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Beware the $30k Scam - 24
I still remember when I first learned about options, so many years ago. My father, who is an infomercial and a get-rich-quick junkie, had gone to some free, two-hour options seminar in some hotel. You might have seen these commercials on TV, where they come to your town, and they have different hotels where they have two-hour free seminars where they teach you how to get rich with options. They're supposed to teach you how to get rich with options, but instead, it's basically a sales pitch for a much high-priced seminar. He went to this two-hour thing, and he came home $5000 lighter, because he spent it on a seminar that they were doing that weekend. Lucky enough for me, he was allowed to bring someone along, and so I got drafted. It wasn't really a choice. You know, I guess that's one of the benefits of being an only child. We went to the seminar. We were excited. I was like, "Okay, this might work. We might make some money out of it. Hopefully it's good." A lot of the stuff that they talked about was really cool, first time ever hearing about puts and calls and all this different terminology, and it was exciting. I mean, they taught us what a chart was. They taught us what an indicator was, that you could make money in stocks and options by just reading and doing what the indicators told you to do. I mean, I was like, "Whoa, this is so simple. Holy cow!" When you get three green arrows, that means that three indicators are all bullish, and you buy. It was that simple. You get three green arrows on their software, you buy, and then you hold it until you get three red arrows, meaning that all three of the indicators were bearish. I mean, that's pretty easy, right? Heck, yeah, we were going to make millions. That's all we had to do, just look at the charts, and keep looking at different charts until you see three green arrows. That's the stock you buy, or options, you call options on that, and then you get out when you get the three red arrows. That's all you have to do. My father and I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. I mean, "Great job, Dad! Awesome! Whoo-hoo! That's the best $5000 you ever spent! All right, we're going to make millions!" Now, I didn't have any money at that time, because I was still, I don't remember how old. I was pretty young, but my dad ... He's the get-rich-quick junkie, so he's been to these type of seminars before, and unfortunately, he brought all the credit cards with him that still had some balances on them. Now, I wish he had not done that, but he did. He brought them, and so he spent more money at the seminar. He bought some software. He bought some video courses that they had. They had other stuff, other seminars you could take. I don't remember exactly what package he bought, but it wasn't until the second day that the instructors really laid it on us. I mean, that was when the pitch for coaching really got started. They kept telling us over and over again that if you really wanted to be good at training, you couldn't learn it in a two-day seminar. They can give you some basics. They can give you some stuff to go home and try, but if you really, really wanted to get good at trading, then you would have to have a coach work with you, one-to-one basis, because then the coach could tell you what you did right, what you did wrong, give you some ideas, let you look over their shoulder. For that reason, you've got to have a coach, right? All the greatest athletes, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, all these guys, they have coaches, right? Yeah, so you need a coach, too, because that's where they taught the really good stuff. In the seminar they couldn't teach you everything, but all the top secret stuff ... That's what was taught in the coaching program. What was the cost of this amazing, wonderful, super, can't-live-without coaching program? Well, they were going to give us a great deal. They were, because we were they're real good customers. We had spent two days with them. They were our friends now. We were talking to them during the break and everything. We were telling stories, and laughing at their jokes, so they had to give us a great deal, right? They were only going to charge us $30,000 for six months of coaching, but we had to act quickly, because they only had a limited number of spots, right? They couldn't take everybody, because their time was limited. There were four instructors there that weekend, and so we could pick whichever one we wanted as our coach and go in the back room, pay the $30,000, and then they would set you up with one of the coaches. I was like, wow! Whew! Can you believe that? For just the price of a car, you can get coached by a real trader, a real trader that's making money in the markets. At that point, it didn't dawn on me that this real trader, if he was doing so well, why the heck was he pitching coaching in seminars on the weekend? Why was he flying halfway around the country every weekend to do this seminar to pitch coaching. At that point it didn't dawn on me. It later did, but thank God my dad did not have the $30,000. Oh, my God, I can't imagine what would've happened if he did. I mean, after spending all his money on the seminar, which, basically, all the stuff that they taught us was basic introduction to options trading stuff. The software they gave us, the home study course. Luckily my dad didn't have any money left to trade. I mean, that's the funny part about it. We spent $5000 on the seminar. We spent several thousand more dollars on the software and the video and whatever else there was. At the end, there was no money left to trade, so we didn't get the $30,000 coaching program, thank God, but we couldn't really use the stuff that we learned anyway, to see if it was actually good or not.