As a seasoned Internet entrepreneur, I have little interest in financial education programs. Why? Well, I regularly immerse myself in money and investment literature, being an avid reader of Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. Consequently, those beginner programs advertised on Facebook seem quite ineffective to me.
Seriously, can achieving financial freedom be as simple as learning how to manage money? I believe you need to know how to make money. And as for investments, you can’t outsmart the S&P 500 in the long run.
But my younger sister is stubbornly ignoring my advice. She’s become a fan of Britt and Laurie after following them for a few months, even going so far as to purchase the Million Dollar Year program. Now, she’s fretting over how to secure a full refund. I warned her she would regret it, but she just won’t believe me. Predictably, she completed the program, dabbled in stocks and CDs, and swiftly lost over $40k! I reminded her that trading stocks isn’t something you magically grasp by completing a program.
In any case, I’ve decided to share an honest review of Dow Janes, hoping that others, especially women, can gain a realistic perspective on their personal finance programs.
Table of Contents
- What is Dow Janes?
- Who is Million Dollar Year for?
- Who Are The Founders of Dow Janes?
- What Does Dow Janes Offer?
- Dow Janes’ Tips for Investing During a Recession – My Analysis
- How Much Does It Cost?
- Refund Policy
- Are Dow Janes’s Students Getting Results?
- Praise for Dow Janes
- Criticism of Dow Janes
- Is Dow Janes a Scam?
- 3 Challenges of Making Money Through Stock Investing
- Is There A Better Way to Make Passive Income?
What is Dow Janes?
Dow Janes is a financial education company dedicated to helping women grow their money through investments. They offer the Million Dollar Year coaching program, providing step-by-step advice on managing and increasing your wealth.
Dow Janes is named after Britt Williams Baker’s mother’s investment group and references Dow Jones, an index used by investors to gauge stock prices for 30 highly-traded stocks on the NYSE and Nasdaq.
The founders, Laurie Anne King and Britt Williams Baker, both have MBA degrees and are determined to close the financial knowledge gap between genders, especially for women.
Laurie Anne and Britt’s goal is to empower women with financial skills and control over their financial lives. Of course, if we set aside the question of whether they can deliver on their promises, it’s a mission that’s not only commendable but also inspiring.
Here are some program highlights:
- Weekly Text Message Accountability
- Access to an Online Community
- Weekly Q&A Calls with a Financial Coach
- A 12-Step Signature Curriculum
- Pre-recorded Videos
- Spreadsheets, Workbooks, and Templates
- Access to the Financial Training Vault
- Live Millionaire Mindset Workshops
Who is Million Dollar Year for?
Dow Janes’ Million Dollar Year is designed for women who want to learn more about personal finance.
On the sales page, here’s what they have to say about their program…
The Million Dollar Year is a comprehensive program for women+ who are committed to learning how to save money, manage their finances, and build wealth.
Read more: How to Invest in Stocks
Who Are The Founders of Dow Janes?
Dow Janes was founded by Britt Williams Baker and Laurie Anne King. Here’s an overview of their backgrounds:
Britt Williams Baker
Britt Williams Baker, based in San Francisco, California, is the co-founder and CEO of Dow Janes. She started investing at a young age, with over 10 years of experience in stocks and other financial strategies. Before co-founding Dow Janes, she held management roles in various companies.
Britt graduated Cum Laude in international health and economics from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Medium, Yahoo, and has appeared as a guest on many podcasts.
Laurie Anne King
Laurie Anne King, also based in San Francisco, California, is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Dow Janes. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Laurie Anne has been coaching women on mindset and financial literacy since 2016 through her Orgasmic Manifesting System.
What Does Dow Janes Offer?
Dow Janes offers both a free course: Zoom masterclass and a paid course: Million Dollar Year coaching program. Here’s a breakdown of what each option offers:
Free Zoom Masterclass:
- Taught by Laurie Anne King.
- Daily sessions available.
- Learn about Dow Janes’ strategies.
- Ask questions and engage with experts.
Million Dollar Year Coaching Program:
The coaching program is broken into 3 phases. Here’s an overview of what you can get:
- A full year of access to the training curriculum.
- Convenient drop-in office hours for consultations with financial coaches.
- Monthly workshops hosted by industry professionals.
- Membership in an exclusive online community.
- The curriculum is centered around Dow Janes’ Wealth Building Roadmap, which consists of three straightforward phases:
Phase 1: Build a Strong Financial Foundation
In this initial phase, you’ll learn how to:
- Establish a robust financial system to improve your money habits, financial confidence, and literacy.
- Gain a clear understanding of your financial situation.
- Enhance your relationship with money.
- Cultivate healthy habits through a weekly money ritual.
By the end of Phase 1, it’s said that you’ll have developed sustainable financial habits, aided by resources such as:
- Money Ritual Workbook.
- Weekly Money Ritual Checklist.
- Personal Cash Flow Tracker.
- Financial Snapshot Worksheet.
Phase 2: Money Management Systems
Once your foundation is solid, Phase 2 guides you in:
- Identifying short and long-term financial goals and crafting strategies to achieve them.
- Implementing automated savings systems.
- Budgeting effectively without sacrificing your leisure spending.
Phase 2 resources include:
- Expense Audit Cheat Sheet.
- Spend Less than You Make Formula.
- Pay Off High-Interest Debt Plan.
- Save to Invest Method.
- Pay-Yourself-First System.
- Budgeting & Savings Finder Spreadsheet.
- Living in Alignment with Your Values Workbook.
Phase 3: Your Financial Future and Building Wealth
Phase 3 concentrates on:
- Creating a financial plan for your emergency fund, retirement savings, and various investment strategies.
- Managing and enhancing your credit scores.
- Developing an investor mindset and sharpening your investment skills. As a bonus, you’ll also learn how to create a philanthropic plan to give back to your community.
Phase 3 resources include:
- Save an Emergency Fund Action Plan.
- Understanding Debt & Credit.
- Healthy Credit Score Checklist.
- Plan for Retirement Workbook & Calculator.
- Create Your Investment Plan.
- Create Your Philanthropic Plan.
Enrolling in Dow Janes comes with two bonuses:
- Access to the step-by-step $1,000 Month video course.
- Entry to the Dow Janes Training Vault, featuring 25+ additional trainings on various financial topics, including managing finances in partnerships, real estate investing, preparing for divorce, paying off student loans, and more.
Dow Janes’ Tips for Investing During a Recession – My Analysis
If you’re considering following Dow Jones’ investment advice, it’s essential to check out their tips specifically for investing during a recession.
When my sister, who was once a student of Dow Jones, shared their list of recession tips with me, I should have analyzed it for her. That way, she might not have signed up for Million Dollar Year and avoided losing $40k on her stocks and real estate investments in 2022.
Given the global economic downturn triggered by the Ukrainian-Russian war in February 2022 and the rapid interest rate hikes by the FED to curb inflation, it’s crucial to note that Dow Jones’ recession-proof strategy might not guarantee avoiding significant losses.
Regardless, let’s take a closer look at the tips provided by Dow Jones:
1. DCA (Dollar Cost Averaging) Stock Investing
Dollar cost averaging is a smart investment approach where you consistently invest a fixed dollar amount at regular intervals, regardless of the current share price. Rather than attempting to time the market, this strategy, endorsed by Dow Janes, involves spreading your investment over time.
Here’s a simplified plan: Take your total investment and divide it into four equal parts. Invest one part each month over the next four months. For example, if you intend to invest $1,000, allocate $250 monthly for four months.
This method shields you from being overly affected by market fluctuations and can be advantageous if prices decline in the next four months. However, its success relies on choosing strong companies like Apple or Microsoft, or a reliable index like the S&P 500. It’s worth noting that if you’ve invested in riskier options like Chinese stocks such as Alibaba, contributing more might lead to greater losses.
Even with safer choices like U.S. index funds, it’s advisable to commit to dollar cost averaging for an extended period, such as 10 years, to ensure a positive return. Markets can experience downturns, and recovery may take 2-3 years, making a long-term approach essential for success.
2. Real Estate Investing
Britt Williams Baker argues that real estate is a reliable investment, regardless of market conditions. However, this claim is not entirely accurate. In the 2008 financial crisis, U.S. house prices dropped by 13.9%, with some regions experiencing a staggering 40–50% decline.
Worse still, Britt suggests that if you have limited capital, investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) is a viable option. REITs are companies managing property portfolios, allowing you to buy shares without a substantial upfront payment.
However, it’s crucial to note that the value of REITs is more sensitive to changes in interest rates. For example, the S&P 500 Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Industry Index plummeted by over 50% during 2022 when the U.S. started raising interest rates.
Let’s take a closer look at the performance of REITs over the past three years.
3. Invest in I Bonds
Dow Janes recommends that their students buy I Bonds during a recession. It’s good advice, especially when we consider the interest rate hikes throughout 2022.
According to TreasuryDirect, an I Bond’s actual interest rate is calculated by combining the fixed rate with the inflation rate. This combined rate changes every six months and can either increase or decrease. I Bonds shield you from inflation because when inflation rises, the combined rate also increases.
However, what happens during a recession is not necessarily inflation; it can also be deflation, as seen in China. If that’s the case, you should simply hold more cash rather than buying government bonds.
Why? Because during deflation, the government would usually resort to quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. This means the real interest rate will keep going down and might become negative in some cases. You can simply hold cash and wait until quantitative easing for stock investing. That’s the smartest strategy. Of course, you won’t learn that from Dow Jane’s Million Dollar Year Coaching Program. It’s too basic.
4. Invest in CDs (Certificates of Deposit)
CDs are low-risk investments, with FDIC insurance covering up to $250,000. They typically offer higher interest rates than regular savings accounts, often around 2% or more.
However, keep in mind that your money will be locked in for a set period, so make sure you have emergency funds set aside before investing in CDs.
Overall, Dow Janes’s advice isn’t really recession-proof. During a recession, the best way to safeguard your wealth is to not hold too many assets and to hold more US dollars as an emergency fund. Also, consider developing a side hustle in case you lose your job.
Read more: Best Ways to Make Money Online
How Much Does It Cost?
The Million Dollar Year program offers two payment options. You can pay $1,998 upfront or choose the one-year installment plan of $198 per month.
While the program is comprehensive, I find the pricing a bit steep compared to similar programs available.
You can ask for a refund within 14 days of finishing the Million Dollar Year program, but there’s a small processing fee.
If, after following all the lessons and tasks, you don’t save at least double the amount you invested in the program within the next year, they promise to give you a money-back guarantee.
However, my sister and other students who complained on BBB haven’t got their invested money back. There’s been no refund for them.
Are Dow Janes’s Students Getting Results?
In my sister’s situation, she lost over $40k after finishing the Dow Jane’s Million Dollar Year program and began investing in tech stocks and REITs in December 2021.
However, on the sales page of Dow Jane, there are some success stories…
However, it’s not possible to verify their identities. Many of the gurus I’ve reviewed seem to prefer using fake testimonials…
Fortunately, since Dow Janes is accredited by the BBB and addresses complaints on its website, we can gather some insights from the complaints to assess the effectiveness of their program.
For example, in the following complaint, the student pointed out that the Million Dollar Year doesn’t work for most members including herself…
In another complaint, the student quickly discovered that Dow Janes’ teaching didn’t meet her expectations in improving her financial situation.
Praise for Dow Janes
Comprehensive Training: Dow Janes offers an all-inclusive program covering various personal finance aspects, including investing. Participants receive valuable knowledge and tools to help them achieve their financial goals.
Tailored for Women: This program is specially designed to address the unique financial challenges and opportunities that women face, providing added benefits for female participants.
Supportive Community: The Million Dollar Year community is known for its warm and encouraging atmosphere, fostering a learning and growth-friendly environment.
Credible Founders: Laurie Anne King and Britt Williams Baker, with their extensive expertise and experience in personal finance, lend credibility to the program as knowledgeable instructors.
Criticism of Dow Janes
Poor Refund Policy: Dow Janes only offers a 14-day refund policy, which is too short to effectively evaluate their program. Moreover, the company has been uncooperative in canceling students’ subscriptions, continuing to charge their credit cards even after receiving requests to drop out.
Overpriced: The program’s cost might be seen as relatively high compared to other financial education options on the market. You should note that most information provided by Dow Janes can often be found for free online.
Lack of Success Stories: I couldn’t find any real student testimonials for their Million Dollar Year program. On their sales page, there’s one testimonial from a chef who says she quit her job and started a restaurant after completing the program. This makes me suspicious because the program doesn’t teach any skills related to running a physical business.
Is Dow Janes a Scam?
I won’t label Dow Janes as a scam. After all, their Million Dollar Year program does teach basic financial knowledge and money-management skills.
However, they didn’t fulfill their promises. For instance, they claim to be so confident in their program and their students that if, one year after completing your Million Dollar Year, you haven’t doubled your investment in the program (i.e., saved at least twice what you paid for it), they’ll double it for you. That hasn’t happened. My sister, a former student, can testify to that.
Apart from that, Dow Janes has refused to cancel students’ monthly subscriptions and continues to charge their credit cards even after receiving multiple emails requesting a dropout from the Million Dollar Year program. That’s why the students have filed complaints with BBB.
In my sister’s case, she had to cancel her credit card to successfully drop out of the program. So, if you decide to join Dow Janes, never use auto monthly payment!
Though Dow Janes isn’t a complete scam, it seems that their program doesn’t genuinely improve students’ financial situations. Otherwise, they wouldn’t choose to opt out.
3 Challenges of Making Money Through Stock Investing
Before you decide to join Dow Janes’ Million Dollar Year, take a moment to understand some challenges related to buying stocks:
1. Risk of Losing Money
There’s no guarantee you’ll make a profit in the stock market. Past success doesn’t ensure future gains, and stocks can be particularly risky in the short term.
Even in the long run, there’s no certainty of reaching your financial goals. If there’s an economic downturn and a stock market crash at the wrong time, it could be financially devastating. If you prefer a safer investment, you might consider options like bonds or money market funds.
2. Competition from Pros
Professional investors and traders have the advantage of more time, knowledge, and access to advanced trading tools, financial models, and computer systems.
3. The Temptation of High Profits
Stories of investors striking it rich quickly can be tempting. The media and online discussions can give you a false sense of confidence, especially if you’re new to investing. However, making emotional decisions based on excitement or fear can lead to trouble.
Before diving into active trading in the stock market, it’s essential to research strategies and learn how to use the advanced tools and resources that experts rely on.
Is There A Better Way to Make Passive Income?
If you want to make a stable and secure stream of passive income, I would suggest you start an affiliate marketing business online instead.
Affiliate marketing is perfect for anyone who is new to online business.
In fact, of all the online business models I’ve tried, affiliate marketing is the easiest and most rewarding so far.
In affiliate marketing, you can actually run your business almost with zero cost and achieve a steady and sustainable passive income to pay for your bills. You don’t need any initial capital and can even do it as a side hustle.
And if you really want to learn affiliate marketing and build a business from scratch, I’d recommend you to get started with the most reputable platform for affiliate marketing: Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform for building your affiliate marketing business from scratch. It offers you a free account (including a free website) with comprehensive training on SEO (free traffic methods), which enables you to get started with affiliate marketing right away without paying a penny.
But How Much Can You Earn with Wealthy Affiliate?
A 21-year old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just 1 week, which means he made more than $1k a day…all while using free traffic methods.
For more information, you can check out our full review of Wealthy Affiliate.