- Real estate investors and early retirees say that “Rich Dad Poor Dad” changed their money mindset.
- The book explores timeless money lessons, including the importance of having money work for you.
- One real estate investor and early retiree, Michael Zuber, says he’s read it upwards of 10 times.
After losing nearly his entire nest egg to day trading stocks, Michael Zuber decided to explore alternative ways to invest his money.
He went to a bookstore to look for investment books and was drawn to the only purple one on the shelf: “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. “I grabbed it and ended up reading it over and over, 10 to 15 times, just because it was so different from anything I’d ever read before,” he told Insider.
Originally published in 1997, Kiyosaki’s bestseller is considered one of the greatest personal finance books of all time. The author grew up with two father figures: “poor dad,” his real father who died with bills to pay, and “rich dad,” who started with little before becoming a wealthy man. Both fathers were successful in their careers and earned substantial incomes, but one always struggled financially.
Kiyosaki noticed fundamental differences in the way “rich dad” and “poor dad” thought, spoke, and acted. Throughout his book, he offers timeless lessons he learned from “rich dad” that will help you master your money and build long-term wealth.
The book introduced Zuber to the concept of “having money make money,” he said. “I’d never really had a conversation about how money works and how the rich get richer by owning assets.”
One of Kiyosaki’s main points is that the wealthiest people focus on building assets — things that put money in your pocket — while everyone else focuses on their monthly income and salary. “The long-term rich build their asset column first,” Kiyosaki writes. “Then the income generated from the asset column buys their luxuries. The poor and middle class buy luxuries with their own sweat, blood, and children’s inheritance.”
With that in mind, Zuber and his wife decided to try real estate investing and build wealth by buying homes and renting them out. They lived below their means, saved enough to buy one rental property in Fresno, California, and started earning passive income.
They continued acquiring properties for the next two decades and eventually started earning enough in passive income that they felt comfortable quitting their day jobs in their 40s. Today, the couple owns over 100 units in Fresno, California and earns over $100,0000 a month in rental income, according to portfolio summaries reviewed by Insider.
Zuber, 49, isn’t the only real estate investor who drew inspiration from Kiyosaki’s principles. Boston-based investor Karina Mejia told Insider that “Rich Dad Poor Dad” completely changed her mindset and encouraged her to quit her 9-to-5 and pursue a career as a real estate agent.
She was 22 when she decided to leave her salaried position as an analyst to take a stab at working for herself. It was a big decision and probably wouldn’t have crossed her mind had she not spent so much time consuming podcasts and books, including Kiyosaki’s.
“‘It’s not the smart who get ahead, but the bold,” writes Kiyosaki, who believes in intelligent risk-taking. Blind risk won’t get you anywhere, but intelligent risk, in which your self-education plays a role, is often what leads to reward.
“I remember my thought process when I read that and I was like, ‘I don’t want to live like everybody else. I want to create a different life,'” said Mejia, now 25.
She took a calculated risk when she decided to quit her 9-to-5 and bet on herself. She already had her real estate license, which she got in college, and had even closed a couple of deals on the side, so she knew a career as an agent could be lucrative.
She was right: In 2021, she earned over $350,000 from commissions and rental income. That’s more than five times what she was earning as an analyst. Insider reviewed sales commission reports and a W-2 form from her previous employer that showed these details.
Seattle-based real estate investor Peter Keane Rivera, who bought his first home at age 25 and plans to achieve financial freedom via real estate investing, couldn’t put the book down when he first read it. “I finished it in three days,” he told Insider. It put him at ease about his finances. “I was no longer really worried about my financial future. I realized that I don’t have to get that high paying job or be the smartest person in the room. I just had to earn passive income through rental properties and I knew I’d make it.”
Kiyosaki emphasizes that there is a difference between how wealthy people and average people choose to get paid: Average people choose to get paid based on time — on a steady salary or hourly rate — while rich people generally own their businesses or work on commission and find ways to have their money work for them. They’re not limited to a salary dictated by a company; their earning potential is completely up to them.
“If you work for money, you give the power to your employer,” Kiyosaki writes. “If money works for you, you keep the power and control it.”