Money Tips from Clark Howard and Rich Dad, Poor Dad

With the aroma of extra value menu items wafting in the air, consumer expert Clark Howard stood inside the McDonald’s on Camp Creek Parkway and answered numerous questions with all of the humility and candor as his setting would suggest.

Across town at the Cobb Energy Centre of Performing Arts, workers hastily added more and more chairs to a packed meeting room where Rodney Huffman extolled the values of real estate investing as part of a Rich Dad, Poor Dad two-hour introductory seminar.

The guest speakers, both wealthy and successful, could not have been more different. The common thread: a group of attendees eager to improve their financial standing, whether by capitalizing on opportunities in a down economy or simply tightening the purse strings while watching daily spending.

“All I do now is put out fires,” Howard said. “Sometimes after a [radio show], I feel like a boxer who has gone 15 rounds. This is an equal opportunity recession. Everybody has been hit over the head with a 2-x-4.”

Yet, clearly there are those, though down and out, still optimistic and determined enough to not only stay above water, but thrive.

“When building wealth, you have to be able to adapt to change,” Huffman said.

Howard’s biggest tips of the day:

– Drive your car until you have to leave it on the side of the road. That can have the largest impact of any one change you can make in your life.

– Go to a drug store and buy a little spiral notebook. For two weeks, write down every single thing you buy. After two weeks, you’ll be able to see the things you can do to free up money.

– Re-invent yourself. Just because you’re on top today doesn’t mean you’ll be on top tomorrow. The one constant is change, so you have to be ready to adjust and adapt.

– Get back to living within your means.

– Diversify stock investments nationally and internationally. Nearly 96 percent of the action is outside the United States. Your money needs to be here and there.

– If you are just starting out, every six months step up 1 percent of what you’re making to saving. You won’t miss it, but the cumulative effect will build up.

– If you find you do not need a 529 college fund to finance your child’s education due to scholarships or other forms of financial aid, consider holding onto it for graduate school or for other family members. If you withdraw it, you’ll be penalized and taxed.

– Don’t back away from 401 (K) programs. And if one isn’t available, invest in a Roth IRA account.

– Clark’s favorite travel sites:,, and

Huffman’s biggest tips of the day:

– The keys to success are opportunity, knowledge and action

– Change the way you think about money

– Decide whether you want to be employed, self-employed, own a system in which people work for your or be an investor and have your money work for you.

– Ask yourself, “What is my dream?”

– Primary money sources do not have to be banks. Consider partnerships, seller financing, equity lines and hard money loans in which the loan is based on the property rather than the individual.

– You don’t need to be wealthy to take advantage of opportunities.

What has the economic downturn taught you about yourself? What are your dreams, and how closely tied are they to money?

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains or on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

20 comments Add your comment

BongWater Slurpee

January 29th, 2010
8:04 am

THe McDonalds McDouble is a good deal at $1.00.


January 29th, 2010
9:06 am

Love how Clark Howard offered better / more concrete advice for free, while people paid good money to hear vague concepts from Huffman. Thanks Clark!

You ain't frum round here R ye?

January 29th, 2010
9:43 am

My Grandparents lived (and suffered) through the great depession. It impacted their lives to the point that it set in motion many life long habits which were both good and bad. They were hoarders. They threw away very little. All sorts of containers such as pickle jars, peanut butter jars etc., etc. were washed after use and put away in cabinets and boxes. Most would never be used but it seemed to comfort my Grandparents to know they were prepared if hard times come again. They saved their money and could never be accused of frivilous spending even during times when they were doing well financially. GrandDaddy often wore patches on his overalls when he could have been wearing the best suit in the store. Also, they grew and raised most of what they ate and took great pride in telling folks “We don’t trade at the store much.” Although I have picked and choosed some, I carry some of their ways with me now. My Grandparents are long gone now but these learned habits have served me well- during the past few years especially. Live and learn. Thanks Pap and Maw.

C Tucker

January 29th, 2010
9:43 am

I can’t help it that I am a left wing nut case.


January 29th, 2010
9:46 am

How else would you think Fluffman got rich quick? Separating idiots from their money is the best way to make money. Just look at all the e-mails you get from Nigeria. They’d stop sending them if it didn’t work.


January 29th, 2010
10:02 am

I would take Clarke’s free advise anytime!


January 29th, 2010
10:10 am

Thanks You ain’t frum round here R ye? We can all learn from your Grand Parents.


January 29th, 2010
10:29 am

Thanks “You ain’t frum round here R ye?” That’s the reason we call them “Grand” parents. Wisdom, life experience, tried and tested knowledge. We can all take in a bit of this common sense right now.

Big Al

January 29th, 2010
10:51 am

My parents are proof that the key to wealth is living on less than you earn. They only had a high school education and the jobs they held usually paid less than $12 per hour. But they NEVER used credit (except for their house which they paid off in less than 5 years). When they retired in their early 60’s, I think they had almost 900K in savings. I try to be like them, but I keep falling short.

Tiny Tim

January 29th, 2010
10:59 am

McDonalds McDouble may be a good deal at $1.00, but Burger King’s double cheeseburger is a better deal: more meat & more cheese at the same price!

Haywood Jablome Huffman

January 29th, 2010
11:11 am

Clark gives free specific advice.

Huffman is a huckster peddling the same vague crap that a bunch of other hotel ballroom snake-oil guys sell. He’s taking advantage of rubes. A sucker is born every minute.


January 29th, 2010
11:16 am

James, you are absolutely right. On the top of that, guys like Huffman got rich (if they’re crooked enough) on their seminars, not on their investments. Just another brainwasher fooling the average Joe, while using the formula “opportunity – knowledge – action”


January 29th, 2010
11:19 am

As an aside, McDonald’s burgers have ammonia mixed in. Don’t believe me? Google the article from the New York Times of 12/31/09 with the search words ground beef and ammonia. We’ll never eat burgers there again. Re Clark’s advice to fund Roth IRA’s, we lost all the money we put in for ‘08 so we held on to our money for ‘09. Scary to put your hard earned $$ into a Roth IRA only to see them vanish. Wonder if it is good advice really in light of our experience, can anybody enlighten me on this?


January 29th, 2010
11:20 am

@ Tiny Tim – BK uses the same pink slime/ammonia combo that McD’s does so that is no bargain either.

BongWater Slurpee

January 29th, 2010
1:47 pm

Whats the purpose of ammonia in Mc’s burgers.

Clark Howard probably has an article somewhere that advises how to get a refund on your used, dirty underpants.

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BongWater Slurpee

February 1st, 2010
8:31 am

Here is a money saving tip for ya.

A penny save is a penny earned.


February 1st, 2010
9:47 am

LOL @ BongWater Slurpee, that’s hilarious!! As much as I love Kyosaki, I must say that his seminars aren’t much better than his books i.e you can learn the same info from reading his books. Unless you’re ready to spend several tens of thousands of dollars to get rich please stay at home and don’t waste your time or money b/c that’s what it takes to get a ROI from his seminars. I’m not saying they don’t work but I am saying that if you don’t fork up at least 30K and are ready to apply yourself don’t expect it to.
Great advice from Clark Howard


April 9th, 2010
11:05 am

how does airgorilla fit in list of travel site…the other are price comparission sites. you should have mentioned, cheapoair, and others.


May 24th, 2010
9:30 pm

Huffman is a fake–just look into his resume and you’ll see he’s been a get rich story peddler for years. He started with Givens–and if you recall–went down due to law suits, SEC violations, etc. All of these companies promise big dreams with a “small investment”–but all they do is feed you a bunch of crap. Folks, smarten up and stay away from these scams. They’re just like a diet pill–make a bunch of promises, may work for a few weeks, but in the end you end in worse shape than when you started……