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Guest columnist
Henry K. Hebeler   Expert: Author Henry K. Hebeler
Too good to be true
The prospect of getting rich quick has great allure, but the hucksters making the promises are making the easy money.
Guest columnist

Get rich quick or lose money quick?

Recently I got one of those invitations to attend a get-rich-quick seminar. Included were two free tickets valued at over $100 each. The seminar promised to provide life-altering financial strategies. It had been a while since I attended one of these seminars, so I decided to go.

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The meeting was held in a lavish setting: an expensive hotel ballroom lit with fancy chandeliers. The room was equipped with a PowerPoint display on a huge screen. Attendees began to fill the room, directed by lots of assistants who gave out colorful brochures. Precisely on time, the speaker walked up to the podium and took command. I'll call him Slick (not his real name, of course, but it fits).

Slick described himself as a self-made, very wealthy man who made a lot of money in a company buyout, real estate and then the stock market. He had retired very young, got tired of living the easy life and then decided to help others learn how to be successful investors. He was an excellent pitch man who sought audience participation, some of which I suspect came straight from shills planted in the audience.

Get rich now
The prospect of getting rich effortlessly has great allure, but the promoters are the ones making the easy money.
Resist the temptation
to be a sucker
1. Make a killing in real estate
2. Make a mint in the stock market
3. Make for the exit -- fast

Make a killing in real estate
Slick devoted about an hour to the topic of how to make money from properties on the brink of foreclosure. He described situations where widows and less fortunate people got behind in their mortgage or tax payments and were therefore ready to settle for pennies on the dollar days before the scheduled date of a foreclosure auction.

Although all of these "opportunities" are a matter of public record, the government is slow to produce the data. Slick said that by working with his firm, you could get more timely information plus professional help when the time came to go to the door of the desperate seller. A legitimate real estate agent would accompany you and do all the talking. You would stand at the agent's side as the prospective buyer.

As Slick pointed out, this is a benefit to all parties: The seller gets a clear record without a bankruptcy, the mortgage holder gets a good fraction of the debt back, the real estate agent gets a commission and you get a valuable piece of property that you can turn over for a nice profit.

So far, Slick divulged nothing new. He admitted that others promoted the same techniques as proffered in many books and seminars, but his firm offered expert advice, training, a Web site with materials that made rapid response possible and use of professional real estate firms that would help close the deals.

Next: '"Volatility is simply opportunity,' Slick told the audience."
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