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A former client wanted to know about investing in income producing properties, and e-mailed me a lot of questions.  I advised that I would discount my customary consultation fee for him, and even apply a portion of the fee towards a future retainer, so he could come into the office and get all his questions answered.  He responded that he wasn’t certain that an hour or so with me was enough return on his monetary outlay, as he could instead take a three day course with some [unknown to me] financial guru.

I advised the e-mailer that most of these courses are rip-offs of one sort or another, and then I went to check out the financial whiz worth paying two times as much as me.  Here’s the first tip-off that reading Mr. K’s book for under $20 will yield the same results as spending hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars in his course:  As a fan of the [author’s] books, I was intrigued by the prospect of the "free" seminar. Of course, nothing is "free", and it was no surprise that the seminar was a "teaser" to get people to sign up for the $495 three-day course. That price did not seem out of line...provided that the three-day course delivered what it promised. It did not. Most offensive was the ongoing promotion of the "advanced training", which cost thousands. We also had the "assignment" to call and get our credit card limits raised, and then announced our results to the class. Later, we were urged to use our credit cards to finance our further real estate education, i.e., the advanced training. It strikes me as the height of irresponsibility to urge people to put thousands of dollars on their credit cards in the name of "education". The tactics used were very hard-sell and manipulative...preying on people who have the true desire for change in their lives.

How about this?  I attended a "free" seminar which led to me spending $500 for a three day course. I was told that at this seminar, I would learn the in and outs of real estate investing and would have access to a mentorship program when it was completed. While I was introduced to some concepts that I was not familiar with, it turns out that this course was only a precursor for other courses, the least of which cost almost $9000.00.

Plus it seems that disciples of Mr. K are involved in a multi-level marketing scheme that requires more and more investors to keep afloat (Madoff, anyone?), so when friends or others tell my e-mailer they have had success with the K-plan, the success they have had is in bringing others in to further finance the on-going scheme.

My former client may get something out of the courses and items he buys.  But the advice will not be in his best interest.  It will be all about lining this investor’s pockets, as it seems he can’t make millions from his own ideas:  he needs to sell them to others at $495-$9,000 per student. 

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