The Man Behind ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’

Who Is Robert Kiyosaki?

Robert Kiyosaki is an entrepreneur, educator, investor, and the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, one of the best-selling personal finance books of all time. Kiyosaki is a frequent guest on global media outlets and is the host of the Rich Dad Radio Show podcast, where he and guests discuss everything from the history of banking to the state of the global economy.

A strong proponent of entrepreneurship, Kiyosaki has built a financial education empire that extends to board games, courses, and coaching. In addition to Rich Dad Poor Dad, he’s authored more than two dozen books, including two with Donald Trump prior to his presidency. Kiyosaki is assisted in his efforts by his wife, Kim, whom he married in 1986.

Key Takeaways

Robert Kiyosaki is an entrepreneur, educator, investor, and author of Rich Dad Poor Dad.Kiyosaki grew up in Hilo, Hawaii and attended college at Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in New York State before enlisting in the Marine Corps.Following his military service, Kiyosaki became the number one salesperson at Xerox, which motivated him to consider carving a pathway to entrepreneurship.Today, Kiyosaki is a regular guest on media outlets like Fox News and OAN, where he offers business and economic commentary.

Early Life and Background of Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki was born April 8, 1947, in Hilo, Hawaii. One of four children, he is of Japanese descent.

Kiyosaki claimed that growing up, his views on entrepreneurship, money, and wealth were influenced by two figures: his “rich” dad and his “poor” dad. Kiyosaki’s biological father—the “poor” dad referenced in his bestselling book—was highly educated and employed by the government. However, according to Kiyosaki, he failed to accumulate substantial wealth for his efforts.

Meanwhile, Kiyosaki’s “rich” dad taught him the power of leveraging the resources you have to create wealth. The knowledge he gleaned from observing his rich dad accumulate wealth formed the foundation for his later entrepreneurial efforts as a financial educator. (Kiyosaki revealed the identity of his “rich” dad as Richard Kimi, a Hawaiian real estate entrepreneur and father of his best friend, after Kimi’s death in 2009.)

As a young adult, Kiyosaki attended college at Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in New York. After graduation, he enlisted in the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot. Following the end of his military service, Kiyosaki took a position at Xerox, achieving the position of number one salesperson. He created his first company, Rippers, with the help of his brother around this time.

Kiyosaki met and studied with R. Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, systems theorist, writer, designer, inventor, philosopher, and visionary. This had a substantial impact on Kiyosaki’s career trajectory and marked the beginning of his journey to become a financial educator and entrepreneur.

Career as an Author and Entrepreneur

Kiyosaki’s entrepreneurial career took off in 1996 when he and his wife created and launched the CASHFLOW board game to teach people about money and investing in a fun and entertaining way. In 1997 Kiyosaki wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad, and they founded The Rich Dad Company. Today the book and the board game are more popular and relevant than ever before.

Since then, both Kiyosakis have authored numerous books about personal finance. They’ve launched the Rich Dad Radio Show and expanded their business to include investing classes, coaching, and public speaking. Here are some of the most notable works authored by Robert Kiyosaki:

Rich Dad Poor Dad
Capitalist Manifesto
Increase Your Financial IQ: Get Smarter With Your Money
Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not
Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens
Who Took My Money? Why Slow Investors Lose and Fast Money Wins

Of these works, Rich Dad Poor Dad is the book that catapulted Kiyosaki to fame more than two decades ago. The book explores the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich, using the example of Kiyosaki’s biological father and the “rich” dad who mentored him.


Kiyosaki’s wife Kim is the CEO and co-founder of The Rich Dad Company, as well as the author of two books about building wealth for women.

Other business ventures

While Kiyosaki’s income primarily comes from book sales, financial education courses, and speaking engagements, he and his wife derive income from other ventures as well. He founded Rich Global LLC in 1997, which is a conglomerate that specializes in manufacturing, financial education, and retail operations. That same year, he founded Cashflow Technologies, Inc., which operates under the Rich Dad brand. One of his favorite investments is gold and other precious metals. His net worth is estimated to be in the range of $100 million.

Personal life

Robert met his future wife, Kim, in 1984 and found that they shared an interest in entrepreneurship. The two were married in 1986 and have since built the Rich Dad brand as a team. Kim is a respected speaker and author in her own right, as well as an avid investor. The couple has remained child-free for the duration of their marriage by choice.

Robert Kiyosaki’s Financial Philosophy

Kiyosaki’s philosophy about money is simple: you don’t need to have a high income to become rich. Instead, the key to building wealth lies in two things:

Building a portfolio of passive income-generating assetsMinimizing debt

Kiyosaki emphasizes asset accumulation versus simply spending to acquire “things.” He also advocates developing financial knowledge, not only through books or courses but through real-life experience. By learning about money and how it works, generating passive income, and avoiding unnecessary debt, it’s possible to achieve financial independence, according to Kiyosaki’s line of thinking.

He’s also strongly in favor of entrepreneurship and finding ways to generate income outside of a regular nine-to-five job. This ties in with Kiyosaki’s emphasis on passive income generation, either through investing or business activities that don’t require regular hands-on involvement to operate.

His Impact on the Personal Finance Industry

Robert Kiyosaki has had a far-reaching impact on the personal finance industry and he’s recognized as a leading expert in the financial education space. He’s routinely called on to share his insights on topics like investing and the global economy for major media outlets.

His books are frequently used as a reference guide of sorts when discussing finance and, as mentioned, Rich Dad Poor Dad remains a best-selling title. Notably, Kiyosaki was part of a wave of personal finance experts, Suze Orman and David Bach among them, that began cropping up in the industry in the mid to late 1990s.

Criticism and legal troubles

Kiyosaki has been the target of criticism, particularly among financial experts who say his advice is unrealistic and outdated—which, given the passage of time, is not an illogical argument to make. While some investing advice can stand the test of time, it’s easy to argue that techniques and strategies that may have worked in the 1990s aren’t as effective today.

Aside from that, Kiyosaki has been sharply criticized for using his books as a gateway to encourage people to spend money on his much pricier webinars and coaching. He also received backlash after it came to light that he had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2012. The filing came after a judge ordered Kiyosaki’s company to pay nearly $24 million to settle a royalties dispute.

Is the Advice in Rich Dad Poor Dad Still Relevant?
The advice offered in Rich Dad Poor Dad is still relevant in the sense that it’s practical, actionable, and covers some of the foundational principles that are necessary to build wealth. Despite being published more than 25 years ago, it remains a bestseller, which may be a testament to the timelessness of the advice Kiyosaki offers.

What Does Robert Kiyosaki Do for a Living?
Robert Kiyosaki is an entrepreneur, financial educator, radio show host, investor, and author. He and his wife, Kim, earn money from their books, courses, coaching, and speaking appearances, as well as through their investment portfolio.

What Are the Six Lessons in Rich Dad Poor Dad?
The six lessons in Rich Dad Poor Dad are as follows:Lesson 1: The rich don’t work for moneyLesson 2: Why teach financial literacy?Lesson 3: Mind your own businessLesson 4: The history of taxes and the power of corporationsLesson 5: The rich invent moneyLesson 6: Work to learn—don’t work for moneyIn his book Kiyosaki expands on each of these lessons to provide readers with the tools and knowledge necessary to build wealth the way rich people do, regardless of where they might be starting from.

The Bottom Line

Robert Kiyosaki is one of the most well-known influencers in the financial advice industry. He’s built a lengthy and successful career around educating millions of everyday people about the keys to building wealth and living like a “rich” dad. While he has received his fair share of criticism, he remains a go-to source for advice on business and investing in the worldwide media.

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