Tag Archives: financial freedom

Rich Dad Education–Dream or Scam?

A few years ago I listened to Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad audiobook. I found it inspiring, and bought the Cashflow Game, which is a great mind-shifter.

I got some notice that Rich Dad Education was holding a free two-hour session in Madison, and I went last night. I was talking with Josh just before I went in, and we were joking about brainwashing, etc. I told him if I had a glazed look later, he should take me out to the woods and deprogram me.

From start the finish the entire event is carefully scripted and choreographed. While it started at 6, we were not allowed to go in ahead of time; everyone had to wait in the hall until they opened the doors. One of the “Success Team” (sigh) members had us gather ’round in the hall, welcomed us, and gave instructions on how to file in and fill every seat, starting with the first row. Another of the STM herded us to ensure we followed these instructions. One woman wanted to wait for her daughter and was a bit concerned she hadn’t come in yet, and this guy said something close to “this is Wisconsin–what could happen?” Wow, way to win friends and influence people.

Don, the presenter, was pretty good at what he did. Good presence, and he announced from the beginning the fact that the “English Teachers” present might not find his presentation perfect, especially that he might say things that were not politically correct (what that has to do with English teachers, I’m not quite sure…). At least I was less annoyed after that with his pronunciation of “realitor” and “entrepreneur” (which I can’t even remember now).

I found myself operating on two levels during the presentation: as a participant who is interested in learning about alternate sources of income, and as a presenter critiquing another’s presentation.

They use pretty much every trick in the book during the presentation. It was interesting to watch the interplay within myself: being aware of the technique being used, and perceiving the level of effectiveness on me. Sometimes the former happened first, sometimes the latter. Here is a list of the techniques they used:

  • Fear – security: Social Security will fail by 2016, and you can’t retire on that anyway.
  • Fear – scarcity: our events have been so popular that we don’t have enough bonus packages for everyone in the room. He urged people to get up at any time and go to the back of the room to sign up and take advantage of the special package.
  • YES: getting people to say yes to obvious questions (“would you like to replace your current income working 5 hours a month?”).
  • Hand-raising: another form of YES
  • Greed: giving examples of those who have succeeded wildly with the system. Paint a picture of having more free time, ensured financial security, stop working for the man, etc.
  • Condescension: As is true of Kiyosaki himself, Don disdained higher education, saying it wasn’t an asset if it didn’t create positive cashflow. Proof: how many people are still working in the field they studied in school? Specious logic.
  • Time sensitivity: Act quickly or lose it. Take the 3-day course for $495 if you sign up tonight. After tonight, it’s $995.
  • Gratitude: This one surprised me. Near the end he talked about how grateful he was for Kiyosaki’s gifts.
  • God and Family: He talked about his own faith for the last quarter hour, and how grateful he was for his adopted son and family.
  • Your “In:” Don shared things during the presentation that had the effect of sharing a secret or being a bit conspiratorial. We were going to be able to do something that “all those other schmucks” wouldn’t or couldn’t. They’d miss out; we’d make it big.
  • Targeting: He used many people as examples during the evening: “let’s say Jay is buying a house…” He used probably 20 people in that way during the evening.
  • Humor: lots of it, none of it above a 4/10 in my book.
  • Admonition: He was clearly being a bit chiding of people not taking advantages of opportunities.
  • Sexism: This housewife stuck it to her husband by doing better at it than he did–and she wasn’t even interested in it!

I must admit that I’m human and many of these things had an effect on me, although I at least had awareness of the effect and its cause. And I will admit that I considered signing up for the course, and Josh could attend for free. However, there were too many factors that stopped me:

  • I decided before I walked in the room I wouldn’t buy anything under time pressure.
  • I didn’t know my schedule, so I couldn’t plan to attend. 😉
  • Not enough information: the tone of the presentation was: hey, don’t be a schmuck by missing this great opportunity! However, I used something from Don’s own presentation to offset that. He stated that it was important when finding these great real estate deals to identify the good ones and avoid the bad ones. Thus, have enough information on risk to avoid the bad ones. What information was Don sharing about the risk of this program? None. hey, it’s only $.63/day for a year for this great deal!, etc.
  • In small print on one of the first slides that played automatically before the presentation began, there was a disclaimer that examples shared during the presentation were not representative of average gains from use of the program. Don gave no information about how many people did not succeed who put best effort in, and he certainly didn’t share information about those who failed and lost big.
  • If this was such a great deal and folks were so successful doing it, why the pressure? Sure some pressure is needed to break people out of their comfort zone (I know that from teaching Taking It Lightly), yet this was too much. He asked rhetorically why everyone didn’t take advantage of this, and his response was that he didn’t know…

I don’t like being manipulated when the manipulation isn’t helpful or in my best interest (tell me a good joke and I’ll love it!). I went home and researched Kiyosaki and Rich Dad Education. I found enough information that gave me good reason to go no further.

I guess in the end, I’m either a wise man who heeded the warning Caveat Emptor, or a poor schmuck who doesn’t have enough imagination or gumption to grab a dream when he sees it. I benefit, however, from the expanded awareness of better financial planning, and lifting my head above daily life for a bit to get a better perspective on things.