This review originally appeared in Real Estate investor’s Monthly.
A number of readers asked for my opinion on Loral Langemeier, so I asked readers to give me a copy of her book and one did.
Loral Langemeier is a woman. Few real estate investment gurus are. One hopes that maybe a woman’s perspective might be a welcome addition to the field. Not this woman’s.
The book is a brochure that gives few answers and mainly teases with possibilities and how easy it is to get rich quickly if only you sign up for Langemeier’s “Wealth Cycle Process.”
It appears that Langemeier’s starting point is to tell readers all the myths that laymen want to believe and already are on the verge of believing. She imparts her own spin to it all by creating cutesy names for stuff that already has a name. For example, what the rest of the world calls “saving” becomes “Wealth Account Priority Payment” in Langemeier’s world.
The hype that should scare away readers starts on the coverwords like millionaire, wealthy, best seller, and endorsements from other hypesters like Mark Victor Hansen (One Minute Millionaire) and T. Harv Ecker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind).
Isn’t hype just marketing? No. It’s dishonest. The education program that has created the most wealth in its graduates is probably my alma mater Harvard Business School. Do they talk about millionaires or wealthy or secrets or any of that? Nope, just marketing, human behavior in organizations, production, and so forth.
Langemeier’s book is a compendium of all the laymen myths about wealthpresented as truth. One is the notion that “the wealthy” think differently. I know a lot of wealthy people as a Harvard MBA, husband of a Harvard MBA from the class behind me, and as an author who writes primarily for wealthy investors (relatively few of my readers are beginners).
“The wealthy” are individuals. They do not all think alike. Some don’t think much differently from the non-wealthy although they are obviously more entrepreneurial and driven. Langemeier and her ilk would have you believe that by simply thinking like her mythic, monolithic “wealthy,” you will become wealthy.
Like all the TV infomercials, Langemeier says her teaching will work with “anyone, anywhere” regardless of income, credit, etc. This is obvious nonsense. I have spent almost my entire post-high-school life either being taught by the best at West Point and Harvard or as a how-to author and coach of 35 athletic teams. As an author, I talk to my “students” on a daily basis and have for decades.
As I have said before in these pages, and as most people know intuitively, an ounce of recruiting is worth a pound of coaching. That is, the quality of the student is more determinative of success than the identity or methods of the teacher or coach. Good teachers, authors and coaches add value, but they add the most value to the most educable or coachable and talented students or players. They can add little or no value to the worst students or players.
Some of the best football coaches, like Vince Lombardi and Bill Walsh, were famous for winning with relatively mediocre talent, but they never said they could turn “anyone, anywhere” into Super Bowl champs. Harvard Business School did not accomplish what it has with randomly-chosen students.
Like the other bad gurus, Langemeier says you need a team of expert advisers. Typically, she has some cutesy name for it. I surmise they do this because the laymen already believe it and want to believe it because they are scared and want someone to hold their hand.
There is also a myth that an ordinary schlep can transmute himself into a superstar overnight merely by hiring a team of superstar advisers.
For one thing, you have to have a lot of knowledge to figure out who the best advisers are. For another, the best advisers are generally not interested in working with low-budget or no-budget novices. In my experience, you generally do not need such a team. I never had one. I have consulted various more knowledgeable people in my life, but only on an ad hoc basis for special stuff. I never had a lawyer or accountant or any of that on a continuous basis. It is more of a beginner affectation. Finally, you cannot afford the best until you have enough success to pay them.
Another myth that Langemeier encourages big time is the notion that entities like corporations or LLCs protect your assets and reduce or eliminate your taxes. Like Rich Dad Poor Dad, she encourages the belief that entities can deduct routine business expenses and that sole proprietors cannot. That is false.
She makes no mention of the disadvantages of entities like their costs, inability to act as your own attorney, and sometimes cumbersome nature. She admits to the double taxation of C corporations, but in the same paragraph touts their lower tax rates than individuals. How mindless! That lower tax rate is in addition to the individual tax rate paid when money is taken out of the corporation. Even if it were just 1%, it’s still overall higher than a sole proprietor would pay on the same income.
Finally, Langemeier encourages the notion that all of the unpleasant details of running a business can easily be put off on employees. Of course, those employees are also superstars like the team of advisers. In fact, recruiting, training, and retaining good employees and screening out or firing bad ones is extremely difficult and time-consuming work. And no matter how good you are at hiring, you still need to be the main person in your company in the company’s core activities.