MLM Investigator

Why Won’t Dave Ramsey Go All-In Against Multi-Level Marketing?

Who is Dave Ramsey?

America’s trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His seven best-selling books—Financial PeaceMore Than EnoughThe Total Money MakeoverEntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, The Legacy Journey and Smart Money Smart Kids—have sold more than 11 million copies combined. –

I have always seen Dave Ramsey as a champion of fiscal responsibility. I never followed Dave  particularly closely, but I know of people that used his advice to get out of debt and those people are very enthusiastic about Dave’s overall message and the impact the advice has had on the,. This is why I was surprised when I watched some clips on Dave Ramsey regarding Multi Level Marketing.

Dave’s Inconsistent Messages Regarding MLMs


In Dave’s Rant, he acknowledges the cult-like atmosphere that is present in the MLM Industry. But at the same time there are pieces of his rant that legitimize the industry.

I’ve got several friends that are doing really cool stuff. The BeachBody team is doing some real cool stuff, I’ll give them an endorsement right now, but there’s some freaks in that thing too.

Let’s take a quick look at Beachbody. The below analysis is based on their income disclosure statement.

Information based on Coaches enrolled for the entire period. 42.91% of all ranks received a bonus or commission check from Team Beachbody

This means that 57% of all coaches earned nothing. This does not account for total cost of shakes, etc. There is a requirement that active coaches make purchases every month. What this means, is that (significantly) less than 43% of coaches earned a profit.

Per their own numbers, 77.3% of coaches earned an average of $427. 18.3% earned an average of $3,086. Doing some quick math, we learn that 95.6 % of coaches earned less than $1000 each annually.

It is estimated that the average coach spends over $130 a month on Beachbody Products and fees.  By these numbers, less than 5% of Beachbody coaches make a profit.

This is the example Ramsey has as a company that is “doing some real cool stuff”.


I have several friends that make a million $ a year.


To be fair, Dave goes on to explain that his friends are the exception, and that for every person that is successful, thousands of others fail.

My criticism is that Ramsey is riding along the fence. It would be impactful if he were to come out 100% against Multi Level marketing.

One 2018 survey revealed that 31% of participants use their credit card to join their MLM, and 9.1% took out a personal loan.  Some borrowed from family.  Dave’s relative lack of conviction regarding the dangers of MLMs is inconsistent with his advice on other matters relating to debt.

The few that make the large profits are preying on those at the bottom of the pyramid organization.

In one video, a caller stated that his wife was going into debt, and Dave seemed legitimately surprised that she wasn’t able to sell or recruit.  Nearly all participants lose money in MLMs. The fact that this man’s wife was losing money should not come as a shock.

I don’t understand…it’s not making money, she’s spending money?


Recruiting Vs. Selling


Multilevels Mean Recruiting

Dave hits on the key issue multiple times in his responses. MLMs aren’t about selling product.  In many cases the vast majority of products are bought by the members themselves.

A distinguishing factor between illegal Pyramid schemes and Multi Level Marketing is the focus.  Pyramid schemes focus on recruitment vs. the selling of product.

Ramsey does make a lot of great points about MLMs, but never quite goes all in, and calls them what they are. In my opinion, no one should be investing their effort or money in MLMs. It’s a bad financial decision for over 95% of participants. Those that are making huge profits are doing so at the expense of the people losing money below them.

About MLM Investigation

I decided to start MLM Investigation to help shine a critical light on the industry. There are many others that are doing a fantastic job telling their stories and speaking out against MLMs. I will feature others’ work as well and point readers to their content.

I plan to use this space to further the cause and to educate people about the true nature and the true numbers behind The MLM Industry.

I am collecting updated Income disclosures, commission structures, and recruiting materials, and will have these available on the site.

I plan to create single page executive summaries of all major MLMs to serve as a guide to share with those considering joining an MLM organization.

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5 thoughts on “Why Won’t Dave Ramsey Go All-In Against Multi-Level Marketing?

  1. I left this comment on the Facebook posting as well…..

    I have a theory, something not mentioned in this article. One of the key elements of many, if not most American MLMs is a religious component. Specifically, a very recent (on a scale of 2000 years anyway) variation of Christianity known as the “prosperity gospel.” It has become so prevalent that many people just accept that it is THE one true version of Christianity. Dave Ramsey definitely has prosperity gospel leanings. I could go on about this “theology” in depth, but the bumper sticker version is that if you sign up for the right team, Jesus wants you to be rich. MLMs preach this, Dave also preaches this to a degree. So while Dave’s brand is financial prudence, he also clearly has a lot of allies in the MLM world he doesn’t want to upset. For reference and disclosure, I am an ordained full time Lutheran pastor who is 100% opposed to the prosperity gospel as an ideology and as an influence on American politics.

  2. I think one reason many people are afraid to go all in on condemning some of these businesses is the fear of getting sued. Once you start using the term pyramid scheme, the lawyers start coming out trying to sue for defamation. . Penn and Teller did an episode on mlm companies on their bullshit series and they make reference to that issue. Same with another website, I believe called lazy man and money. He went after a few mlm companies and had to deal with some of their lawyers. Not sure if the is Dave’s reasoning or not, but I know it is for many. Either way, best to avoid them.

    1. Just finished listening to a podcast about MLM’s (The Dream Season 1 – good stuff) and some bonus content and it was stated how litigious the MLM’s can be to people who outright oppose it, nevermind their infiltration into govt lobbies and positions so something like that could make it hell on earth and honestly, who wants that? I’m betting you are right on your observation that this is the reason he hasn’t come full out against them.

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