Author Topic: No, I won't buy into your MLM  (Read 236046 times)

Joel

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1050 on: January 29, 2019, 11:44:02 PM »
Question...  knowing Amway (and other MLMs) are scams - how did that experience and what you learned about yourself help you retire "early"?  Certainly you didn't make any money with Amway.  What did you gain from that experience that helped?  Hoping this doesn't come across rude, but.... was it learning that losing money doesn't allow you to save money?  I'm genuinely interested in knowing how Amway allowed you to retire "early".

Fair enough questions and I fully expected these kind of MMM perspectives.  I'm not here to defend the MLM systems, but instead to provide my perspective on how I consider or 'rational' a positive from our experience.  And I readily acknowledge that my experience may not match others.

If there was only one road to finding the path to FIRE or happiness, then sadly most of use would be truly screwed.  I look at our Amway business period as one of many possible roads that I happened upon and chose to travel.  The Amway support system was a learning environment which was lacking in my life.  My AS, BS and MS with a Thesis certainly didn't teach me what I needed to do to reach FIRE.  8 years in nuclear submarines certainly didn't.  So lets talk about the experience and learning's that helped me.

It's true, financially we didn't get rich.  But we also didn't go broke or become desperate.  We had a great support system (up-line) who always put our needs before the business.  We 'learned' to budget and control our costs to allow us to participate in the program.  We had a great time going places, meeting new people, expanding our awareness of life around us and what was possible.  We 'learned' how to use the tax system work to our advantage and this in turn helped us to reduce our overall costs.  My records show that over our 9 year active Amway period, we spent ~$14,800 and brought in ~$4,000.  Hence a 'loss' of $10,800 over 9 yrs, or ~$1,200 yr.   And this was before any tax write offs.  To account for this loss, we adjusted vacation $$ to the business (and still got to travel), cut out cable extras, and 'learned' that we didn't need a new car every few years.  To our surprise, despite the business not making us millionaires overnight, our year to year finances were slowly improving.

And while 'learning' during these 9 years, we were encouraged by our support group (up-line) to ramp up our savings, both in retirement and non-retirement accounts.  This forced me to really 'learn' about my 401K plan, quickly realizing I was leaving money on the table, and that my investment selections were not optimal for our goals.  A vast amount of the funds we saved during these 9 yrs went a long way to our FIRE in 2015.

One very important thing we 'learned' from the Amway business was about ourselves.  I'll be honest, we were not in a good stable relationship.  Couples therapy was just one long drawn out agony, not to mention the cost (which was more that $1,200 a year sometimes).  And yes, it was tough trying to do the business and having marital issues.  Slowly we started seeing changes in ourselves, and how we valued each others support and input.  The time we spent together highlighted our faults but magnified our strengths and blessings.  We included our kids as much as possible in the business trips, and they grew and strengthened as we got our relationship shit together.  We recognized that we were blessed and worked hard to keep the positive improvements moving forward.  Bumps in the road (even now) are cushioned by what we 'learned' in the system.   The Amway support system came at the right time for us and we truly believe that without it, we would have divorced in a few short years.   Divorce can ruin many chances of FIRE, and I know of many divorced friends, family and co-workers who have to post-pone their retirement goals due to the financial impact that it creates.  Or as my wife likes to kid me now:  I was too cheap to get divorced!

Shortly after 9/11, our Amway business suffered, we lost some great up-line (support), and our heart just wasn't in it anymore.  We let the business limp on till around 2004 when we dropped out for good.  We actively  took what we had 'learned' about life, finances, dreams, and each other; and set new and exciting goals for ourselves.  The Amway business/support system was our School of Hard Knocks, and it only cost us $10,800 for both of us.  Compare that to a college degree these days.  So from 2002 until FIRE in 2015 (4 years ahead of schedule), we became mini-mustaches without even knowing about MMM (until later).

In retrospect,  from 1982 (married) to 1995 (joined Amway), we wasted/lost so much money from frequent bad new auto purchases, bad stock buys (get rich quick $5K Alaskan Apollo Gold Mines), over the top vacations, unnecessary luxury's (indoor hot tub), and poor retirement planning to name a few.  Easily $4-6K yr.  From 1995-2002 (active Amway period), we cut our expenses and only spent $1,400 yr investing in ourselves.  We also improved our savings, saved our marriage and despite the struggle, can look back fondly on the good times we had.  From 2002-2015, we became a lean mean saving machine.  And we still made time and $$ for fun things to build upon.  My wife was able to pursue her spiritual passion and became a pastor.  She attributes the Amway experience to giving her the belief in herself and strength to complete the process.  In 2015, the stars aligned and we went for it.  All the pre-planning paid off, and here we are 4 years later, still financially secure, healthy and enjoying our retirement and all that it offers.  It only took $10,800 of 'learning', 20 years of delayed gratification, and a lot of hard work.

Again, this was my path, my road to FIRE.  Your mileage and experiences may vary.  Would I do it again?  Knowing what I know now, no.  But how does one get to where they know what they know now without not knowing what they didn't know then?

I hope this reflection upon how I Amway'd, survived, and still FIRE'd provides the insight the dis-believers are seeking.  Please stay classy with your comments and rebukes.  And if you can't, at least include an emoji.  Either way, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And to add fire to the FIRE, my darling wife and I will be celebrating our 37th anniversary this Oct at Walt Disney World (our happy place) using our DVC timeshare (oh the horror...) at Bay Lake Towers and our Annual Pass (women and children passing out)!!  But....  before you flame me for such an anti-MMM frivolous spending behavior, I at least booked the lowest cost studio (very MMM) and the Annual Pass was bought 8 yrs ago (part of the plan) and has appreciated in value 79% so far (extreme MMM), which will make each park visit for our 30 days of visits at Disney only ~$14.40 per person (mind blown MMM).

PS - be sure to see the POMS movie with Diane Keaton this Mother's Day weekend.  It was filmed in the 55+ community where we live now in Georgia.  If the water volleyball footage makes it into the movie, I'm the one looking all buff and sexy! (and bald).



I just want to say kudos to you!

Beard N Bones

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1051 on: January 30, 2019, 11:10:33 AM »

I hope this reflection upon how I Amway'd, survived, and still FIRE'd provides the insight the dis-believers are seeking.  Please stay classy with your comments and rebukes.  And if you can't, at least include an emoji.  Either way, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.


First off, congratulations on being married for over 37 years!  I hope you and your wife, on that October day, celebrated in style.  Secondly, nicely done in getting to financial independence earlier than planned!  (You've got me beat on both accounts, but I am over 20 years your younger.)  And, I'm amazed you got out of [that abhorred MLM] as well off as you did!

So to summarize what you got from your time with Amway...
- you found a support network
- your needs were put before business
- you learned how to budget
- you learned how to work the tax system to your advantage
- you learned how to live on less
- your world expanded in traveling with Amway
- a $10,800 LOSS over 9 years.

I appreciate, and am amazed, at all of the positives you were able to take away from being involved with the Greatest Business Scam of all time - MLMs.

That said, time for two personal rabbit trails...
Rabbit trail #1 - Twelve years ago I dove into shallow water and broke my neck and my back.  Horrible and tragic you say?  Yeah I agree, it wasn't pretty.  But there are many good things I've been able to take away from that trauma - the greatest being I know that I my life still has purpose (because for all intents and purposes, I should be paralyzed or dead) and I now have a greater empathy for my patients (I work in healthcare.)
Rabbit trail #2 - Ten years ago I proposed to my girlfriend of the time.  She didn't give me a "yes" or "no".  She wanted to think about it for a month before giving me an answer.  Sucky much?  Oh yeah!  Exceptionally sucky!  After that month, I was the one to break things off and move on.  And there was so much good that came out of that situation - interpersonal growth, relationship growth, personal growth, etc. 

And so I give you a couple of life experiences that show how I can relate - in how a really bad life situation can still bring forth some good.  But do I ever wish upon someone a broken neck and back (physical tragedy) or a nasty failed relationship (relationship tragedy) so they can better understand, and not take for granted, good health and good relationships?!  No, never!  And so I am confident in saying that even though some good can come out of being involved with a MLM (I get tension in my shoulders and grit my teeth in typing this sentence out), I wouldn't wish an MLM on anyone.  An MLM is a good way to make money, just as a broken neck is to good health; just as a non-answer to a marriage proposal is to a good relationship.  This is all to say, in a very round about way, that not all paths are equally good in obtaining financial independence.  From a purely monetary perspective, an MLM will only get you to FI if you are a founder of an MLM - but you would be just as well off to create and lead a religious cult, or build and own a casino (take money from the poor/needy/addicted) if ethics are of no concern to a person.  [insert emoji :0]  I think it does our society an injustice if MLMs are viewed in any kind of positive light/spin.  This thread has it right - MLM's are the scrounge of our time and absolutely malicious. 

Two questions peabody58:
1.  What would your losses have looked like if you included the "tax write-offs"?  I would suspect they would look MUCH worse?
2.  Would you agree the MLM you were involved with was "cult-like"?  (A quick Google search of "Amway cult" comes up with approx. 349,000 results and some of the reading on the topic is interesting to say the least.)

OtherJen

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1052 on: January 31, 2019, 09:46:38 AM »
And an acquaintance is yet again blowing up my Facebook messenger box with MLM messages full of emoji. She hasn't contacted me about anything else for a couple of years. Seriously, do all MLMers take a course in random obnoxious emoji use?

I'm a red panda

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1053 on: January 31, 2019, 10:11:19 AM »
A friend posted yesterday "If you could have a bill magically paid for you, which bill would it be?"

She got about 80 responses.

Today she tagged all those people in "talk to me about a sidegig with (her MLM) that will pay those bills you were all complaining about!"

Um, a side gig is not magic.  I want a magical fairy to pay my daycare bill.  But currently, my maingig does just fine covering it. I don't want a side gig with an MLM.

I'm a red panda

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1054 on: January 31, 2019, 10:12:09 AM »
Either I skimmed poorly, or this wasn't posted.

The state of Washington is sueing LLR for being a pyramid scheme.

https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/01/lawsuit-alleges-lularoe-pyramid-scheme-deceived.html?page=all

merula

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1055 on: January 31, 2019, 11:21:30 AM »

Catbert

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1056 on: January 31, 2019, 12:53:41 PM »
And an acquaintance is yet again blowing up my Facebook messenger box with MLM messages full of emoji. She hasn't contacted me about anything else for a couple of years. Seriously, do all MLMers take a course in random obnoxious emoji use?

Yes.

Hunny156

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1057 on: February 04, 2019, 10:27:32 AM »
For those of you watching the LuLaRoe Defective page on FB, it was shut down last week, due to "policy violations".  The mods set up a 2.0 page, and it was immediately shut down as well.  So, they have moved over to Reddit.  Join the group at r/DefectiveDetectives, court case docs and all the other interesting screenshots are being uploaded.

OtherJen

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1058 on: February 04, 2019, 05:11:44 PM »
I just unfollowed an acquaintance on Facebook and blocked direct messages because she's added a second MLM to her repertoire and has started sending emoji messages about that. No, I don't want to put weird stickers on my fingernails! Good grief. I didn't want them when my SIL was hawking Jamberry a few years ago, and I certainly don't want Color Street now.

jinga nation

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1059 on: February 05, 2019, 07:45:21 AM »
I just unfollowed an acquaintance on Facebook and blocked direct messages because she's added a second MLM to her repertoire and has started sending emoji messages about that. No, I don't want to put weird stickers on my fingernails! Good grief. I didn't want them when my SIL was hawking Jamberry a few years ago, and I certainly don't want Color Street now.

As a kid, I'd put sticker s on my fingernails, of googly eyes, stars, any black stickers. My kids stickerize their nails. Weird stickers on adult fingernails? Hmmm... why didn't I think of peddling this idea first? Should have put more effort into creating a MLM sucker pipeline instead of saving and investing.

MountainFlower

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1060 on: February 05, 2019, 12:55:41 PM »
MLM a.k.a. sucker pipeline. 

That is absolutely classic. 

Beard N Bones

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1061 on: February 16, 2019, 02:53:01 PM »

englishteacheralex

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1062 on: February 16, 2019, 03:50:41 PM »
Oh no one of my church friends has gotten sucked in to an MLM I haven't heard of before. Anybody heard of these...

"Smart coffee?"

"Happy coffee?"

"Elevacity?"

Now all my weak-minded church friends are getting sucked in. Oh noooooo...

My husband was looking at the many, many facebook posts with me. At first I thought it was maybe something legit? Because coffee? He's like, oh, that's another scammy MLM.

Are you sure?

OF COURSE IT'S A SCAMMY MLM!

Then he went off..."I think I'd rather my wife have an addiction to gambling than be an MLM person. At least with gambling it's fun and maybe you might win some money at some point..."






MountainFlower

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Re: No, I won't buy into your MLM
« Reply #1063 on: February 19, 2019, 01:32:26 PM »

Then he went off..."I think I'd rather my wife have an addiction to gambling than be an MLM person. At least with gambling it's fun and maybe you might win some money at some point..."

Quote of the day.  Your husband is totally right.  Plus, you don't annoy all your friends with a gambling addition. 

Of course, a gambling addiction is nothing to make light of, but he has a point.