Book review: The Millionaire Maker

Loral Langemeier claims that she can turn anyone into a millionaire. In her recent book The Millionaire Maker, she writes:

You can give me someone who's severely in debt, you can give me a single mom on a low income, you can even give me a guy who's living a big lifestyle on fumes. I can take all of them and make them millionaires.

The Millionaire Maker attempts to codify Langemeier's “proprietary Wealth Cycle Process”. (That's how she writes it — with capital letters. Langemeier is big on capitalized jargon, tossing around terms like Financial Baseline, Gap Analysis, Freedom Day, Cash Machine, Wealth Accounts, Forecasting, Wealth Account Priority Payment.)

Langemeier believes there are better places to put your money than in mutual funds. (She calls the buy-and-hold method “park and pray”.) She advocates an active role in accumulating wealth, particularly through entrepreneurship and real estate.

Langemeier's advice is reminiscent of Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but with more examples. Where Kiyosaki is vague, Langemeier offers seven case studies. Each chapter emphasizes a different aspect of her method, focusing on a family who wants to achieve a financial goal. Some of the families have millions of dollars in assets. Some have almost nothing.

With the correct approach, Langemeier says, anyone can achieve her dreams. She emphasizes a One-Year Freedom Day, a day on which you will have escaped your current financial situation. This means different things for different people. To discover what it means for you, you need to ask yourself some questions: What is your current financial situation? What do you want? What skills do you have? How can these skills help you get what you want?

It's all very inspirational. But still — sometimes she sounds like she's pitching a get-rich-quick scheme.

Once you set the Wealth Cycle Process in motion, you can be on your way to having everything you ever wanted much faster than you ever thought possible.

Langemeier is adamant that her system is not a get-rich-quick scheme. She notes that her method requires hard work and sacrifice. She espouses many tried-and-true personal finance concepts:

  • She preaches the “pay yourself first” mantra.
  • One of the first steps to her system is to get rid of bad debt.
  • To that end, she presents a modified debt snowball.
  • She also asks people to keep a budget. (Though she calls a budget a Forecast.)
  • “Start now!” she says repeatedly.
  • She encourages diversification, though her concept of diversification is different than most.
  • Langemeier decries the lack of financial education.
  • She warns that it's a poor idea to “look pretty and stay poor”.

The Millionaire Maker offers conventional advice wrapped in unconventional garb. Langemeier encourages wealth through entrepreneurship. She preaches action. She emphasizes teamwork. “There's no such thing as a self-made millionaire,” she writes. She believes that for real wealth to occur, one must obtain help from a team comprising a CPA, a lawyer, a financial advisor, and various mentors.

Some of Langemeier's advice is almost scary. She promotes the use of home equity — hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time — as a source of money for business ventures. She sometimes recommends cashing out retirement savings to do the same. She would argue that it's easier to make money by starting a business based on your knowledge and passions, than it is to leave the money to the whim of the stock market.

I think these are noble sentiments, but I'd want to be damn sure I knew what I was doing before I pulled six figures out of my house to risk on a start-up. I'm all for entrepreneurship, but this seems risky. And what are these 40% returns she mentions? Sign me up!

The Millionaire Maker is a mixed bag. While it preaches what ought to be preached, and Langemeier provides more specifics than some authors, her message sounds hollow. I want some evidence of her success. Not everyone will be moved by her love of entrepreneurship. But for some — myself included — this book may be a useful tool. Despite its flaws, I find this book motivational. (In a way, it's responsible for the existence of this site.)

The Millionaire Maker is the sort of book that one ought to read for inspiration; it should not be accepted as the gospel truth. There is some good information here, but there's some stuff that raises red flags, too.

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William Mize
William Mize
13 years ago

Hey J.D!
This book is actually sitting on my kitchen table; just picked it up from the library. I haven’t even cracked it yet, but something strikes me as odd.
Have you noticed that there seems to be a circle of financial advice folks who give book blurbs and reviews for each other?
Langemeier, T. Harv Ecker, Mark Victor Hansen, etc.
It comes off as kind of creepy and more of a “Let’s Make Ourselves Millionaires At The Expense of Others Via Books And Seminars”.

Yours for better conspiracy theories,

– Bill

Melsky
Melsky
13 years ago

Taking a home equity loan to pursue investments sounds like an idea that could backfire in a very bad way. I’ve reserved this book at the library. I still learn from investment books even when I have major disagreements with the author. I’m really into staying out of debt as much as possible.

J.D.
J.D.
13 years ago

This is very much a “borrow from the library” book, I think. It’s not essential for a basic personal finance collection. Melsky has an excellent point: It’s great to develop the skill of learning from a book even when you disagree with the premise or with the author’s viewpoint. In this case, despite the fact that I’m wary of Langemeier’s methods, she has some good things to say about entrepreneurship. More than that, the book is inspiring. In early March, I was contemplating a web site devoted to personal finance. But I didn’t have the gumption to actually create it.… Read more »

prlinkbiz
prlinkbiz
13 years ago

I haven’t read LL’s stuff, but I am all about people taking control of their finances, increasing their financial education and action to increase their means. Risk is a funny thing. I think it is more risky to save and tie your money up today in something you may or may not get a return on in 30 years, as opposed to taking some of what I have today and learning how to mamke it grow via business and investments. The later puts me in control today, gives me a tangible return today, and godforbid something go wrong, it also… Read more »

Susan
Susan
13 years ago

I avoid anyone who thinks that Random Word Capitalization makes The Things They Say Important. It always bugs me, even when they have good ideas underneath it all.

Duane Gran
Duane Gran
13 years ago

This sounds like another book aimed at motivating people to shift some portion of their purchasing habits away from liabilities and into assets. Good advice for people on the earn & spend treadmill. I’m glad to hear there are some practical aspects, but I’m leery about renaming common terms. Just call it a budget, thank you.

Mark
Mark
13 years ago

“She promotes the use of home equity – hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time – as a source of money for business ventures.” Wow. Given how many small businesses fail (what is it, 50% within a few years?), that sounds like an awfully stupid gamble. Run the numbers all you want, pretend you’ll get massive returns if you succeed, but still, I think it makes sense to be fairly risk-averse when you’re gambling your *house*… I like the take that you can still learn from something when you disagree with parts, though. I think that’s something lots of… Read more »

Adam
Adam
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

You point out how many percent of small businesses fail (50%). However, there are a lot of small business owners who want to start a business without much thought or intelligence. Some start a business because they don’t want to take a regular job or they want to be their own boss. I am amazed at some people that I know personally when they go into business. Hey Mark, 50% fail; but also note that 50% succeed. The glass seems to be half full to me!

Aimee
Aimee
13 years ago

We actually just got this book for free (just shipping) from her company. They sent us a direct mailing. Anyway, as soon as we ordered the book we got a phone call about “coaching”. They wanted to interview us to see if we qualified to be coached by her special team of wealth builders. So yes, you hit the nail on the head when you said the book seemed to be promoting something. This coaching comes at the hefty price of $5,000 to $23,000 depending on how quickly you want to become a millionaire. Needless to say we didn’t bite.… Read more »

moneymonk
moneymonk
13 years ago

She warns that it’s a poor idea to “look pretty and stay poor”. I agree with that 100%. For as taking out equity to buy real estate is smart. But its always not guaranteed to make a profit. I know people that did this and now is stuck with two mortgages to pay and in debt. Real estate does not always work in a profit. Depending on location you can very much go into debt. And once in debt, you triple what you owe—-you owe money on your primary home, home equity loan AND the second home. Real Estate is… Read more »

Mark Hilbrink
Mark Hilbrink
13 years ago

Hi All, I’ve read these 12 comments on LL — and though most of you sound somewhat cynical/suspicious, you also have some good common-sense stmts. However, I did want to point out that one thing she (and most of the rest of the RE “gurus”) points out that in getting one’s “team” in place, one of the team members would be one who lends their venture capital — i.e., this is the concept of using “OPM” — Other People’s Money. You *don’t* have to get a home equity loan, or make risky uses of your own money! I think the… Read more »

Jim Dinklage
Jim Dinklage
12 years ago

We purchased the Langemeier program and set in on one session. Decided the program was not what we wanted to be involved in. Asked for a portion of our money back and were refused. Any suggestion or where we might find advice?

Thanks

Jim

Tea
Tea
11 years ago

I would like to hear from someone that has accually been through one of Lanemeier programs, what was your outcome?

Theory
Theory
11 years ago

I picked up this book at a thrift store last week and I’ve been working my way through it. Overall I find the information very useful (I don’t think I hated the car section quite as much as you did), but I agree about the way it’s written. It feels like a textbook – luckily it’s on a subject I find interesting. Still I can’t read very much of it at a time. Also you have an ad on here that seems unfit for the site (I know you get these a lot, so I’m just bringing it to your… Read more »

Theory
Theory
11 years ago

Turns out I left this comment on the completely wrong article. I was referring to “The Millionaire Next Door”, this article:
https://www.getrichslowly.org/book-review-the-millionaire-next-door/

Sorry about that! /o\

tom
tom
9 years ago

I m the person who has very few assets, limited skills , but is looking for a way up. To add to my hurdles to overcome I have a wife that has MS. I was hoping that this would work,it’s my last chance. I also have questions such as establishing a expert team.How does the average person with no contacts do that?

Mike
Mike
7 years ago
Reply to  tom

Tom,
Wow, I am sorry for your situation. You do not need to have contacts, they are all there, you need to go make contacts. You can do it cold through linkedin, or go through people you know, no matter how casually and ask them for contatcs they know. Go see your local SCORE people (retired businessmen than help others). There really are a lot of resources available. If you find a good business idea/plan-there is money out there. Also check out crowdsourcing, like Indego and Kickstarter for money-basically donations to help your start your business.
Good luck,
Mike

Manster
Manster
9 years ago

I have been a small business owner for over 30 years with successful businesses and failed businesses.I read all books on that I feel can help me and my success. There is not one book that is the final word, just learn from all off them. The best thing i ever did was to take an accounting course what an eye opener. I have just ordered the Millionaire Maker looking forward to it.

Jamie
Jamie
7 years ago

I thought the book was great. Although business can be very complicated and risky she signifies planning and “sequencing” (the order you do things) are highly important. You will always reduce risk with a good plan. LIFE IS A CRAPSHOOT ANYWAYS! While the book did not always apply to me or my current situation but you must discern what will be valuable to you and what simply doesn’t apply. Do what you love and love what you do. Get people around you that are better than you and put their knowledge and skills to work for you. Also note that… Read more »

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