Robert Kiyosaki is an investor, businessman and best-selling author. His books, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant, and Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing are all best sellers. His ventures have allowed him to retire early, and his teachings are followed all around the world.
Robert Kiyosaki was born in Hawaii where his experiences of Rich Dad, Poor Dad began. Not choosing to following his “poor” father, Ralph Kiyosaki, who was state superintendent of schools he adopted the financial strategies of his “rich” dad – the entrepreneurial father of a childhood best friend. Robert says “In doing so, I chose not to listen to my poor dad, even though he was the one with all the college degrees,” he writes in /Rich Dad, Poor Dad/.
After high school, Robert went to study in New York. After graduation, he traveled the world on merchant ships. “I think that’s what really messed me up,” he says. “Once I saw the world, it was hard to come back to Hawaii.” Later he joined the U.S. Marines and went to Vietnam as an officer and a helicopter gunship pilot. After returning from Vietnam Robert got a job as a salesman for the company Xerox Corporation and in 1977 he started a company to produce Nylon and Velcro surf wallets, which grew into a multi million dollar worldwide product.
He admits that he didn’t know enough about patents and trademarks, and as a result the business eventually closed, however his first venture into business wetted his entrepreneurial appetite. After the closure, Robert began investing in real estate and on the stock market, before nearly becoming bankrupt. He owed about $850,000,” he says. “Obviously, you can’t pay that kind of money back by getting a job.” Robert tried a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors, which weren’t very successful.
In 1985 Robert Kiyosaki founded an education company that taught business and investing to thousands of students all over the world which proved very successful. In 1994 he retired at the age of 47. Even after retirement Robert continued with real estate and business investments, and wrote the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which hit bookstores in 1997.
Although he had achieved some recognition overseas, he was relatively unheard of in the US. After initial publishing rejections he printed 1,000 copies himself, and the book became an underground success. Robert has since written four more bestsellers under the /Rich Dad/ brand and to date has sold more than 12 million books (in 29 different languages).
Coinciding with the books Kiyosaki also invented a board game for the financially illiterate, Cashflow 101, which is the first of two board games designed to educate people about accounting, investing and finance, with Cashflow for Kids being the second game.
Robert Kiyosaki has a profound message for those wanting to improve their financial lives. That message is: "With every dollar in your hand, you have the power to choose to be rich, poor or middle class."
A life-long education advocate, Sharon Lechter is the founder of Pay Your Family First, an umbrella financial education organization, and YouthPreneur, an innovative new way to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in our children.
Sharon helps shape the state of financial literacy in our nation and how best to promote a financially literate populous through her appointment to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. She and the 18 other members of the council were selectively appointed by President Bush for their expertise in financial education and will serve a two-year term. As a council member, Sharon is directly responsible to the President and Treasury Secretary for creating interesting and innovative ways to influence financial education.
Sharon is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, educator, international speaker, licensed CPA and mother. She has been a pioneer in developing new technologies to bring education into children’s lives in ways that are innovative, challenging and fun, and remains committed to education – particularly financial literacy.
“Our current educational system has not been able to keep pace with the global and technological changes in the world today,” Sharon says. “We must teach our young people the skills – both scholastic and financial – that they need to, not only survive, but flourish in the world.”
Sharon travels nationally and internationally to speak on a range of topics from educating children and adults on taking control of their personal finances to the entrepreneurial business strategies she used in building international success.
“Sharon’s passion for entrepreneurship is matched by her dedication to education,” says Mary Lou Bessette, a longtime business leader and executive director of strategic initiatives at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. “Her personal mission is to instill financial literacy worldwide. Sharon’s writings and leadership, especially with women and children, demonstrate that she is uniquely positioned to change the world through education.”
Sharon is known world-wide as the co-author of the international best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the Rich Dad series of books. During her 10 years with the Rich Dad Company, it grew into an international powerhouse with over 20 books, board games, Web sites, CDs, audio cassettes and seminars. Rich Dad, Poor Dad has been on The New York Times Best Sellers List for over six and a half years and is available in over 50 languages and sold in more than 108 countries. More than 27 million Rich Dad books have been sold around the world.
In 2007, Sharon left the managerial board of The Rich Dad Company to pursue focused work on financial education for children and families, as well as to continue work on improving our nation’s educational system. It was this passion that led her to recently launch Pay Your Family First and YouthPreneur.
A committed philanthropist, Sharon also gives back to world communities as both a volunteer and benefactor. She is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Attorney General of the State of Arizona. She has served on the Dean’s Council 100 of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and as a member of the advisory Board of the Spirit of Enterprise at the W.P. Carey School of Business. Sharon serves on the National board of Women’s Presidents Organization and serves on the national board of Childhelp, a national organization founded to prevent and treat child abuse.
In 2002, Childhelp honored Sharon and her husband, Michael, as recipients of the Spirit of the Children Award. In 2004, Sharon and Michael were recognized as an Arizona “Power Couple,” and Sharon was also named as a 2005 Woman of Distinction by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Sharon graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Florida State University with a degree in accounting, then joined the ranks of a Big Eight accounting firm. Sharon has held various management positions with computer, insurance, and publishing companies while maintaining her professional credentials as a Wisconsin CPA, and a member of the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants).