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So have you ever been to one of those hotel real estate investing seminars over an evening or weekend?

No, not your local REIA or Meetup group.  I mean the ones we see advertised all the time in newspapers, late night TV or now even Facebook actually:

“Free Home Buyer Seminar!”
“Real Estate Secrets Revealed!”…

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BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: “Real Estate Secrets Revealed!” (…Really???)

So Vena Jones-Cox recently pointed me to this video from CBC (Canada) – a hidden camera expose’ on Robert Kiyosaki’s traveling Rich Dad seminars.  And while I’ve had longstanding respect for the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad – mostly due to its key place in my early REI career – this scathing video actually pulls the curtain back on a number of alarming shenanigans apparently going on behind closed doors.  Things like…

  • RK’s seminars are not actually his own – they’re run by Russ Whitney’s organization, which just licenses and leverages RK’s name brand…
  • During the interview RK ends up seeming rather embarrassed himself at what he hears is going on…but also doesn’t seem willing to take responsibility for what’s being done under his name…
  • People are consistently being seduced into raising their credit card limits right there at the seminar, then systematically enticed to “invest” their new credit on even more training…to the tune of multi-multi-thousands of dollars…training that sadly has a reputation for being questionable at best…
  • We see people belittled and humiliated if they raise objections…and even thrown out by security…

I actually watched the whole shebang this afternoon, mouth wide open. And frankly I found myself feeling simultaneously disgusted and kind of sorry for RK.  Weird mix, I know.

Whether or not you have the 22 minutes available to watch the video, I’m betting you still have an opinion on this – maybe even some experience of your own you can share.

And I’d really love to hear how you feel about this one…

Why Rich Dad Still Has a Warm Place in My Heart…

The fact is I first got started in real estate investing because of the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  I feel I owe much of who I am today to the invaluable lessons I learned from reading that book – and I still recommend it to people.

But I now recommend it with two caveats:

  1. I know believe his sacred cow “good debt vs bad debt” philosophy is a complete myth
  2. And watch out for the seminars.

While starting and running our local REIA group for 6 years, I came across more than a few bruised and battered newbie investors, fresh off having wasted tens of thousands of dollars on training that was basically crap.  There’s just no other way to say it.

And I quickly learned that, while RK’s first book (and maybe his second…maybe even his third) were great eye-openers and thought stimulators, the seminars that follow are apparently little more than machines designed to suck as much money out of attendees as possible…for as long as they can dupe them into it.

Now I don’t say this lightly.  This comes from literally years of hearing this from investors who’ve been through their program to some level.  I know a couple folks who “invested” upwards of $30,000 with them on “training”, only to come to one of our Saturday Workshops and proclaim through teary eyes they just learned more from us than their entire $30,000 bought them from Rich Dad and/or Whitney.

How to NOT Get Taken in by Real Estate Seminars

Now let me be clear: I’m not saying all real estate seminars are bad.  Far from it.  Nor am I suggesting everything that’s “Free” is a scam.  After all, I give tons of free stuff away here…and last time I checked I wasn’t scamming anyone with it.  🙂

But some of these things are just plain baddownright sleazy in fact…and telling the difference honestly can be really hard sometimes for hungry folks new to the REI biz.

Some quick tips to help you discern…

  • Search the interwebs for the seminar instructor and/or company hosting the event beforehand. Now of course you can’t believe everything you see on the net – good or bad – about a company or guru.  You gotta keep in mind that some folks are just hateful and/or chronic grumblers and will concoct complaints about even some of the best out there just because they can.  But it’s a place to start, and if you find more than a couple of red flags out there, then be very cautious.
  • Be wary of “free” seminars. Often they serve as forums to sell you more stuff. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, mind you.  Remember, we’re all in the business of selling, and there’s nothing immoral with offering some base level training, then higher levels of training and coaching for some people to elect.  But if they overpromise and under-deliver at the event you attend…then want you to pay even more for the “real secrets” you thought you were promised already…that’s a big warning sign, Kemosabe.
  • If you’re ever invited to go raise your credit card limits – RUN! There’s a big, BIG pitch headed your way and they want you primed and ready to go when the time comes.
  • Always ask other respected investors for their opinion first… before you go and spend a Fajillion Dollars on any “soup to nuts training”.  Just get another respected real estate entrepreneur’s advice – preferably someone with a clear head and a little more experience under his/her belt already.  And don’t look for ways to justify an emotional decision you’ve really already made anyway.
  • ____________________________ (Insert your own tip – in comments below 🙂 )

So how do you feel about all this  Ever been to one of these things?  Ever known (or been) someone sorely duped by them?  Thoughts on the “expose’” video – was it balanced/fair?  Looking forward to hearing what you think…