The ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ Debate: The Poor Dad is Winning!

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

“The poor and middle-class work for money. The rich have money work for them.”


— Robert Kiyosaki, author, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”

Which is the better road to financial success: working for others or working for yourself?

FreedomFest attendees this July 11-14 (only a month away!) will have an opportunity to personally meet Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” the #1 personal finance book of all time! 


The book has sold more than 26 million copies. Kiyosaki will be speaking on “The Secrets about Money That You Don’t Learn in School.”

Mark Skousen, Brien Lundin and Robert Kiyosaki meet at the New Orleans Conference last October.

One reason for Kiyosaki’s success is that he issues this warning: Because of the uncertainty of globalization and technology (robots), job security is a thing of the past. Working for others (as employees) is high risk. He contends that the traditional way to wealth (what he calls the “Poor Dad” solution) is obsolete. He rejects the advice of the Poor Dad: “Go to school, get a job, save money, get out of debt, and invest for the long-term in the stock market.”  

Instead, you should choose the “Rich Dad” strategy by becoming an entrepreneur. Either create a successful business or be an “active investor” in real estate and tax-advantaged businesses. 

At last year’s New Orleans conference, Mr. Kiyosaki did me the honor of attending my presentation on investing in dividend-paying stocks. Afterwards, he told me “My approach is different — I believe in using debt to leverage my business and investments.”

I’ve always thought that investing in businesses and being an active investor in real estate are not for everyone. Most people are not entrepreneurs and not suited to run their own businesses. They prefer a more conservative approach by working for others, saving, staying out of debt and investing in 401(k) plans for retirement. But those who like a more speculative approach of becoming an entrepreneur could gain a lot from Kiyosaki’s methods.

Now there is good news for employees who, by definition, work for others. Getting a job that pays well is getting easier and a lot less hassle than creating a business or investing in rental properties (his favorite technique).

Demand for jobs that pay well is rising sharply. For the first time in 20 years, U.S. job openings are now ahead of the number of unemployed. See the chart below:

With a decent-paying job, if you live within your means and start saving, you can succeed. How? Not by investing your savings in bank CDs that pay 1% or less. Rather, put those savings to productive use — by buying a starter home and investing regularly in the stock market.

Both housing prices and stocks are moving up. Being a passive investor has never been easier.

We are going to debate the Kiyosaki “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” question at this year’s FreedomFest. The session is called “Wall Street vs. Main Street: Which is Better for Making Money?” with Marc Lichtenfeld (Oxford Club), Gina Lofton and Chris Casey.  

The entire lineup of speakers, panels and debates is now posted online. Go to

You Nailed It! Criminal Justice Reform: Where Race, Religion and Politics Come Together

My wife Jo Ann and I attended the college graduation ceremonies at Sing Sing penitentiary yesterday, and it was a remarkable day at this infamous maximum-security state prison.

Sing Sing is no longer called a penitentiary, but a “correctional facility.” Inmates aren’t just punished anymore, they are hopefully rehabilitated.

Forty-four inmates received their associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and most of them were taught English by Jo Ann and economics by me. It was a thrill to see them graduate and their lives change for the better. Their families and prison officers were all there to honor their achievement, and the commencement address was offered by Bill Whitaker, the “60 Minutes” correspondent (past celebrities have included Steve Forbes, George Will, Whoopi Goldberg, Harry Belafonte and Warren Buffett). More than 300 of those who were incarcerated have left prison life since graduating from the program, and only a handful have returned. Most live successful lives on the outside.

My son Tim did an HBO documentary on the graduation program (through Mercy College). Watch the trailer here.

What struck me as unique about this event was how it brought people together — all races, all religions and all political viewpoints. There was none of this “left” and “right” divisiveness, no separation of church and state (they started and ended the ceremonies with prayer in a state institution), and no segregation or discrimination among races. Everyone was there for a singular cause and celebration. We need more of that in today’s divided society.

For more information, go to

Fast Money Summit and FreedomFest Agenda Now Posted Online!

Today, I am happy to announce that the tentative agenda for the “Fast Money Summit” and FreedomFest are now posted!

Go to and check out over 200 speakers, panels, debates and exhibitors. It represents thousands of hours of work. See why FreedomFest is the #1 conference in the world.

The dates, July 11-14, are only five weeks away. Our room block at Paris and Bally’s will end in two weeks! We have over 1,500 people coming.

The Fast Money Summit Will Take Place in the Vendome A Room at the Paris Resort

Register now at, or call toll-free: 1-855-850-3733, ext. 202. Be sure to use the code EAGLE100 to get $100 off the registration fee. See you on 7/11 in Las Vegas.


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Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

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