CNBC’s The Millionaire Inside: Battle Of The Get-Rich Guru Soundbites

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Is it just me, or is CNBC TV becoming the financial network for those with 18-second attention spans? (Not that I’m not in their target audience!) Last night, I happened to catch their new series called The Millionaire Inside, which is supposed to bring together today’s “top money mentors” and share their secrets to success. The first episode, Your Guide To Wealth, included the following guests:

Even though I’ve never even heard of the last two, I actually had some hopes for this show… but after watching it I was completely underwhelmed. It was 30 minutes of each guru taking turns rehashing their same, old, vague sound-bites as to how to become a millionaire. In fact, the only amusing part was when Phil Town bashed real estate as a stupid investment compared to stocks, and the real estate folks started to get whipped in a tizzy. Here’s are the rest of my episode notes:

David Bach says:
– You can’t get rich with a budget. (How helpful!)
– Pay yourself first, make it automaticTM
– Buy a home as soon as possible, don’t rent.

Phil Town says:
– 15% annual return in stocks can be achieved with 15 minutes of research a week.
– Buy companies you know, when they are “on sale”.
– Rule #1 is “Don’t lose money”
– Don’t buy real estate, buy REITs instead

Loral Langemeier says:
– Be your own boss
– Make your own “cash machine” by starting your own business
– It’s okay to straddle, or keep your own job for a while.

Barbara Corcoran says:
– The shortcut to wealth is real estate
– Now is the perfect time to buy real estate, when everyone is unsure
– Set a goal to buy your 1st investment property in 6 months

Motivational? A little bit. Good advice? Some of it is, some of it is highly questionable. Vague? Nebulous? Oversimplified? YES.

Maybe the next few episodes will actually provide something actually practical or actionable, but I’m not holding my breath. If you don’t get CNBC, you can also download it for free on iTunes (search for “Millionaire Inside” or try this link.).

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  1. Joseph Sangl says

    My thoughts exactly! When I saw this, I too had hopes. They were quickly dashed and it quickly became Phil Town yelling louder than anyone else and winning over the audience with such life-changing thoughts as “don’t lose money” and “buy stocks on sale”.

    Wow, thanks Phil!

  2. JTMurdock says

    Pretty much the same. It was like watching a presidential debate by people wanting to take your money even more then the real presidential candidates.

  3. I try not to judge CNBC by what they air after 5 pm. It’s a completely different network.

  4. They certainly make it sound easy, but a lot of the comments seem downright dangerous – lots of people have lost their shirts in real estate and in stocks. I’m sure plenty of people regret investing New Century Financial – Enron’s another example. Real estate is no sure bet either – it takes a lot of attention to detail and research. To give advice in such simplistic terms is misleading and rather disingenuous.

  5. I did not see the show, but I totally hear you. TV shows, by definition, target a large audience. And large audience is, unfortunately, lazy and not very bright. The median income of a man at 30 years is $35K… The median net worth at 30 years is $1K. Now, imagine that HALF of these people earns even less, and has even lower net worth. Of course they want to hear “how I can get rich without doing any work” crap. And that’s exactly what television feeds them. TV, by nature, can not be “elitist” medium. Blogs, on the other hand, can. 😉

  6. Everything on CNBC is entertainment; that is, you can find it entertaining if you see the hilarity in it all. Taking any of the sound-bites as useful information can be dangerous to your wealth. The constant yakyakyak simply greases the slide down from investing to gambling.

  7. Yeah, Phil Town was annoying.

  8. Tom Cort says

    I saw the part of the show with Phil Town; it was all fluff and appeared to be aimed at the novice investor. He just kept saying… “Buy companies you know, when they’re on sale.” That is just common sense. Who in their right mind would invest in a company with an inflated stock price that he/she knows nothing about? Knowing about a company’s products is one thing, but investors _have_ to research the company’s business and financial situation as well. Phil also never explained to people how to determine if a stock is “on sale” or not. I think the target audience for the show would be better served by a simple ETF portfolio (50% SPY, 30% EFA, 20% AGG) or a no-load low expense ratio target date mutual fund.

  9. I don’t know about the 5pm mark. I watch On The Money, Fast Money, and Closing Bell as well when I’m bored and much of it is just low-level market commentary. Will it keep going up? or down? or sideways? Half the time the analysts (both “experts”) don’t even agree and are arguing both sides.

    However, it is somewhat entertaining, and that’s how I treat it. I can only hope everyone else does the same.

  10. Thanks for a quick summary of each expert (I’d only read Bach), so now you’ve saved me money on buying more books (or taking a trip to the library). Love your blog.

  11. This was one of the worst “shows” I’ve seen in quite some time. I watched only 15 or 20 minutes of it because it reminded me too much of the good ole infomercial. To tell you the truth, it screamed Carlton Sheets-esque get rich quick scheming. I don’t have much respect for Bach or Corcoran (those are the only two I knew), but after that shenanigan, I have no respect.

  12. Wait, you really had high hopes that you’d learn something concrete on the TV show titled “The Millionaire Inside”? Really now? Seriously?!?!

    I’m probably a little jaded, but I haven’t really seen a magic bullet yet. A lot of people talk in vague generalities. I suppose it’s necessary because there’s no definitive way to get rich.

  13. Lazy – Well, the key, as with most financial articles/books/magazines, is to strain out the good stuff from it all. But this show was just regurgitation, if they actually prepared some new content there might be something for me to sift through 🙂

  14. JTMurdock says

    What they needed to do was get in people that aren’t so used to being on TV. Every one of them has been in front of camera more then not.

  15. Wow:
    ?Buy companies you know, when they?re on sale.?

    I’m going to go one step further than Tom Cort. This isn’t just common sense, it’s outright bad advice.

    The value of a stock is a demontstration of the collected knowledge of its investors. Knowing that a stock is “on sale” means that you “know more” than other investors, it means that you have an edge. It means that somehow you “know more” than people who spend 40-60 hours/week researching stocks.

    Yeah, great advice there, he’s basically saying buy low / sell high.

  16. oh boy… I must be stupid to post this comment here… but I can’t help it :)… well, I am a fan of Phil Town. After reading about 10 books on stock investment, I started to agree with Phil Town on some of his ideas. Find a company that you like and continuously do research and follow the company. To be safe, this company prefers to be well established, and profitable every year. Or just simply put, make sure this company will not go out of business in the next 10 years. Every stock has fluctuation. Just buy when it comes down and sell when it goes back up. As long as this company is profitable, the stock price will go back up. (this is the fundamental assumption) Of course, there are tools to tell you when it is time to buy and when it is time to sell…. After saying all that, I would totally recommend index funds to all of my friends… 🙂

  17. I saw the show. It blew and that Phil Town guy was downright annoying. He even took a moment to cop a cheap feel on an audience member. The arrogance. The lack of professionalism.
    “Buy what you love on sale.” No PE advice, no valuation clarification. Just “buy on sale.” hmmmm…. Great. Thanks Phil. I’ll be sure not to buy any of your books. In fact, I’ll be sure to avoid any more CNBC programs with you on it.

  18. Would love to see them redo this show with folks like

    Jack Bogle
    William Bernstein
    Larry Swedroe
    Burton Malkiel
    Jonathan Clements
    Jason Zweig

    But then it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining… but at least the advice would be good.

  19. I saw this show last night…what a joke!!!

    The host acted more like a cheerleader, the speakers knew nothing about wealth (they knew generalities and pyscho babble though)…the whole thing looked like a sleezy infomercial.

    The thing I don’t understand about these “wealth shows” is why all the pyscho babble. Why the emphasis on “doing something”, saving, investing, real estate.?

    You don’t have to do something all the time to make money…avoiding big mistakes is just as crucial. Stay out of investment manias, scams. Who cares if you’re investing in stocks. If you’ve got $50,000 making 10% a year, that’s $5,000 a year. But you might be losing half that amount if you dont have much sales resistance and you get sucked into “upsells” and stuff you dont need.

    I dont think I’ve ever heard any of these “wealth experts” talk about a common trap people fall into…penny wise, pound foolish thinking. Clipping coupons and recycling cans when they’ve got a second mortgage or they owe a fortune on something else.

    Alot of wealth is pyschology, what you grew up with, what your parents think about money, etc. “Stocks, real estate” doesn’t mean anything.

  20. The latest “Debt” edition of the show was much better — mostly responsible (but predictable) answers — pay yourself first, get a handle on excess consumption, etc. Even Kiyosaki didn’t make a total ass of himself.

    Contrast this with the first show, where you got wisdom like “401Ks are for suckers”, and they praised the guy who cashed in his 401K (after retirement) and loaded up on a single small cap stock gamble.

  21. Barry Salmar says

    Just saw a replay. Everything posted above is right on the money. This is all sales gimmickry. Notice Phil never reveals how to obtain 15% returns. He wants you to buy his book, then pay more and more for continuing education and leadership. It never ends. The subscription business is designed to provide Phil with a continuing revenue stream – namely, your money. It’s all hype.

  22. Lowell Stern says

    Their secret is really exactly what they do…sell books, hold seminars and sell a useless tv show…I didn’t hear any ‘what to do to get started’ or where to get the big idea…boo on them all.

  23. Guess you all have it down already…..I just saw it this morning for the first time. I’ve always heard if you can take one thing away it was worth it….for the novice, I have to say it was inspirational, better than sitting and watching E and what celebrities are doing on a daily basis! I’ll take any steps and info I can take to be a successful single parent and become debt free and living the good life! I guess you all already have it! There are many mentors and maybe down the road this will seem like kindergarden to me too! I took few notes here and there……if not, to remember where you once were and or where you want to be now.
    Blessings…. Cindy

  24. Isn’t it possible Phil doesn’t tell you how to get 15% returns on the show because he has to share his stage time with 3 other people? I’ve read the book – it’s detailed. You’d never be able to get the whole process of crunching numbers and doing research across in under 3 minutes of talk time. Not defending him per se, just saying, it’s an introductory show aimed at people who are just getting their feet wet with this stuff. You can’t expect 4 people to share 1 hour and 1 stage and still each get their points across completely.

  25. Well… I am a fan of Phil Town and I’m very happy with what he is teaching. He has a new show coming out on CNBC that will definitely start to get some attention. It was taped last night at CNBC in Jersey. The dude is legit. His book is detailed and if you read enough into the book and his website you will learn his methods and understand his philosophy. It isn’t just about buying low and selling high. It’s knowing the actual value of the business before you buy and know when you are buying a business for half off. The thing is… some people will get it… others never will… sounds like many of you didn’t. As Zig Ziglar has said, “Formal education will make you a living. Self education will make you a fortune.” Start thinking on your own and learning by yourself and you will turn that corner. I’m up 83% on my portfolio using his Phils methods and his protege Graham in only 3 months. I suggest you all think again.

  26. I thought Phil’s advice was the best. Bach was just paraphrasing The Richest Man in Babylon and Corcoran didn’t say anything new or helpful at all except that now is a good time to buy because it’s an “in between” market. Hunh? It’s always a good time to buy if you get a good deal in my opinion. Loral didn’t really get a chance to talk about her “cash machine” idea but her point about getting help is well taken if difficult to do. I probably will buy Phil’s book – or at least check it out at the library.

    I’m looking forward to future shows in this series. I hope they take Mike’s advice and bring on some heavyweights. Maybe if they just have two at a time they can get more indepth? Maybe one at a time?

  27. ok we got that settled these people suck. now where is the alternative?
    i think in a way you guys are just as bad. a rehash of how things sucked!

    now where does a guy go to get what he needs to change his life around and i am asking cuz i dont know.

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