Robert Kiyosaki versus Suze Orman Smackdown

by Ouida on March 9, 2010

Two days ago, I got this message sent to me from a friend:The New York Post – iPhone – Page Six – Suze Orman feuding with financial guru

The other financial guru was Robert Kiyosaki. I went to Twitter to find their exchange.
What I found was more of a pebble in a puddle than a Tsunami. Here it is:

From Robert Kiyosaki

I can’t believe this lady – @suzeormanshow. No way in hell she believes what she
teaches. 10:25 AM Mar 1st via HootSuite

Suze Orman’s reply

1:06 PM Mar 1st via web

Robert Kiyosaki’s Reply

If we are talking losses @suzeormanshow how about the TRILLIONS lost through
401K’s 4:51 PM Mar 1st via web

That was It. I checked Twitter 24 hours later to see if there had been an update, there
hadn’t been. The night of the smackdown, I Googled Robert Kiyosaki versus Suze
Orman and got very few seach results. Different story today. Huffingtonpost, ABC
news, Your Money Mogul all had basically nothing to say but repeat the exchange and
ask people what they thought. I have read both financial authors and have benefitted
from the advice of both, but I understand Kiyosaki’s limitations as well as Suze Orman’s
whose advice would I follow?  RKs hands down. With this latest financial downturn, I
came to the stark realization that if I only followed Suze Orman’s advice, my net worth
would be half of what it is. Because I also followed RKs advice, it is what it is.

What did I learn from Suze Orman?

To value people more than money. That was the central message of Nine Steps to
Financial Freedom
. I also learned how stock brokers work and as a result I am
extremely distrustful of advice meted out by brokers as the path to wealth. I tried to
share the information about stock brokers I gleaned from Orman’s writings with my
mother. Convinced that her broker was her friend she ignored my pleas to liquidate her
holdings and move to a different brokerage house. She stayed with her broker ,
bought KMart right before it went into receivership, was told NOT to buy index funds by
the same broker and missed out on an opportunity to invest in Vanguard Health
Care before it was closed to new investors (the broker wouldn’t return her calls when
she wanted to liquidate some of her positions to make the investment). When she
finally realized she needed to move her money, she had been in under-performing funds
for several years and the funds had both back and front end loads. That broker clearly did not value people more than money.  Quite the opposite.  She had my mother coming and going.  Suze Orman explained that brokers are simply sales people hired by brokerage houses more for their moxy than any understanding they may have of the markets.  Lacking financial literacy, they rely on the brokerage houses sell side analysts to make buy recommendations to their clients.  A brokerage house may take up a large position in a stock and need to unload it on their clients.  To me this is akin to being told in a department store that I look great in brown and should buy something in brown simply because brown is the major color the store has.  It was this information that drove me to read all things financial and in many ways I have Suze Orman to thank for it.  But I also realized that once I took care of the basics, Orman has little to offer one truly seeking wealth.  She can tell me 6 ways from Sunday how to get out of debt, how much I should save for emergencies, what kind of insurance I should buy but she really cannot tell me how to get wealthy. The stock market is really too unreliable, in The Stock Market Scam I reviewed the true long term returns of the market. In my upcoming post, What did Warren Buffet Really Say? I argue that unlike most people who put money into stocks, Mr Buffett is not looking to retire on that money at age 65.  The need to live on the money in a Roth or 401K in retirement introduces all kinds of risk to a retiree that Suze Orman never addresses. For example, what if you need the money in a down market and are forced to withdraw principal?

What did I learn from Robert Kiyosaki?

I was given a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad in 1998 before I had ever heard of Suze Orman.  I devoured the book in a weekend.  RDPD stresses financial literacy, frugality, and points out a novel concept, that your home is not an asset.   Many people today have finally gotten that message although not soon enough to prevent the loss of a trillion dollars in net worth in this latest housing bust.  As a result of what Kiyosaki teaches, I live in a modest home and I have positive cashflow investment real-estate.  Kiyosaki also teaches that for people to become wealthy they have to broaden their skill sets and advocates network marketing as a way to learn the skills of communication and selling: two skills at which both Kiyosaki and Orman excel.  Because of Kiyosaki, I know why I own the assets that I own.  Yes, Suze, I own whole life as well as term insurance.  Sometimes I feel that Suze Orman is so dogmatic that her entire philosophy can be expressed as follows:  1) Get out of debt 2) Never buy whole life insurance 3) Buy Term Insurance and invest the difference between the Term and Whole live premiums in the stock market. While Kiyosaki’s philosophy is that we must become financially literate.

What are your thoughts?  Please comment.

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The Wealthy Vampire
May 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Rule March 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. A lot of people like Suze because she helps people deal with their current bad situation. It’s the “first aid” that can get you back to where you were. Robert’s philosophy is that the poor and middle class will always bear the burden financially and only the people who have developed passive or residual income that is more than their expenses are free.

It’s also ironic that the poor and middle class seek financial security but will never find it. Only by pursuing freedom will they gain security.

My thought is that if you depend upon a 401(k) for retirement then you set up a race condition to see which gives out first – your money or your life. My bet would be on the money going first.
Rick Rule´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolution Status Check My ComLuv Profile


Ouida March 9, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Hey Rick,
Thanks for the “shout out” as they say. We’ll see how this one pans out and if these two folks exchange jabs again. The 401K has turned out to be a race against time as it were. Robert Kiyosaki mentioned the October 2009 Time article in his Tweet: Why It’s Time to Retire the 401K.


Ericka May 1, 2011 at 9:49 am

This was interesting,
It is my belief that investing, starting a business and other avenues of income would be the solution. The reality is that there is no magic wand to financial freedom, and believe me, man will error many times over.By simply trusting in just a business, jobs, realestate, or even the downwardly spun 401K will leave you confused and dissapointed. It is better to be like on ocean whichcollects from multiple streams. I would suggest to have all things working for you, then if one fails, there are 2-3 more that can keep things going. Diversify. Ultimately Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki have the same goals ( helping people create financial freedom), do more than one thing to create their own income ( investing, realestate and marketing themselves). I do have a job, invest and have a home business thats a no brainer. When I couldn’t work on the job at various times then I still had income from my home business to fill in. I also use my home business to pay down debt and once completely paid off it will be used to invest and save as well. If it makes cents it makes dollars.


Ouida May 3, 2011 at 5:36 am

Thanks, Erika. Like you, I have a job, invest in real estate and have a home business. The problem that I have with Suze Orman is that she spouts conventional wisdom about wealth building, but actually dies not follow her own advice. While she was advising people to invest in mutual funds to build wealth in the 1990s she, herself, wasn’t invested in them at all. Kiyosaki is a bit of a financial iconoclast and I love that about him.


Kyle Andrews May 8, 2011 at 4:34 am

Great article my thoughts are.. ummm Robert is worth over $88 million dollars as of 2011 and that’s not including some of his oil holdings and international businesses, Suzie is only worth $25 million ya she may have her own TV show but I’m a firm believer of the numbers don’t lie. Plus I have been by his mansion in Scottsdale, AZ let’s just say opulence is the only word that comes to mind. He and his wifes matching his and hers Lambos, Rolls-Royce the list goes on. If you haven’t read Rich Dad Poor Dad you need to you can get it used on for a couple of dollars its a must if you are looking for financial education! It actually gives you options how to become wealthy or affluent rather than just telling you to save and invest in a 401k…


Ouida May 8, 2011 at 11:23 am


I could not agree more I went to his free wealth seminar in Scottsdale in 2002. He does not play around. I’ve read all of his stuff. Truth is that SO’s advice does not work. Does not stand the test of time….and….even she does not follow the advice she peddles to the masses.


Hans Ruysenaar February 16, 2012 at 10:13 am

Recently I had a Facebook entry form KR where he said: ‘To become a Millionaire I had to think in terms of Millions, to become a Billionaire I had to think in terms of Billions’ Note the tense, Past tense….suggesting that RK was now a Billionaire. Make of that what you will. I don’t care either way. RK and SO both have a lot to say about how to get RICH. Both have done so. I discuss both in my free e-book ‘The Key is ME’ But what they tell you to do is NOT how it worked for them. BOTH made their really big bucks WRITING BEST SELLING BOOKS. (RK now around 25 million books sold…SO …I’m not sure but I think she is on book 7 or so :-). I believe that Rhonda Byrne stashed away around $10mil on CD sales after her …’The Secret’ …appearance on Oprah. That gave them the liquidity to play stocks and shares and property investments …. but it is NOT where the big bucks originated.. All of those can make you RICH … at the right point in the monetary cycle.
The point of all this: If you want to get (mega)rich you have to engage ME. First, your ‘Get Rich’ thing has to have the MULTIPLIER ELEMENT’ … and if that is present you may be able to parlay it into the ‘MULTIPLIER EFFECT’. ME requires ‘BUY IN’ from a large number of people and may not be something you can control!!!. When and if it does …. you too can enjoy weekends on a mile long yacht ….just like Judge Judy does. :-).


Paul March 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

I think you have to take look at it this way:

I don’t think there is right or wrong way in what both are saying. All situations for people are different. Some are in debt, some like working for others and some just want to be financially independent. You have to take the best of both and other financial people out there and make it work for you. Experience is the best education you can get.

To be come for financially aware and intelligent you have to follow basic rules:

1. what comes in the household must be managed to what needs to come expenses, bills etc. No matter how much you make or don’t make…if you don’t know how much is going out everyday to pay for things…then you’re screwed.

If you can’t pay for it in cash, then save for it whether it’s by automatic deposit into a savings account or using find a passive income instrument that will help you save for it.

protecting your income, assetts is not only a good idea but insurance is something you should definitely have since it will be the person you leave behind that’s going to need the income to cover any debts, or other expenses. If you are the main income source, you want to make sure your family isn’t going to go down because you didn’t want to spend the money for premium every month to buy peace of mind.

and lastly:
At some point you are going to want to retire in what ever form that looks like to you. Go back to the basics, what comes in must come out. Retirement in the next 20 to 30 years is going to be very different than it has been. The rules will change a bit but not matter what you are going to do, income has to come in from some source.

it may sound simple and almost elementary , but watch in the next 10 years how many people forget that concept.


Barbara July 31, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Nice post Ouida.
I like both Suze and RK.
A key difference in the two is that Suze focuses on people who are employed or are looking for a job. RK teaches us to be investors and/or business owners, not employees.
I like the fact that I can watch Suze every Saturday nite and glean whatever I need. She has now changed some of her teachings based on what has happened to the U.S. economy in the past 3-4 years.
AND, I must say I like RK’s books and CDs much better than his seminars. The free one I attended was great. But then I signed up for the “next level” which turned out to be a MLM ploy to hook attendees and have us continue to pay more and more for the next level of information. I don’t like trickery!


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