Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Bankrupt Dad?

Helaine Olen

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Cover via Amazon

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling Rich, Dad, Poor Dad series of financial advice books, is offering his fans yet another lesson in how the rich are different than you and me: they file for bankruptcy not because of ill health or unemployment related issues, but instead as a strategic business move.

Rich Global LLC, one of the corporate arms Kiyosaki has done business under, filed for bankruptcy protection in August, after it was ordered to pay just under $24 million to the Learning Annex and its chairman Bill Zanker.

Kiyosaki was one of the small-time wealth guru mountebanks who made it to the big-time in the aughts by telling his forever falling behind audience that they could get ahead, they just had not learned how. The schtick behind the Rich Dad books was that Kiyosaki was sharing secret money-making strategies of the wealthy with his wage slave readers. The tips ran the gamut from ridiculous to illegal and downright hurtful and included advocating for insider trading,  arguing for the purchase of multiple real estate properties with little or no money down and telling followers they could purchase stocks on margin via unfunded brokerage accounts.

The Learning Annex was one of Kiyosaki's earliest backers, and helped arrange a number of his most prominent speaking gigs in the early aughts. They were not alone. Oprah Winfrey had him on her show, and PBS ran his programming during their fundraising weeks.

So how did Kiyosaki, whom the website Celebrity Net Worth estimates is worth a cool $80 million, come to this pass?

Well, he didn't come to any pass. He now conducts much of his business not via Rich Global LLC but under the rubrik Rich Dad Co. And it's a corporate bankruptcy, not a personal bankruptcy. When the New York Post, which broke the story, tracked down Mike Sullivan, Rich Dad Co. CEO, he informed them that Kiyosaki would not be putting any of his personal fortune toward the settlement. As for Rich Global, Sullivan claimed it only had a few million in its coffers.

Of course, you could argue that Learning Annex CEO Zanker should have known better. No one has ever proven that Rich Dad, the man who supposedly gave Kiyosaki all his advice for wealthy living, ever existed. Nor has anyone ever documented any vast reserves of wealth earned by Kiyosaki prior to the publication of Rich Dad, Poor Dad in 1997.

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