Book Review: Increase Your Financial IQ by Robert Kiyosaki

~ Justin McHenry ~  

Robert Kiyosaki is back with another in his “Rich Dad” line of books; this one’s called Chicken Soup for the Rich Dad’s Soul. Just kidding.

But the Rich Dad theme has been beaten about as often as the Chicken Soup horse at this point, so if you’ve read Kiyosaki’s other books, you can expect about 50% new material and 50% recycled ideas.

And if you expect more than that, you need to learn a thing or two about brand extension.

Anyway, the new book is titled Increase Your Financial IQ, and from this point forward I will discuss it on its own merits, regardless of what may have come before.

Robert kiyosaki finanical IQIncrease Your Financial IQ has at its core Kiyosaki’s 5 main aspects of financial genius:

1. Making More Money
2. Protecting Your Money
3. Budgeting Your Money
4. Leveraging Your Money
5. Improving Your Financial Information

This core section is pretty good; Kiyosaki has a lot of words of wisdom here. In terms of making money, his biggest advice is to get yourself to a place where your income is not entirely predicated on trading hours for money, i.e., only getting a paycheck for hours worked. Whether that means you’re a full-time entrepreneur or you use your extra money to create passive income (owning rental property for instance) is up to you.

Protecting Your Income covers everything from taxes to estate planning to prenuptial agreements. Thinking about who might put their hand in your pocket is important, although I think Kiyosaki goes off the rails a bit through his tired tirades against 401(K) investing (or really against any investing that isn’t real estate or gold). One piece of advice I heartily agree with is that railing against the tax system is a waste of time:

“I am not trying to change the system. My personal philosophy is that it is easier to change myself than to change the system.”

Budgeting Your Money is the strongest chapter in the book. Despite the name, this chapter isn’t really about listing your income and all your expenses and figuring out how to make it all work.

It’s more about a way of thinking, a philosophy that forces you to pay yourself first and put the money you’ve paid yourself into assets that make you more money. It’s sort of a “no excuses” budget in that Kiyosaki says if your income isn’t enough to finance your expenses, you’d better make some more income. Your budget should demand that you take some of your capital and put it to work, regardless of which bill collector may be coming after you.

Leveraging Your Money is little more than a case for why you should invest in real estate. I can’t take issue with its truths, but as I’ve said in the past, not everyone wants to deal with being a real estate owner. Yes, it may be a way to do well financially. But by making it sound as if it’s the ONLY way, Kiyosaki and other financial writers shortchange people who want to do well financially while also spending their career or free time on pursuits for which they have a real passion.

Improving Your Financial Information is sort of a mish-mash of thoughts and ideas, but makes for interesting reading.

Kiyosaki has strong opinions that are articulated in a lively way, so even if you disagree with him, his books keep you engaged. They do a nice job of inspiring you to get out there and make something happen.

That said, there’s a lot of filler in Increase Your Financial IQ. The last 50 pages could have been lopped off without being missed, and the first 30 pages could have been condensed into about 5 pages. Sure, some of the stuff covered in these sections is interesting, but there’s nothing more maddening in a personal finance book than to feel the author is saying the same thing 40 different ways in order to come up with 40 extra pages.

Despite its flaws, Increase Your Financial IQ is worthwhile reading. Rich Dad fans will likely eat it up, but it’s good food for thought for anyone, provided you don’t make the mistake of thinking that because Robert Kiyosaki is wealthy his path to wealth is the only one available.