Suze Orman vs. 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' Guru: He Tweeted, She Tweeted

What we can learn from the spat between Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki.

ByABC News
March 3, 2010, 3:44 PM

March 5, 2010 — -- Forget celebrity Twitter sniping: Financial gurus Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki are among the latest to trade blows on the micro-blogging site, and their difference of opinion may influence how you manage your money.

It began when Kiyosaki, the co-author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," tweeted under the handle "theRealKiyosaki" Monday afternoon that he "can't believe" Orman and said, "No way in hell she believes what she teaches."

Orman, also an author and the host of a personal finance show on CNBC, shot back in all capital letters -- the online version of yelling -- and took a swipe at Kiyosaki's emphasis on real estate investments.


Kiyosaki responded with a dig at Orman's retirement planning advice, saying, "If we are talking losses ... how about the TRILLIONS lost through 401Ks."

Though it was more grudge match than nuanced debate, the exchange touches on the diverging philosophies espoused by Orman and Kiyosaki, two prominent financial pros with fierce followings. Orman is known for taking a conservative -- too conservative, critics say -- approach to personal finance: invest in stocks long term, stow cash in an emergency savings account and scale back spending to pay off debt.

Kiyosaki, meanwhile, argues for starting businesses and for investing in real estate that provides monthly returns -- strategies that his detractors say are too narrowly focused or too risky for most of the American public.

Should Americans listen to one over the other? To find out, checked in with several financial planners through the Garrett Planning Network. While three argued that most people should seek more personalized advice than that provided by either guru -- not a surprising response, given that financial planners' livelihoods depend on peoples' need for personalized advice -- six others said in e-mails that they would rather clients follow Orman over Kiyosaki.-- Jay Hutchins, the Wealth Conservatory, Lebanon, N.H.

"While I can't say I 'favor' one of the dueling Twitterers ... I do think Orman is probably more broad based and more like what I would recommend to a client. Real estate is a specialty area of investing. Many people are mislead into thinking it is a passive investment that requires no work or active participation on their part.

"Most of those people fell into Kiyosaki's 'flipper' definition, and they are the ones that have experienced huge losses. The real estate investors that are in the real estate 'business' of owning, renting and managing have certainly been hurt but will be fine over the longer term."
-- Wayne Blanchard, Melbourne, Fla.

"I do not value the advice of either of them more than the other. I have learned that as financial professionals we all tend to have our disagreements. Some disagreements are over very small issues while other disagreements can get quite passionate as they deal with major issues. The trick is to separate fact from opinion and do your own research. Don't rely on any one person for all of your information."
-- Michael Miller, Miller Premier Investment Planning, Mansfield, Texas