My Thoughts on “The Millionaire Inside: Debt-Free”

Okay, here’s my report on tonight’s episode of The Millionaire Inside: Debt Free. I missed the first segment of the show because I was outside. Anyway, I turned the TV on to hear Larry Winget talking about how responsible people pay their bills and honor their contracts. I don’t know what that was in reference to but I LIKED WHAT I HEARD!

Robert Kiyosaki was surprisingly quiet during most of the show, which probably was a good thing. One of the things Kiyosaki said when he did talk was something to the effect that all debt is bad debt if you have to pay it back yourself. Huh? Of course he didn’t elaborate on that so I really don’t know what he was talking about unless he was referring to becoming a land lord and having renters pay your mortgage for you.

David Bach and Jennifer Openshaw did most of the talking. No one really offered anything earth-shattering or new. It was pretty much all the standard stuff like:

  • Pay off your credit cards
  • When paying off your credit cards (or any debt for that matter), call to get your interest rate reduced.
  • You have no business buying lattes if you don’t have health insurance.

The award for one of the dumbest pieces of advice went to Jennifer when she said:

She would rather see you buy ONE pair of $200 jeans (if they’ll make you happy and you’ll wear them) instead of buying 10 $20 pairs that you won’t wear. Dumb!

One guy in the audience asked about debt consolidation and Robert Kiyosaki didn’t answer his question. He basically told him that he needed to figure that out for himself. Jennifer finally said that she would rather see the guy double up on his payments rather than go with a debt consolidation loan. Again, I agree with that. For the most part debt consolidation will do nothing but move debt around and make you feel like you are doing something when you actually aren’t. David reminded the audience to watch out for debt consolidation rip-offs, of which there are many.

Overall, I suppose if you knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about debt, the show might be useful to you. For everyone else it was a waste of time. That said, i t wasn’t nearly as silly as the last episode.

24 thoughts on “My Thoughts on “The Millionaire Inside: Debt-Free””

  1. >>”She would rather see you buy ONE pair of $200 jeans (if they’ll make you happy and you’ll wear them) instead of buying 10 $20 pairs that you won’t wear. Dumb!”

    I read this statement over and over again. Pardon me, but why is this dumb? Given a choice between an expensive pair of jeans that I wear, and 10 pairs of jeans that I don’t wear, wouldn’t it be sensible to pick the former?

    It’s better to pay too much for something that you’ll use, then picking up a bargain on something that will hide in the closet.

  2. What’s so dumb about buying those jeans?

    I’ve been slowly convincing my wife that buying more expensive items of clothing (& less of them) – that are better quality, (look better, feel better, last *much* longer) is better than crappy, cheap and frequent.

  3. I agree, even though $200 is a bit steep, if you wear them and not the others, they actually have some value where the others don’t.

  4. I tend to be a “quality & rare” versus “cheap junk” person too. In our case, to keep beer from becoming a “habit”, I stick to expensive microbrews with handcrafted taste, and avoid “party” beer. Ice cream is another item on this list; we only eat it every two weeks, so we eat high-quality – and expensive – brands and avoid the gallons of passable, but extremely fattening and cheap ice cream at the store.

    Her point about jeans is that there are people who buy lots of cheap clothes at sales that they rarely wear, but feel are too cheap to pass up. Of course, people do this with expensive clothes too…

  5. If someone is in debt then it would be dumb to buy $200 jeans. Nor is it smart to buy cheap jeans. Surely one can find jeans at a mid-price range that are of good quality and still attractive. The reason that many are in debt is that they are using poor judgment and purchasing over priced designer goods. One is not buying quality at these high prices, but name.

  6. I agree with Jennifer on the jeans. I have dozens of pairs of jeans, but my favorites are ones that I spent quite a bit of money on almost five years ago. Granted, I can’t wear them now because I’m pregnant, but guess which ones I’ll be trying to get back into 🙂

    Cheap jeans are usually too trendy or don’t fit well after repeated washings. Give me 1-2 GOOD pairs of jeans any day.

  7. The best thing about that show is that it gives hope to millions of Americans because it proves you can be a complete moron and still be rich.

  8. I guess I thought it was a dumb statement because it seems silly to me to spend $200 on a pair of jeans. They’re jeans. Sure, if you buy a really cheap pair of jeans, they will look cheap. However, you can find jeans in the $50 price range that will look just fine and you can apply the other $150 to getting out of debt. Besides, women look better in Levis anyway.

  9. I caught about half an hour or so of this show. This is my first time watching it. I really liked the sensible and excellent advice by Bach and the dude with the scissors cutting the credit cards had very good debt advice (and really liked the act with the scissors). Other than that, I found RK to be out there as usual and Jennifer hit or miss.

    Did you guys catch a guy in his 50s or early 60s asking a question wondering why, after following RK’s advice to take risks and borrow (mostly from credit cards) to go buy real estate, he is not making any progress at all? I could not stop shaking my head….Dude, stop borrowing at over 20% for crying out loud! Just tragic the pain that these guys can inflict on unsophisticated consumers!

  10. This show really annoyed me. The random applause at comments that we’re not particularly meaningful (call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate – *clap* *clap* *clap* – pay off your credit cards – *clap* *clap* *clap*.) It felt & sounded like an infomercial except you couldn’t figure out what they were selling.

    The part where I rolled my eyes so hard that R.K. must have felt it, is when he pulled out his American Express Black card, kissed it, and said, “I LOVE my credit card.” And as if that weren’t bad enough, the host has the nerve to call attention to it and ask, “Oh, is that a black credit card?”

    Larry was the best – I wish he’d said more.

  11. JLP:

    Well I wouldn’t spend $200 on jeans either. However the real point of what she was saying was that it is better to figure out what you truly want/need, and then buy a single top quality item to fulfill that need instead of going out and buying lots of cheap crap to fill the void inside. Don’t get too caught up in her literal example.

    I do this sort of thing all the time, especially with shoes (no I don’t rival Imelda Marcos). My take on it though is I’d rather pay $60-100 for a pair of shoes that will last me a while and take care of my feet than buy 2-3 pairs of payless/walmart type shoes that don’t last and give me foot problems. I never have more than 5 pairs of shoes at any one time (1 casual/dressy loafer, 1 dressy flat, 1 casual athletic shoe, 2 pairs of sandals) but I spend $60-$100 a pair. But I don’t buy clothing regularly either — I evaluate once per summer and once per winter what I need to replace and that’s all I replace.

    So you know — you could still make the case by saying it’s better to go buy that $50 pair of Levis instead of trucking on down to Walmart and buying 2-3 pairs of their latest cheap trashy jeans.


    P.S. — and yes you were right, what RK was saying was any debt he had to pay himself was bad, including the mortgage, if he couldn’t work out a way for somebody else to be paying it for him.

    Have you ever caught Larry Winget’s show? It’s really pretty cool for reality tv (which I usually hate). He takes on a case of extreme debt and digs into the problem. The show I caught featured a woman that had charged over $75,000 in clothing/shoes and had so much in her closets more than half of it had never been worn. (Nor did she have a realistic idea of how much she’d really spent.)

  12. You got to realize that this show’s audience probably isn’t the same as the group that visits this and similiar sites. Sure, I didn’t learn anything new, but it did remind me to do some things. For one, the credit card rates. I have zero CC debt, but i still have cards with 15%+ rates on them. It wouldn’t hurt to drop them just in case something terrible happens.

    All these people have books, etc. that they would like you to buy – that’s what they are selling. Want to save yourself money? Go to your library and check them out.

    The black card thing was pretty bad, but I really do love my CC. I’ve gotten free plane tickets, hundreds of dollars of credit, and gift cards for free buy using them for everything and paying the balance off. I love how if i lose it, they’ll send out a new one next day. I love how i’m not responsible for erroneous and fraudulent charges (just happened).

    I’ve got Larry’s books on reserve at the library now and I really like bach and his common sense approach to saving. Haven’t read any Robert K. stuff and from what i know that’s a good thing. i have no clue who Jennifer is.

    One last note i have to say is that this show is great for my wife. Not because they say things I haven’t already said, but because i’m not saying it 🙂

  13. i agree, the $200 jeans I just don’t get why it’s dumb. The statement wasn’t focusing on the cost of the jeans per se, it really doesn’t matter what the jeans cost. What matters is, get stuff that you are going to get use out of rather than buying crap that you will never use. if you buy 10 $20 things that you never use, then you have just thrown away $200. it could have been anything, and it doesn’t matter what it cost. i could buy 10 pencils for 5cents a piece and never use them, and that would be a waste of money.

  14. BTW, to follow up, Larry Winget’s show is called “Big Spender”. I haven’t caught in quite a long time simply because it is on A&E and I slashed my cable to the bone so I don’t get that anymore.

    And overall I agree with JLP that this Millionaire Inside isn’t a very meaty show unless you’re a total financial newbie. It also registered with me that this show has preempted Suze Orman on MSNBC (which for some reason I still get even after slashing my cable). I liked the Suze Orman show better whenever I’d catch it.



  15. Yeah caught the show for the first time yesterday. I think it actually made my financial IQ go down a few points just by watching it. First off….RK is an IDIOT, I couldnt even finish reading his Rich DAD Poor DAD book…It had NO substance whatsoever…all it talked about was using credit to make money, but never really explained how. Thats why I love Dave Ramsey, his book doesn’t contain fluff, he actually tells you what to do and how to do it. But back to RK, WHY would he spend an hour talking about how bad debt is, just ot pull out a “black” credit card? Also, I never heard of Larry, but he was pretty cool…Jennifer had a REALLY big mouth…literally. 🙂 B

  16. The whole whipping out the black card was horrible. And I was getting really irritated of him constantly saying “my rich dad taught me…” WE GET IT, YOU WROTE A BOOK ABOUT IT.

    And I couldn’t stand looking at Jennifer. She either has a lot of botox in her face or she is just trained to look fake no matter what she’s saying.

  17. I didn’t watch the show, but yes RK is referring to mortgages on rental properties. It’s not necessarily limited to that, but that’s the typical way of doing it. You could also apply the same theory to getting a loan for a business that you would own and let other people run (e.g. a franchise). Or getting a car loan under the auspices of your business or corporation, where the interest is deductible and the principal is depreciable. Since your business is making money (presumably coming from other people) it is the same type of scenario.

    But what if you have a job? Couldn’t you play the same semantic game and say that your employer is paying your mortgage, car loan, etc. for you? No, not really. The distinction between “your money” and “other people’s money” comes at tax time. Is it before-tax income or after-tax income? If you have a W2 job, your money is taxed before it ever gets to you. If you own a business, you pay for business expenses *before* taxes are taken out.

  18. “The part where I rolled my eyes so hard that R.K. must have felt it, is when he pulled out his American Express Black card, kissed it, and said, “I LOVE my credit card.” And as if that weren’t bad enough, the host has the nerve to call attention to it and ask, “Oh, is that a black credit card?””

    I had never heard of the black card before so I googled it. Turns out that it is offerred to AMEX customers who had over $250,000 in purchases the prior year on their American Express card. Its annual fee is several thousand dollars.

    A black card is the last thing anyone struggling with debt should even think about obtaining. Yet there is RK holding his out as a symbol of status. Precisely the type of mindset that people struggling with debt need to avoid.

  19. I wonder how RK manages to get others to pay the annual fee on his black card then?

    Thanks, but I’ll stick to a card that has no annual fee. And — $250K in credit card purchases in a year?


  20. Larry was the best– he was straight to the point.
    RK said good debt is good when other people pay it back. Whatever.

    For as Jennifer comment, I think she use jeans to make a point about quality. No sense going through $20 pairs of jeans to fade or have the inseam come loose. Just get one pair that will last forever.

    DB made a good comment towards debt CON services.

    Overall, CCs are not meant for everyone to have. CC companies are in business to make money. Like Sharon Epperson said.

    I guess if you are already a PFblogger. The show did not give you a WOW factor. But for beginners, it was an OK show.

  21. I doubt RK has to pay the annual fee on the black card. And I’d bet he gets paid by AMX very time he mentions and/or shows his black card on TV.

    The guy may be a PF moron, but you have to grant that he is an entertainment/marketing genius.

  22. I found the show a bit boring overall, but then I usually watch shows about debt strictly for the entertainment value – good for the self-esteem. The parts when they were listing expensive toys people buy were funny. A $2000 lawn mower they mentioned reminded me of a $2000 vacuum cleaner a wife of a former co-worker bought because “the visiting salesman looked nice” while “forgetting” to pay their mortgage for a few months with all-too-predictable results.

    I took $200 jeans idea much the same way as some posters above – it’s better to buy one quality item that you use rather than 20 that you don’t. I thought the idea was that people often buy things indiscriminantly just because they are “on sale”, so they might end up spending more than $200 and buy a lot of stuff they don’t really need.

    I took his “I love my credit card” comment to mean that credit cards in themselves aren’t the problem – people’s spending habits are. I bet he pays his bills in full every month. I love my credit card too, and I’ve never paid a penny in interest. I missed “it is black” comment because I’d never heard of “black” credit cards until I read about them on one of the blogs yesterday. Wonder how many of the viewers understood the reference.

  23. Just to add in my two cents here…I do agree to always buy the best of what you can afford and in “theory” I see that buying a $200 pair of jeans over 10 pairs of garbage ones is a better bet, but it’s flat out not solid advice on a debt show. It’s a show on debt and how we, as Americans, spend more money than we have and the thread that runs through that comment is to not cut spending?

    Guys and gals, it was a show on DEBT and one of the speakers is suggesting $200 pairs of jeans are ‘OK’.

    Again, I understand you need to buy the best you can afford, but how about her saying to buy a $100 pair of jeans [still ridiculously expensive] and apply the rest to her debt or throw that extra $100 into the Roth? Where is that type of advice?

    And Robert K. kissing his ‘black’ American Express card on a DEBT SHOW is tacky and classless. That card is for folks that charge hundreds of thousands of dollars and this tool kisses the thing?

    In short, this is the second show in this series and I hope they aren’t paying these speakers all that much for their time, because it really is a waste of time with very little actual tips to take home and apply and the whole kissing a ccredit card and not telling the viewers to cut back on spending when given a perfect example to do so is a farss.

  24. LOL — oh Luke.

    Luke really brings up a good point that this is supposed to be a show about getting debt free (right?) so what are we talking about $200 clothing purchases for? HAHA! While I’ve been getting out of debt I’ve had 2 pairs of $20 jeans that I’ve worn (to work no less) until the seats split out of them. Only then did I go buy a new pair. And I’ve gone for months with only a couple of pairs of sandals or shoes until I’ve worn holes to the ground. This year I relented and spent some money on clothing and shoes, but then again I’ve paid off close to $25K in debt in about 2 years too. Good call Luke.

    I didn’t even know there were $2000 lawn mowers. Hope it’s got a seat and a wheel.


    P.S. — I would have liked to see Dave Ramsey on the show.

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