Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Burleyists - Robert Yang

If you're at all interested in what has to say on or real estate investment, then you'll very quickly find your way to the John Burley Discussion Forums. I have spent a good deal of time reading the messages there, myself - originally because I was in thrall to the beliefs, but more recently as research for my Burley-related posts here (and I admit there's an element of sick fascination involved, as well).

One of the dangers of reading the forums for extended periods, however, is that you might find yourself starting to almost believe the hype. Message after message from "successful students" who claim to be living the dream and making fistfuls of cash (aka, "Progressive Profits") as a result of following Burley's advice is enough to weaken even my skepti-sense after a while. It takes a conscious effort to remember that

  1. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation (e.g., just because night follows day does not mean that day is the cause of night)
  2. Anecdotes are the weakest form of evidence for something (precisely because of reason 1, but also because they aren't necessarily representative of the target population as a whole)
  3. Most importantly: this is Burley's promotional site! You can find rah-rah sites on the web for just about any absurd scam you can think of - from homeopathic "medicine" to "over unity" technologies.
In spite of this, I must have been in the midst of a particularly weak moment a few months ago when I first happened upon Robert Yang's comments on the forums, because I didn't take the time then to really give Mr. Yang the attention he warranted. I am rectifying this as well as I can now.

Let's have Robert introduce himself:

Hello, my name is Robert Yang.

I am the Host of, a site devoted to your financial education. I just turned 35 and currently in semi-retirement after achieving financial freedom for myself and my family. It did not start out this way. In October 2002, after realizing I lost $500,000 in the stock market with a high probability of been laid off from a Fortune 500 company that I worked for since college. I dedicated myself to the “1,000 days challenge” to be out of the rat race (achieve financial freedom). I was fortunate to have many mentors and found many supportive networks along the way. I have indeed achieved financial freedom in less than 3 years.

However, it was not an easy road traveled. Being a W2 wage earner with a full-time job and a family to take care of, it was hard to get started. I learned enough lessons along the way that I am now in a position to share my experiences with you and support you if you too have the burning desire to one day quit your job to spend more time with your family and having the free time to do what you like to do, not what you have to do. I honor you for taking your first giant step forward and joining me and my friends in the journey toward financial freedom! As one of my mentor Anthony Robbins likes to say, “Life will never be the same again!”

How did I came up with the name yisemen”? Last year, when I was interviewing CPAs for one of my companies, I was asked to give the names of our principles. I was providing the names one by one, she noticed that my partner, Jeffrey, my advisor, Edwin, and myself all shared the last name starting with the letter Y. So, she jokingly said, “you guys are the three Y’s men (wise men). I like the name a lot and decided to keep this nickname and be one of the – “yisemen”.

Keep the passion alive,

Robert Yang

Unfortunately some time in the past 3 months Robert's web site for Yisemen Financial has all but disappeared. All that remains today is Google's cache of the site.

One has to wonder what happened. Yisemen Financial had so much going for it! With the incomparable teachings of Robert Kiyosaki, Matthew Chan, and John Burley behind it, as well as the indispensable "burning desire" of Robert Yang - Burleyist extraordinaire - to succeed, it just doesn't seem possible that the company could have met with failure. Of course, the other possibility is that Robert has taken that fabled quantum leap out of the rat race and has no need of Yisemen Financial any more.

But wait! Robert says that he had already done that before starting his site, so that can't be the answer - and clearly the financial education needs to continue because, for example, I have yet to leave the rat race. So none of it makes any sense!

Whatever happened, though, I hope Robert Yang is "keepin' the passion alive" out there somewhere!

Google's cache of is undoubtedly going to be cleared soon, and I can't bear the thought that Robert Yang's invaluable insight might be lost. So, for the sake of posterity, here are a couple choice quotes (I really want to do more, but I'm a little worried about already being on the edge of fair use)...
There are no bad investments
There are bad investors

This is so true. It is the investor, who finds a way to create value, and make it a good investment. I lost tons of money in the stock market because I was a bad investor prior to October 2002. I thought I was a great investor when I saw one of my high-tech stock portfolios grow from $20,000 to $240,000 between 1993 to 2000. Now looking back, I realized I was just a Level Three pig who got lucky with the tech run in the 90s. I had no limit order in place to sell my stocks when it fell below a certain price. I was greedy. I took everyone’s advice – invest for the long term. I didn’t cared how high the PE (Price to Earnings) ratio was – thinking there are more fools behind me who will pay even higher prices for my stocks. I did not realize that stock is not a secured investment, where the down side can be 100%. I had absolutely no control over my investment in the stock market.

Yet, not all investors lost money during the stock market crash of 2001. Warren Buffet did just fine for his investors. Many seasoned investors had hedge position. Some even welcome the big swing in the market as they utilize options to earn very high return on their money. So, the lesson is – It is not the investment, it is the investor that creates the return.


So, what is the secret for getting out of the rat race?

My experience tell me that first you have to address the basics. Once you have a good fundemental, you can speed the procoess up by going through self-improvement seminar, having mentor, network with other successful people.

1) You must save a part of you earn... It a sample mathemtics. When you get your check every month, put at least 10% to 20% aside for investing before you pay for everything else...

2) Know your financial freedom gap

Financial Freedom Gap = Expense - Passive Income

Track your expense for few months and know how much money you needed per month to live. Start invest for passive income. Most people only invest for capital gain (which help to increase your networth, but does nothing to get you the income you needed to be out of the rat race).

3) How much money do I need to retire?

It depends on what rate of return you can get.. Example if you need $5,000 per month to cover your expense, then,

APR Capital Needed
2% $3,000,000
8% $750,000
15% $400,000

4) Turn your liability (which creates expense) and un-productive assets (which generates no passive income) into true assets (that produces income for you every months).

5) Network with other sucessful investor and co-invest with them when you starting out.

6) Improve your skills by going to seminars, listen to audio CD, get a mentor if you want to speed up the process.

7) Play Cashflow 101 at least once a month for the next 12 months

Those are some of the fundmentals...

Keep the Passion Alive,
RobertY (Host)

Feeling financially freer, yet?


Dikkii said...

The problem with these "get rich quick" guys is that they like to use the old bait and switch trick once too many times.

Yang mentions Buffett - people listen. Then he goes right off the track.

Personally, I would've tuned out the moment he mentioned Anthony Robbins.

Anonymous said...

You make a comment against Robert Yang regarding the "incomparable teachings of Robert Kiyosaki, Matthew Chan, and John Burley".

First off, Robert Yang is a personal friend and business associate. His website was an experiment that he ultimately chose to shut down for his own reasons.

Second, I have never considered myself a "guru" and (truth be told), I never want to be in light of the negativity that is associated with it. I am foremost an entrepreneur who also happens to be a real estate investor, publisher, and author in that order. Definitely not a guru, but I am a life-long student who happens to also share information along the way.

The "teachings" as you refer my work in relation to Robert Yang is modest. Robert was influenced by what I wrote in "The Intrepid Way". We have spent time personal time together and so he credits me occasionally. "The Intrepid Way" was simply a collection of entrepreneurial thoughts and philosophies that worked for me. My emphasis has been "personal freedom", not necessarily "getting rich". If you must categorize me, I espouse "getting free" first which partially means "getting wealthy" along the way.

In any case, it is easy to cast judgment on others who attempt to do good. Be careful, you do not lump everyone together. It is a sign you lack mental distinctions. Or you have simply taken the lazy way out and simply decided to take swipes at everyone without regards of the impacts of your words.

And just to set the record straight, I am not and have never been a "Burleyist". I am independent thinker and I learn from many people. During my time with John Burley, I learned many great things. I have no problems acknowledging that. Did he bring special people into my life? No question about it. Many of my friends I have today I met during my association with John Burley. I hosted his online discussion forums. But through it all, I have maintained my own vision and direction.

As such, I am somewhat put-off with the negative slants of your comments when (to my knowledge) you have never met or interacted with me.

Matthew Chan

Einzige said...

Mr. Chan, I don't recall ever applying either of the labels "guru" or "Burleyist" to you.

However, my memory may be failing me.

As far as my "swipes" (real or imagined) against you go: to the extent that you choose to associate with someone whose ethics I find highly questionable, you should be prepared to have your own questioned as well.

If you have substantive complaints about anything I have written I would be pleased to hear them. Any errors will be happily corrected.

Anonymous said...

You did not use the "guru" per se. However, it is implied when you use my name in the same vein with others in that line of business.

You also did not directly refer to me as a "Burleyist". However, my name does come up (in association with MasterMind Forums) more than once on your articles regarding "Burleyists".

Regarding my own ethics, I am not going to stomp around and beat on my chest about how great I am on business ethics. I tend to believe these sort of things come out on their own over time.

I surmise you do not have a business of your own. But I will leave you with some thoughts and you might reconsider throwing me under the bus without getting to know me. When you are in business, you often work and ally yourself with others with the best information you have at the time.

Every business relationship requires contribution. That means I have to do my part to create a greater good. In the course of doing business, things don't go as you anticipate.

For example, I will freely share you that for a brief time, I was accused of having a management/ownership interest with a local collection agency. I was on friendly terms with the owner. However, it became less friendly over time. Ultimately, the relationship was severed by me because I found that the collection agency was not doing what they were supposed to do. They are collecting but keeping the monies from their clients. Clearly not a good business practice.

But because I had stupidly volunteered to register their domain and put up a basic website a year early, someone on the Internet doing research on them thought I was a principal of the company and started verbally attacking me on the Internet.

Fortunately, the attacks ceased with very little intervention because further research revealed that I had nothing to do with their operations.

Another quick story, we have all kinds of tenants that stay in our properties. Have we discovered tenants with questionable values such as taking/selling drugs and domestic violence in our homes? Sure, AFTER the fact, which was not revealed during the initial background checks.

Does my association with these tenants all of a sudden mean we condone and support such values? Absolutely not. But our landlord/tenant laws do not give us the right to immediately evict tenants on the spot just because some idiot slapped his wife or punched a hole in the wall. Nor can we automatically takeback a property just because a guy is sitting in jail with drug charges.

It takes time to undo and unravel that relationship. Having said all that, I am aware of the phenomenon of "guilt by association". It is real and it does exist as evidenced by your most recent comment. I suppose it is the price one pays for not being anonymous.

If you feel like you want to continue throwing me under the bus, I really can't stop you. However, I have made my counterpoint and explanation. I believe most smart people will be able to discern where I stand on many subjects without my explicitly having to articulate them.

Last thing, I have not taken anything you written about me thus far as direct attacks per se. However, the use of my name (and Robert Yang's) seems to have a negative taint here. I simply wanted to voice a minor objection to it and put my counterpoint to it.

Matthew Chan