SURFING THE NET CAN REAP `MILLIONS' WEB RICH IN SITES
TRADING ON FRENZY
By Dolores Kong
The Boston Globe
So you want to be a millionaire?
Well, you can surf to Internet sites that say they can
help you become one, live like one, or even date one.
And - no surprise - they all can be found at Web
addresses with the word "millionaire" in them.
One site in particular is good at giving personal
finance advice that, even if it doesn't get you to a
million bucks, can help you reduce debt and get on the
road to saving and investing.
Another site is little more than an advertising
vehicle for a magazine for millionaires and
millionaire wannabes, as well as companies looking to
market to this high-end niche.
Then there's the Web site for the TV show "Who Wants
to Be a Millionaire?" Here, you can relive some of the
"celebrity millionaire" moments, play an online
version of the game, and look up long-lost relatives
and friends who might have been million-dollar winners
on the show.
The rest of the sites reviewed were rather marginal -
one was pornographic - so don't think every Web
address with the word "millionaire" in it holds the
secret to riches. And don't think an address with the
word "billionaire" or "zillionaire" does, either.
As with everything on the Internet, check your source
and view all information with a critical eye.
For instance, a Web site that proclaims "Date a
Millionaire" actually posts a message from a plumber
who says he and his fellow plumbers aren't
millionaires, but "We make a good $150,000 a year and
thats [sic] pretty good. It is so hard to find a good
woman who isn't completely nuts about money and biased
against blue collar guys." This site, www.
talktoamillionaire.com, also says it lets you speak to
a celebrity, beginning at $250 for a 15-minute
Another site that probably should be viewed critically
is www.internetmillionaire.com. Touting itself as the
"on-line stock traders [sic] guide to profits, success
and riches in the 21st century," this site says it
averaged 113 percent return in 1999, and provides a
free report of "10 Internet stocks that will change
the world." However, nowhere on the site is there an
update of what the returns are this year, with tech
stocks now severely beaten down. But the site projects
a "500 percent growth on our Internet 2000 Portfolio
between 2000 and 2003," and says you can subscribe to
its "Circle of Wealth Newsletter" for $125 a year.
Here is a summary of some of the millionaire Web
- www.armchairmillionaire.com: As of January, this
became part of the Investorama network of financial
Web sites. Here, you can learn what the site calls the
"five steps to financial freedom," read the stories of
real people in the "Armchair Millionaire's Gallery,"
and use an interactive "Million Dollar Portfolio Tool"
to figure out how you can get to that magical figure.
Information about the five steps - lower your taxes,
pay yourself first, invest automatically, build a
smart portfolio, and start today - is readily
available to anyone who visits the site.
But to use the portfolio tool, you must sign up for a
free Investorama membership. The tool asks for your
age, how much you've saved already, your take-home
pay, and your savings rate. Then it calculates how
many years it will take you to reach a million, if you
follow the site's recommended action plan.
The site recommends building a simple long-term
portfolio made up of three mutual funds, one that
mimics the S&P 500 index of large- capitalization
stocks, another the Russell 2000 index of small-cap
stocks, and the third the Morgan Stanley EAFE index of
stocks in Europe, Australia, and the Far East.
- www.millionaire.com: With the motto "The Very Best
the World has to Offer," this Web site for Millionaire
magazine features a chance to subscribe at $100 a year
(pocket change for a millionaire). It also offers the
ability to patronize advertisers selling everything
from luxury loans of up to $30 million, to puppy and
kitten pendants and pins hand-sculpted out of 18-carat
solid gold with diamonds, to "pre-owned" Lear jets
(for the budget-conscious millionaire). The site also
allows you to apply online for a no-annual-fee, 3.9
percent introductory rate, Millionaire Platinum Plus
Master Card; learn about a Utah- and Bahamas-based
international law firm that specializes in offshore
tax-minimization and asset protection; or buy a luxury
waterfront estate from a Boston-based affiliate of
Christie's Great Estates. But, like everyone else,
millionaires must read the fine print: At the bottom
of a Web page of "featured" penny-stock companies on
the site's InsiderStreet.com link, visitors are told
"some of the companies featured on this site have
compensated InsiderStreet.com to be profiled" on the