The introduction of The Maui Millionaires by David Finkel and Diane Kennedy, CPA read like a sales pitch. This turned me off immediately. I felt like I was sitting in one of those free seminars with one of those energetic, motivational speakers, whose goal was nothing more than to sell me some abstract concepts and more future seminars. Seminars, like this book’s introduction, are all about the “up-sell.” If I were to give in, this would be quite expensive…
In this case, they authors want me to drop $30,000 on a retreat at which I can network with other businesspeople who follow the techniques mentioned in the book. I was happy to finish the completely unnecessary, self-congratulatory introduction and move on to the meat.
Like most wealth programs, this book starts out with a first step of changing mindset. I do agree that if you want extraordinary results from your life, you have to be able to conceive extraordinary ideas. The other part of changing mindset is reconditioning, in which ideas are repeated until they become part of a person’s inherent philosophy. The Maui Millionaires approach reconditioning as “upgrading your wealth operating system.” This is the first of several metaphors I enjoyed throughout the book, although I could do without the trademark symbol (™) which appeared after every Clever Phrase™.
The book contains mental exercises in every chapter, and the authors claim that the exercises must be completed in order to receive the full benefit of the text. There are frequent references to the book’s website, where the reader can complete the exercises online and access other “special offers.”
Here are the six steps to the “fourth dimension of wealth,” detailed in the book.
Step 1. Upgrade your wealth operating system. As I mentioned before, this is the step in which one begins thinking differently about wealth. It’s not a bad thing to have money. During this step, the prospective Maui Millionaire rids the brain of negative thoughts that stand in the way of success.
Step 2. Dream big. As we’re busy with life, trying to make a living, it’s easy to forget about the big dreams. The authors have seven categories of dreams: health, financial, relationship, self-development, adventure, spirituality, and sharing. The message is that your big dreams are attainable, if you follow the authors’ advice.
Step 3. Mastermind your way to millions. The Maui Millionaires is all about networking, especially at the $30,000 retreats. The authors suggest associating reguarly with a group of like-minded individuals who can function as mentors to and with each other.
Step 4. Build level three wealth and enjoy a Maui lifestyle. What does this mean? Well, Level Three Wealth is the state of being financially free and being able to pay for an extraordinary life through truly passive income. This is the promise that pulls people in.
Step 5. Tap into Maui giving to create a legacy. Giving and social responsibility is a big part of the authors’ philosophy, and I like that. A major reason Maui Millionaires desire to increase their personal wealth is to have more to give away. What I really like is the authors’ ability to speak about responsibility to give back to the community without evoking religion-based beliefs. Some examples they provide involve church, but divine declaration is not cited as a reason for sharing wealth with the world.
Step 6. Connect with the Maui wealth-building community. The last step is awarded the shortest section of the book, because it is nothing more than the instruction to pay $30,000 to register for the Maui Millionaire wealth retreat.
If you get past the “sell, sell, sell” attitude of the book, you will find some quality pieces of advice. I particularly like some of the ratios they describe to be used for evaluating your financial position. Beyond measuring just net worth and income, they authors introduce the trademarked R-Score, an individual’s net passive income divided by total net worth. For example, if you have a net worth of $500,000 and you generate $10,000 in passive income each year, your R-Score&treade is 2%. They also stress the importance of trending; you want that R-Score™ to increase each year.
Obviously, this is just a measurement device, and not an actual suggestion for establishing passive income. The book is a little short on practical money-making techniques, relying heavily on mindset and networking. Examples from several self-professed Maui Millionaires are peppered throughout the book, and most of their wealth comes from real estate, as one would guess.
The Maui Millionaires claims to allow the reader to “discover the secrets behind the world’s most exclusive wealth retreat and become financially free.” The book likely covers the basics of the $30,000 retreat, but doesn’t capture the important part, the networking and mentoring. It is a huge advantage to be able to surround yourself with like-minded people when you’re involved in any endeavor. The price tag is a bit hefty in this case.
I’d like to see how many retreat attendees end up not becoming wealthy by their own description. $30,000 is a big investment for most people, and is a lot to spend on a dream without any real guarantees. It seems to me the money making scheme here isn’t what is in the book, but it is the book and seminar.
If you’re interested in seeing what’s inside the book for yourself, stay tuned. I’ll be giving away my copy in the next few days.
Updated March 13, 2011 and originally published January 17, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.