Investment seminars’ dirty little secrets

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Get-rich-quick seminars really work—for the presenters. Consumers, however, are often left with little more than frustration and empty pockets. “The vast majority of people who attend low-cost [or free] trading seminars have no idea they have just signed up for a two- or
three-day infomercial,” says Jimmy Slagle, who spent 10 years presenting at these types of seminars and now sells his own trading training materials.

Slagle tells us what’s really going on behind the hype, testimonials and graphs that tout amazing results.

• Early in the seminar, many “instructors” will tell their own stories and how financial education helped them become rich. These people did strike it rich, Slagle says, but mostly from selling their products, not trading stocks.
• Seminar attendees sitting in the front rows tend to be the ones who get excited, so the speakers focus on them to set the mood.
• Name tags are coded by color, or in all capital letters, based on financial profiles compiled from surveys.

The dirty little secret is you don’t have to spend $30,000 to learn anything, Slagle says. All you really need are investing basics, and you can learn them for free at a library, he says.