Robert Kiyosaki, Robert Allen, and Loral Langemeier would have you believe that in order to get rich all you need to do is throw your money into real estate, sit back, and let the profits come. It’s not that simple. There’s risk involved. You have to know what you’re doing.

Jon forwarded a link to what he calls “a personal finance trainwreck”. He writes: “If this guy is for real (and there appears to be some suspicion about that) then, wow. Unbelievable.” Casey at thought he could make a killing at real estate. He wanted to reach Financial Independence quickly.

I’m a 24-year-old aspiring real estate investor from Sacramento, California. After going to few seminars I bought eight houses in eight months across four states with no money down. I fixed and sold two and then ran out of cash. I am now facing foreclosure on six five houses. I’m learning my lessons, finding solutions and blogging about it.

Casey’s story is fascinating. Here’s a young man who read Kiyosaki and Allen, and who is trying to find riches by following their advice. He’s trying to make money quickly, and is struggling, but is willing to share the gory details. In one entry, Casey writes that he and his wife are running out of money. They’ve been living on credit cards, which are now maxed out. He’s afraid he might have to get a job.

I can’t just do a job. I do not want to give up my dream of financial independence. If I get a full-time job, I will continue doing my business and investing on the side. Finding time to do both will be hard (tried it before many times). If I must do that, I will. But it will probably take much longer to reach my goals.

An hourly job has limited earnings potential. Getting a 3% raise every year is not my idea of “upwardly mobile”. Making $25/hour writing code seems like a waste of time when I can sell a real estate contract for $5,000 after doing 5 hours of work = that’s $1000/hour!

So if I can work really hard for one month and find just 2 deals, I can make $10,000. That’s much better return on my time.

Casey received many responses (the comments are the best part of the site), some helpful, some angry, some flabbergasted. Some are all of these at once.

You’ve just nailed the difference between fantasy and reality. […] You are in the process of learning the difference between GAMBLING and INVESTING. Everything you’ve done so far has been gambling. Investing requires that one balance the risk with the rewards, diversify, and be dedicated. Some investments will fail, but a wise investor won’t have too much tied up in any single thing (like real estate purchased on a guru-drunken binge). Investments are made with money that one could stand to lose. Investing is not done by leveraging oneself up to the eyeballs and beyond, hoping for a miracle.

You can see television interviews with Casey (choose “House Flipper Part One” or “House Flipper Part Two” from the menu in the middle of the page). His story is also featured in two articles from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Langemeier, Kiyosaki, and Allen are inspirational. Some of their ideas may even be useful. (Prlinkbiz — who I’m sure will have something to say about this entry — is a huge Kiyosaki fan, and seems to be making his principles work for her.) But these folks preach that their methods are sure-fire ways to wealth and success. They overpromise in an attempt to sell books and seminars. Langemeier says she’s created 200 millionaires, and that she can make one out of anybody. Yet I can find no independent evidence that this has occurred. I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened, but I’m skeptical.

The only sure-fire way to wealth and success is to spend less than you earn, to save the difference, and to invest that savings for growth.

A couple more articles of interest: