The Gateway Seminar

Illustration of a Typical Seminar Sales ProcessThere are a lot of people looking for financial advice.  They want to learn how to get rich in real estate, get rich in stocks, or just plain get rich.*  Since there is demand, there will be supply, and so we have a plethora of financial planning and investment related seminars.  But, are they worth while?

Let’s think about this a bit.

First, recognize that you are in a sales process.  Here’s how it usually goes.

  1. You, Mr. or Ms. Layperson, hear of the seminar salesperson’s wares on the news, or perhaps a particularly persuasive infomercial.  You become hopeful that you, too, could one day wallow in your very own bathtub full of cash.  So far the escapade has cost you nothing.
  2. You perhaps buy a book, or maybe an informational kit for only something-something ninety-five.  You read the book(s) and soak up the strategies.  They sound brilliant!  So this is the secret to getting rich – other people’s time and other people’s money.  And the author says that the strategies will work for everyone and you don’t need much money to get started either!  That’s perfect, because you don’t have much money.  The book seems a little short on the details, but there’s an invitation to the author’s seminar.  So far you’re only out the cost of the book.
  3. You call the number listed in the book:  the seminar will cost whatever-hundred dollars for a full day of instruction.  “But,” the person on the line asks, “you will be shown how to get rich.  What’s whatever-hundred dollars compare to that?”  You buy a ticket and go.  Ka-ching; now we’re talking about some serious money.
  4. At the seminar you hear a few more details, but they also take time to talk up other seminars that will get you to the next level, and coaching packages that will give you a mentoring relationship with the author’s specially trained staff.  You could have this wonderful instruction that will make you a millionaire for only…

Are you detecting a pattern?  You will probably continue to be up-sold as long as you have money.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this investigation by Canadian television station CBC News “Who’s getting rich off Rich Dad?“**  Prepare to have your eyes opened.

Here are a couple other things you could buy with your $2500 seminar fee:

  • Customized investment management and financial advice for one year. ($166,666 in invest-able assets x 1.5% fee = $2,499.99)
  • Nine credit hours of graduate instruction in business at UALR, for an Arkansas resident.  ($265 per hour x 9 hours = $2,385)

Wow.  You could get nine credit hours of accredited graduate instruction in business for less than a one day seminar on getting rich in some hotel room.  Why go to a seminar that’s expensive, where you will be up-sold to more seminars or coaching, when you can get real instruction in real business practices?  It doesn’t even compare.

*  Do you want to know how to get rich too?  Here ya go. 1) Earn at least an average income, but more if you can get it.  2) Spend significantly less than you earn.  3) Take the difference and a) save some for emergencies and b) invest the majority of the remainder in income and capital gains producing investments.  4) Repeat for 20-40+ years.

You’re welcome.

**  If that link is sluggish, try this one.

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