9 Lessons From ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ to Help You Become a Better Left Field Investor

I recently re-read Rich Dad Poor Dad, one of the top-selling personal finance books of all time and probably the one book that most real estate investors have credited with kickstarting their journey. Ironically, most of the book doesn’t discuss how to make money in real estate. However, most devotees do acknowledge that this book helped change their mindset about their finances and investing philosophy. Here are some timeless lessons from this classic book that will give you more confidence investing in real assets that produce real cash flow and wealth.


1. Become financially literate

Over twenty years ago, Robert Kiyosaki wrote a brochure as a marketing piece for his financial education board game, CASHFLOW 101. What many people do not know is that this brochure became the basis for the Rich Dad Poor Dad book. Robert is adamant that people need more financial education, especially in our schools. He has been an outspoken proponent for changing our education system so that children can have the opportunity to become financially literate.

The rich understand the difference between an asset and a liability. In simple terms, an asset puts money into your pocket while a liability takes money out of it. Therefore, the rich become richer because they acquire assets while others acquire liabilities. Having large amounts of consumer debt will make it difficult for anyone to gain wealth. On the other hand, using “good” debt (i.e. leverage) to purchase cash flowing rental properties will add value to your asset column.

Capital preservation should be of utmost importance to increase your wealth. Left Field investors know that hard assets such as apartment buildings or self-storage facilities will most likely retain their values in addition to pumping out regular distributions. Forced appreciation will add to their values when sold because of the increased net operating income. Buying publicly traded stocks is a bit riskier because of the ups and downs of the Wall Street roller coaster.


2. Don’t work for money. Make money work for you.

Left Field Investors wholeheartedly agree with these statements. Warren Buffett famously said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” There are only so many hours in a day that you can work. While not everyone can quit their jobs, at least you can invest and re-invest your money into cash flowing assets to grow your “snowball”. Commercial real estate is a great vehicle for making you money from appreciation, depreciation, and cash flow.


3. Choose friends carefully: the power of association

Real estate investing is a relationship business. At Left Field Investors, we preach networking. Talking with people who have experience in the passive investing world will cut down your learning curve greatly. Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” When Infielders are asked which of the membership tools is the most valuable, they universally respond that it is our private forum where we discuss sponsors, deals, tax strategies, and all things passive. Even though I am one of the founders of this group, I find that I am learning new things every day by getting involved in these discussions.

Connect with like-minded investors. Call up sponsors and ask them questions about their business model and where they think the next burgeoning market is. There are also plenty of Facebook groups dedicated to passive investing. You never know who will help you discover a great tax idea or introduce you to a fantastic sponsor. Network, network, network! I believe we have one of the best passive investing communities at Left Field Investors, so get off the bench!


4. Master a formula and then learn a new one: the power of learning quickly

There are plenty of ways to learn about passive investing: books, our podcast, other podcasts, syndicator websites, and forums. As mentioned above, the Infield membership includes several tools to help you compress time frames and to give you confidence when investing. The LFI Sponsor Summary sheet gives you detailed information on dozens of syndicators. Many of our members have talked with these sponsors so we have been able to compile this data into one spreadsheet. The LFI Sponsor Screener will give you key questions to ask when you interview syndicators. The LFI Deal Analyzer will help you vet specific deals and will light up any cells red if the metrics are not within the target range.

Most passive investors consider multifamily properties to be the “bread and butter” of syndications because of their good cash-on-cash returns and great ability to take advantage of bonus depreciation. But don’t limit yourself to one type of asset.  Since real estate is also affected by economic cycles, know which asset types are more resistant to downturns. Left Fielders believe that you should diversify by asset type, by asset class, by sponsor, by geography, and even by time frame. If you invest in stocks, you would not put all of your money into one sector, like health care companies. The wise adage of “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” cannot be truer in the passive investing world. Follow the advice of Rich Dad Poor Dad and keep on learning.


5. Pay your “brokers” well: the power of good advice

In this section of his book, Kiyosaki was referring to real estate brokers. If you are looking to invest in properties directly, a broker can give you access to great off-market deals. The “brokers” in the passive investing ecosystem include sponsors, property managers, and CPAs. Don’t skimp on these vital team members.

You will see variances in syndication fees for acquisition, asset management, property management, and other fees. Of course, you have to assess these fees carefully, but don’t discount a syndicator simply because their acquisition fee is 2% vs. another’s 1%. You have to consider their experience and track record. Some operators who have been doing this for decades may have higher fees than those who only have three deals under their belt and none that have gone full cycle. The ones who have the great track record should be able to command higher fees and GP-friendly partnership splits. As long as you are happy with the investor pro forma returns, you should not dwell too much on their fees. Of course, you need to fully vet the sponsor, the deal, and the location before wiring over your money.

Property management is a key aspect of commercial real estate. An excellent property management group can save an asset that has unforeseen issues while an inexperienced team that does not run a tight ship can sink a deal that should have been a winner. If the sponsor is using third-party management, you should vet them as well.

Taxes are the biggest personal expense for most people. A CPA with lots of experience in real estate can save you tens of thousands of dollars or more. If you are searching for a new tax accountant, vet them like you would a syndicator. Let them give you examples of how they can save you money every year as a real estate investor. But don’t just depend on their expertise. Learn how the tax code can work in your favor so you can ask intelligent questions. Tax-Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright is the best book I have read that talks about saving on taxes. The Wealthability Show and The Real Estate CPA are great podcasts for furthering your knowledge about taxes.


6. The power of getting something for nothing

“How fast do I get my money back?” Left Fielders are always asking this question because they understand the time-value of money. A dollar is worth more now than a dollar is in the future. If you get your capital back faster, you can re-invest it into something else while still making money in the first investment. Having consistent cash flow and/or a cash-out refinance of the loan are ways that syndications can put money back into your pocket before the asset is even sold. In contrast, buying a stock that does not give out dividends is a hope-and-pray strategy.

One other powerful way limited partners can get substantial amounts of their money back quickly is through the power of bonus depreciation. With this strategy, depreciation that is normally taken at five, seven, or fifteen years, may be accelerated to year one! Many Left Fielders have received 80%, 90% or even over 100% bonus depreciation on their K-1s from apartment syndications. If you invested $50,000 into a deal and received 80% depreciation from it this year, that could shelter $40,000 of passive income and give you back $14,000 in 2021 if you are in the 35% tax bracket. That is the equivalent of a 28% cash-on-cash return in the first year! Of course, since depreciation gives you a passive loss, this can only offset passive gains. Ask your CPA how this powerful tax strategy can work for you.


7. Teach and you shall receive: the power of giving

Although I have been with Left Field Investors since its inception, I have probably gained more from our network than I have given to it. When you find success from your vetting techniques or learn new information about sponsors or new markets, please share what you know. It’s great to see all the support and sharing of knowledge that is going on every day in the Infield Forum. However, it does not have to be limited to our group. Talk with your family and friends about the merits of passive investing. Spread the word in your local REIA groups. I guarantee that most of the attendees know very little about syndication investing. In fact, our group began as an offshoot of a local REIA. Being a giving person by teaching others can only make you a better investor.


8. Overcome fear, cynicism, laziness, bad habits, and arrogance

The author spends an entire chapter on these obstacles. Even the financially literate may have to face these roadblocks when changing their investing philosophy. Your family and friends may become your biggest naysayers because they may only be familiar with the traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. As long as you educate yourself, you should have confidence to pursue passive investments. Get involved with Left Field Investors or, better yet, the Infield. We think outside of the box, and members of our community can be some of your best supporters.


9. Know your why

Even though this statement may sound cliché nowadays, this was the first book that I read that talked about your “why”. In the book, this section is actually titled “Find a reason greater than reality: the power of spirit”. Around 2008, my wife and I enrolled in a weekend Rich Dad seminar. This course introduced us to all the different aspects of active real estate investing – much of this material was new to me. During the last session of the last day, we all got up to tell the rest of the group “why” we wanted to take this journey into real estate investing. As you can imagine, many of us became emotional during our testimonials because we talked about our families and our individual situations. Having a “why” (or several “whys”) can be so powerful and be the driving force for you to investigate passive investing if you have not already.

                                                      What is your “why” for passive investing?



Rich Dad Poor Dad was a pioneering book that continues to shift readers’ attitudes toward money and investing. I know that many of you may have read it years ago. I encourage you to read it again because it may have a different impact on you especially if you view it through the Left Field Investor lens. More importantly, get involved with a community like ours. Six of the nine Rich Dad lessons that I wrote about deal either directly or indirectly with growing your network. Now is the time to get in the game!

Steve Suh is an ophthalmologist and is one of the founders of Left Field Investors. After owning a few small residential rentals and seeing that it was not easily scalable, he transitioned to the world of passive investing in commercial real estate syndications. He enjoys learning and talking about real estate and hopes to educate more people about the merits of passive investing. You can contact him at steve@leftfieldinvestors.com.

Nothing on this website should be considered financial advice. Investing involves risks which you assume. It is your duty to do your own due diligence. Read all documents and agreements before signing or investing in anything. It is your duty to consult with your own legal, financial and tax advisors regarding any investment.

Chris Franckhauser

Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner

Chris Franckhauser, Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner for Left Field Investors, has been involved in real estate since 2008. He started with one single-family fix and flip, and he was hooked. He then scaled, completing five more over a brief period. While he enjoyed the journey and the financial tailwinds that came with each completed project, being an active investor with a W2 at the time, became too much to manage with a young and growing family. Seeing this was not easily scalable or sustainable long term, he searched for alternative ideas on where to invest. He explored other passive income streams but kept coming back to his two passions; real estate and time with his family. He discovered syndications after reconnecting with a former colleague and LFI Founder. He joined Left Field Investors in 2023 and has quickly immersed himself into the community and as a key member of our team.  

Chris earned a B.S. from The Ohio State University. After years in healthcare technology and medical devices, from startups to Fortune 15 companies, Chris shifted his efforts to consulting and owning a small apparel business when he is not working with LFI (Left Field Investors) or on his personal passive investments. A few years ago, Chris and his family left the cold life in Ohio for lake life in the Carolinas. Chris lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina with his wife and two kids. In his free time, he enjoys exploring all the things the Carolinas offer, from the beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, volunteering at the school, coaching his kids’ sports teams and cheering on the Buckeyes from afar.  

Chris knows investing is a team sport. Being a strategic thinker and analytical by nature, the ability to collaborate with like-minded individuals in the Left Field Community and other communities is invaluable.  

Jim Pfeifer

President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Jim Pfeifer is one of the founders of Left Field Investors and the host of the Passive Investing from Left Field podcast. Left Field Investors is a group dedicated to educating and assisting like-minded investors negotiate the nuances of the passive investing landscape and world of syndications. Jim is a former financial advisor who became frustrated with the one-path-fits-all approach of the standard financial services industry. Jim now concentrates on investing in real assets that produce cash flow and is committed to sharing his knowledge with others who are interested in learning a different way to grow wealth.

Jim not only advises and helps people get started in passive real estate syndications, he also invests alongside them in small groups to allow for diversification among multiple investments and syndication sponsors. Jim believes the most important factor in a successful syndication is finding a sponsor that he knows, likes and trusts.

He has invested in over 100 passive syndications including apartments, mobile homes, self-storage, private lending and notes, ATM’s, commercial and industrial triple net leases, assisted living facilities and international coffee farms and cacao producers. Jim is constantly looking for new investment ideas that match his philosophy of real assets producing cash flow as well as looking for new sponsors with whom he can build quality, long-term relationships. Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Chad Ackerman

Chief Operating Officer, Founder

Chad is the Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Left Field Investors and the host of the LFI Spotlight podcast. Chad was in banking most of his career with a focus on data analytics, but in March of 2023 he left his W2 to become LFI’s second full time employee.

Chad always had a passion for real estate, so his analytics skills translated well into the deal analyzer side of the business. Through his training, education and networking Chad was able to align his passive investing to compliment his involvement with LFI while allowing him to grow his wealth and take steps towards financial freedom. He has appreciated the help he’s received from others along his journey which is why he is excited to host the LFI Spotlight podcast and share the experience of other investors and industry experts to assist those that are looking for education for their own journey.

Chad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Minor in Real Estate from the University of Cincinnati. He is working to educate his two teenagers in the passive investing world. In his spare time he likes to golf, kayak, and check out the local brewery scene.

Ryan Steig

Chief Financial Officer, Founder

Ryan Stieg started down the path of passive investing like many of us did, after he picked up a little purple book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The problem was that he did that in college and didn’t take action to start investing passively until many years later when that itch to invest passively crept back up.

Ryan became an accidental landlord after moving from Phoenix back to Montana in 2007, a rental he kept until 2016 when he started investing more intentionally. Since 2016, Ryan has focused (or should we say lack thereof) on all different kinds of investing, always returning to real estate and business as his mainstay. Ryan has a small portfolio of one-to-three-unit rentals across four different markets in the US. He has also invested in over fifty real estate syndication investments individually or with an investment group or tribe. Working to diversify in multiple asset classes, Ryan invests in multi-family, note funds, NNN industrial, retail, office, self-storage, online businesses, start-ups, and several other asset classes that further cement his self-diagnosis of “shiny object syndrome”.

However, with all of those reaches over the years, Ryan still believes in the long-term success and tenets of passive, cash-flow-focused investing with proven syndicators and shared knowledge in investing.

When he’s not working with LFI or on his personal passive investments, he recently opened a new Club Pilates franchise studio after an insurance career. Outside of that, he can be found with his wife watching whatever sport one of their two boys is involved in during that particular season.

Steve Suh

Chief Content Officer, Founder

Steve Suh, one of the founders of Left Field Investors and its Chief Content Officer, has been involved with real estate and alternative assets since 2005. Like many, he saw his net worth plummet during the two major stock market crashes in the early 2000s. Since then, he vowed to find other ways to invest his money. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad gave Steve the impetus to learn about real estate investing. He first became a landlord after purchasing his office condo. He then invested passively as a limited partner in oil and gas drilling syndications but quickly learned the importance of scrutinizing sponsors when he stopped getting returns after only a few months. Steve came back to real estate by buying a few small residential rentals. Seeing that this was not easily scalable, he searched for alternative ideas. After listening to hundreds of podcasts and attending numerous real estate investing meetings, he determined that passively investing in real estate syndications was the best avenue to get great, risk-adjusted returns. He has invested in dozens of syndications involving apartment buildings, self-storage facilities, resort properties, ATMs, Bitcoin mining funds, car washes, a coffee farm, and even a Broadway show.

When Steve is not vetting commercial real estate syndications in the evenings, he is stomping out eye diseases and improving vision during the day as an ophthalmologist. He enjoys playing in his tennis and pickleball leagues and rooting for his Buckeyes and Steelers football teams. In the past several years, he took up running and has completed three full marathons, including the New York City Marathon. He is always on a quest to find great pizza, BBQ brisket, and bourbon. He enjoys traveling with his wife and their three adult kids. They usually go on a medical mission trip once a year to southern Mexico to provide eye surgeries and glasses to the residents. Steve has enjoyed being a part of Left Field Investors to help others learn about the merits of passive, real asset investments.

Sean Donnelly

Chief Culture Officer, Founder

Sean holds a W2 job in the finance sector and began his real estate investing journey shortly after earning his MBA. Unfortunately, it could not have begun at a worse time … anyone remember 2007 … but even the recession provided worthy lessons. Sean stayed in the game continuing to find his place, progressing from flipping to owning single and multi-family rentals to now funding opportunities through syndications. While Sean is still heavily invested in the equities market and holds a small portfolio of rentals, he strongly believes passive investing is the best way to offset the cyclical nature of traditional investment vehicles as well as avoid the headaches of direct property ownership. Through consistent cash flow, long term yield and available tax benefits, the diversification offered with passive investing brings a welcomed balance to an otherwise turbulent investing scheme. What Sean likes most about the syndication space is that the investment opportunities are not “one size fits all” and the community of investors genuinely want to help.

He earned a B.S. in Finance from Iowa State University in 1995 and a MBA from Otterbein University in 2007. Sean has lived in eight states but has called Ohio home for the last 20+.  When not attending his children’s various school/sporting events, Sean can be found running, golfing, shooting or fly-fishing.

Patrick Wills

Chief Information Officer, Advisory Partner

An active real estate investor since 2017, Patrick Wills’ investing journey began like many others – after reading the “purple book” by Robert Kiyosaki. Patrick started with single family rentals, and while they performed well, he quickly realized their inability to scale efficiently while remaining passive. He discovered syndications via podcasts and local meetups and never looked back. He joined Left Field Investors in 2022 as a member and has quickly become an integral part of the team as Vice President of Technology.

An I.T. Systems Engineer by trade, he experienced the limitations of traditional Wall Street investing firsthand in his career and knew there had to be a better way to truly have financial freedom.

Unfortunately, that better way is inaccessible to those who need it most. His mission is to make alternative investments accessible to everyone who seeks to take control of their financial future and to pursue their passions in life.

Contact Us

Stay Connected!

Sign up to be notified of our latest articles and meeting announcements.

Stay Connected!

Sign up to be notified of our latest articles and meeting announcements.