deserving? Click here to read the story of the UPS employee, Theodore Johnson, who never earned more than $14,000 a year yet died with a net worth of $70million dollars. He was able to make all that money because he was poor and never taxed. And he bought many, many shares of UPS stock over the years he was employed there. At the time of Johnson’s death, he willed over $36million to various causes, as well as set up educational trust funds for his son and grandchildren.

There’s nothing fake about the life of Theodore Johnson. His story is as real as they can come. Keep reading. Keep learning. And trust yourself. No one can manage your money better than yourself.

Side Note: Here’s an aerial photo of Kiyosaki’s home. One of many, many on planet earth.

robert kiyosaki home shot.png
Guess he sold a lot of books, eh?

 

17 comments

  1. Excellent post! Responsible financial education should be a must in our schools. You are right on the money here!

    Like

  2. Great post as usual Cindi. My husband and I definitely do not have that much money, BUT we are living in our paid for in full home which we purchased 20 years ago for $143,000 and which today is worth almost $400,000.

    Homes in Miami, even in the outer suburbs where we live, are outrageously expensive, even modest homes, like ours.

    Between the HOA ( a reasonable $115 a month for the past 20 years), our homeowners insurance, and taxes, we pay about $800 a month just to live here. You can’t find that deal anywhere in Miami.

    It is not a mansion but it is a small three bedroom two bath home with a tiny-ish patio, just perfect for us when we were raising our combined five children, and now for the 2 of us and our giant dog.

    As a retired social worker, what you say about the middle class is very true. In my 40 years of practicing social work, I worked with many poor and/or indigent individuals. What kept them afloat were the benefits they qualified for. These may have been food stamps, home subsidies, Section 8 housing, TANF ( temporary assistance to needy families ), assistance was there.

    Obviously none of the individuals that I worked with and all those years were living a life of ease, but they were able to get by because of these government benefits and subsidies. The extremely rich, don’t have to worry about anything at all obviously because they have the money to pay for it.
    Obviously none of the individuals that I worked with and all those years were living a life of ease, but they were able to get by because of these government benefits and subsidies. The extremely rich, don’t have to worry about anything at all obviously because they have the money to pay for it.

    The people that I saw really struggling were the middle class or the lower middle class, who often did not qualify for much in the way of benefits and because their income put them over the threshold to qualify.

    Sadly, often times it was a matter of just a few dollars over in their monthly income that prevented them from qualifying for assistance that they desperately needed. It is indeed the middle class, especially the lower middle class, who are really struggling in today’s society, from what I could see.

    DH and I put ourselves on a strict budget, we’ve been shopping at Walmart and Aldi’s since they opened locally and it makes such a difference! Despite the fact that prices have been going up in both, the few times that I’ve gone into my local Publix I have been shocked to spend about $180 on what would easily cost me $75-$80 at ‘s or Walmart. And retirement we really have to watch those expenses.

    The only thing that DH and I are really willing to spend money on is travel and even that we do on a budget. We saved it for a trip to Portugal in November and will be paying our expenses while they are in cash.

    Everything else, gifts to the grandkids, outings to the cinema or local attractions we have put on the back burner because they are so outrageously expensive. We are following a local Facebook group called “Miami on the Cheap”, which features free or low-cost activities throughout the county. It really makes a difference.

    As I said the only thing we are interested in at this point in life is experiences. We have enough clothes, shoes and “things” to last a lifetime. In fact, like you, we have been slowly minimizing, either selling or donating items we no longer used, in an effort to declutter our home as we age.

    You offer excellent advice. I always enjoy reading your columns and benefit from them greatly.

    Like

    • Teri, you’re so kind. You are so blessed to be living in Miami. It’s on my bucket list. I haven’t been there since I was a child. My parents always stayed at The Fountainbleu. Now? It is so expensive…a few hundred dollars a night! But ah! the memories I have there as a child. Your HOA fees are divine. Mine in Sarasota were over $450 a month and going up, up, up!
      Crazy.
      Anyway, we are correct. It’s our precious middle classes that are withering away and no one seems to care or notice. Hubby and I have to keep our finances in check. We have to always look at the costs of almost everything. We just got dental insurance because after a few years of no dental care, I came to the conclusion that we just can not afford dental care out of pocket. It will cost us $531 a year in insurance to get $1469 of covered dental work. Worth it! Can’t wait!
      After our last visit to see my kids and grandkids, we came to the same conclusion that we can no longer comfortably afford these visits. And vice versa. And we live only 90 miles away from each other. NYC has become unaffordable in every which way! Road tolls have gone up, as metro costs….its insane!
      WE did most of our travel while we were employed. I do have a few things left I’d like to see, like Barcelona, but if I never get to go there, its fine. I’m comfortable with our local RV traveling adventures. Once we started saving money towards mutual goals, things just become more doable.
      Thanks again for your comment. And if ever DH & I do come to Miami, I’d love to meet you and your husband over a Cuban sandwich!

      Like

  3. I think this author just does not know how to save money. He thinks he does, but he does not have an understanding of the world of money. Having one’s own home in retirement is so special. Maybe life is not working out for him. You made your situation possible and so did we. Maybe he cannot.
    On another note, I get sad that you cannot get together with family more. Hopefully your kids can come visit for short periods of time. By visiting you they do not have to pay for parking. To have them so close, yet because of traffic and lots of people, it is hard for them or you to get together. Luckily there is social media that can keep us communicating.

    Like

    • Hi Sue. Happily my kids and grandkids and I are all getting together for a very long week in Newport Rhode Island. We’ve got boat cruises planned, clam bakes reserved, BBQs and marshmallow toasts. In the middle of all of that is a planned birthday party. We’ll be on the beach every single day. We’re all packed and ready to go.
      I agree with you. Owning a home has always been the main route to wealth for the middle classes. It’s the most sacred of all.
      Thanks for your comment. Stay tuned for lots of beach photos. 🏖
      I updates the post to show a picture of one of the author’s many, many houses.
      When is enough, enough?

      Like

  4. Cindi, I heard Dave Ramsey talking on his program about the # of high schools that use a finance course his company developed to help students understand personal finance better before they embark into the world whatever their path. I don’t think any of the schools were in the north east.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Janet. This is very good news. More and more billionaires are donating their time and money and instructing high schoolers etc on finance. I went to an elite all-girls high school. We were taught Economics 101, we learned about saving and having a checking account. The teachers taught us how to write a check, balance a checkbook etc. We also had Home Economics 101 and learned how to do basic cooking. And we also had keyboarding, which taught us how to type. I thought at the time those classes were stupid but they turned out to be the most necessary lessons of all time!
      Thanks for your comment. Let’s hope help is on the way up here on the east coast.

      Like

  5. “Sometimes living with a little bit less, in smaller digs and with less investments can truly be the financial independence one seeks.”

    Well said, Cindi. 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Note to the very foolish Mr. Wanna-Be-A-Millionaire. Guess what? If you voluntarily post that your net worth is between $600K and $700K, you’re not a millionaire. Sorry if you’re offended I don’t consider you a millionaire. I do know basic economics. As in, you’re $300K short of being a millionaire. Give or take.

    The fact that you read my blog for the schadenfreude, which is the derivement of pleasure from another’s misfortune places you as just another loser male. You base your life on the value of your money, which BTW, is fake.

    What do you care what the world thinks of me? I don’t. How would you know anyway what the world thinks of me? Are you the Greek God Neptune? Or better yet, are you God, himself? Not at $600K you’re not.

    Basic Economics: There are five basic principles of economics that explain the way our world handles money and decides which investments are worthwhile and which ones aren’t: opportunity cost, marginal principle, law of diminishing returns, principle of voluntary returns and real/nominal principle.

    Lastly, yes my readers have a brain. Apparently, you do not. That is why you have been blocked from my blog.

    Have a nice day.

    Like

  7. Great post! My house is paid for also but to be real, houses are not very expensive at all down here, compared to the rest of the country. My houses taxes are very low (in an admittedly sketchy neighborhood), $225 a year, but our sales taxes on everything, including food and groceries, are horrible. The Govt gets ya one way or the other. I am blessed that I can drive down to the Gulf for a day and then drive back home at night. Granted, it makes for a long day, but I have been doing that since my early 20’s. One of my children lives 2000 miles away, so I will be flying a budget airline out of Atlanta (even though it 4.5 hours from my house) roundtrip ticket is $201. I will be staying in an air bnb for five days for $220 total (it is a one bedroom with a shared bath). A new grandchild will make you spend money…lol, but I am trying not to spend too much!. I still work, and will probably continue to work for a good while longer. I like to pay cash for my trips to see my long distance kid/grandkid. Yes, the middle class gets squeezed. I would like to travel to other places, but I am realistic. If I retired, I would not have the money. If I keep working, I do not have the time off. It is a catch 22. So, with my available vacation time, I will be going to see long distance family. I wish I could spend on a different hotel, but, I need to save my money. Yesterday, I paid $420 for my tooth, and I have paid a couple of thousand already this year, and I have dental insurance! My teeth suck. My best friend died of breast cancer about 13 years ago and her middle son died of cancer a few months after her. Life is short. I just feel blessed to be alive and that all of my kids are still alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cindy, I’m sorry to hear about your best friend and her son. Yes, life is short. And yes, you’re so blessed that all your children are alive and well.
      We just got dental insurance and will be seeing a dentist for the first time in a few years. UGH. Not good. I can’t wait to finally get my teeth cleaned and have a full set of Xrays done. I can only imagine what they will find. I am grateful, however, that we can afford the insurance!
      Thanks for your comment.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.