Learning to be rich 

All the nametags read: "I'm learning to be rich."

At a conference room at the Holiday Inn Parkside last week, that simple declarative sentence served as good an introduction as any to the 20 people listening to a pitch on how to become a millionaire in the current recession.

The money making plan comes courtesy of Richard Kiyosaki, but it's delivered by his fast-talking surrogate, Donald Spradling. The well-dressed executive explains that Kiyosaki had two fathers, a rich one and a poor one. By contrasting the life lessons of the two, he learned how rich people think. Kiyosaki used that knowledge to start the Rich Dad Company, which aims to "raise the financial literacy of people everywhere," according to the company website.

"You're all here because you want something better, correct?" asks Spradling.

Spradling explains there are three keys to success: opportunity, knowledge and action. Attendees can take action, Spradling says, by enrolling in Kiyosaki's three-day, $995 financial literacy course. The course will provide knowledge and opportunity. But, if the attendees take action today, they can enroll for only $495. Four people from the crowd sign up.

According to Spradling, Kiyosaki's course offers guidance on real estate investments. Students learn how to snap up homes in danger of foreclosure from owners who are desperate to sell, and how to take over mortgage payments. Spradling suggests giving the homeowners a little bit of money too, because it's compassionate. He also covers mobile home parks, because they will "make you millions."

"I'm not in the mobile home park business, I'm in the concrete slab business," he says. "Even if a hurricane comes and cleans out the entire park, it doesn't matter how much the homes cost, I get a nice little insurance check and I just put up more."

At this point of the pitch, a woman in the back row peels off her nametag, sticks it to her notebook, smiles politely, stands and walks out. She's no longer learning to be rich.

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