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Old 06-19-2014, 09:15 PM   #81
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My ex-BIL worked for years for Away in Grand Rapids, MI (corporate office gig). He never had to push sales as he was in IT. He got fired just before he vested a pension and went away very mad.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:08 PM   #82
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Memories of Carlton Sheets commercials....glad I never participated.
I hate to have to admit this, because I recognize the perception of the Carlton Sheets "get rich quick with no money down" program is pretty negative, but that program was my introduction to income producing real estate and creative financing. It started me on a path that contributed to the bulk of my net worth and enabled me to retire early. It really did help me to think outside the box and motivated me to improve my financial position. I can't speak bad about Mr. Sheets or the program.

That said, I'm not sure my experience is the norm.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:39 PM   #83
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I hate to have to admit this, because I recognize the perception of the Carlton Sheets
I vaguely remember him.

I got my push from a book written by a female investment adviser (salesperson). She was, of course, a fan of loaded funds, usually 8% loads as I recall. In her book she used a real fund as as example of how mutual funds worked in the long run. She called it the Seminar Fund so as to avoid legal complications, I guess.

In any case, the graphs showed how this managed fund managed to go, overall, up, up and up over the decades despite all the negative economic and political situations. As she put it, it was like working a yo-yo while climbing the stairs. Sometimes there was a down period, but the overall direction was up. She talked about how dollar cost averaging worked and about keeping some rainy day $$'s aside so one wouldn't have to sell at low prices when times got tough. It made a lot of sense to me.

I was intrigued by the long term returns and did more study on mutual funds in general. Eventually, I fell under the spell of people like John Templeton ("The best returns go to the owners of production. Buy growth and sell some of it when you need the income.") and then Jack Bogle. So, decided to do no-load index funds - the best of both worlds, IMHO.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:03 PM   #84
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"You can never lose money by buying a home!" (Father)

My condo I purchased in 2007 is still worth $75K (33%) less than I paid for it! I was almost 40 at the time and finally got tired of hearing friends and family tell me I "wasting my money on rent". The housing crash was not even the worst part for me. The worst was having a mortgage (debt) after being totally debt free for 5-6 years. I ended up buckling down and paying off my 15 year mortgage in 4.5 years. I will never borrow money again.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:22 PM   #85
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"That man has a good head on his shoulders...you should learn everything you can from him!" - my grandmother, to me, after meeting one of my co-workers, who was a good talker, and was great at giving off the illusion of being very successful.

Well, he went on to buy a house he couldn't afford in the first place, raided the home equity as the value kept going up, put in a nice swimming pool, bought cars, trucks, motorcycles on a whim. Ended up crashing and burning pretty royally. Now he and his wife live down in Appalachia somewhere, and they're both on disability and probably don't have two nickels to rub together.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:06 PM   #86
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I vaguely remember him.

Our hero....

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Old 06-21-2014, 08:28 AM   #87
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Worst financial advice?Buy CMGI.Anyone who is familiar with CMGI knows how this ends.It went bust.After that it was strictly mutual funds for me.That must have been in late 1999.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:00 AM   #88
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Worst financial advice?Buy CMGI.Anyone who is familiar with CMGI knows how this ends.It went bust.After that it was strictly mutual funds for me.That must have been in late 1999.
A friend of mine had about 75% of his assets in CMGI... Needless to say, he's still working today...
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:27 AM   #89
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Back in my Navy days, one of the other officers on my submarine advised that I should sign up with this outfit called USPA&IRA (now known as First Command). I duly met with the representative and he showed me some sort of "program" that they would be putting me into. Even as a financially inexperienced 23 year old, I could see that the large front-loaded commissions and high fees made it a better deal for them than for me, so I declined. Having read the horror stories from others who have dealt with them over the last 30+ years, I'd have to say that was one of my better financial decisions.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:35 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
I vaguely remember him.

I got my push from a book written by a female investment adviser (salesperson). She was, of course, a fan of loaded funds, usually 8% loads as I recall. In her book she used a real fund as as example of how mutual funds worked in the long run. She called it the Seminar Fund so as to avoid legal complications, I guess.

In any case, the graphs showed how this managed fund managed to go, overall, up, up and up over the decades despite all the negative economic and political situations. As she put it, it was like working a yo-yo while climbing the stairs. Sometimes there was a down period, but the overall direction was up. She talked about how dollar cost averaging worked and about keeping some rainy day $$'s aside so one wouldn't have to sell at low prices when times got tough. It made a lot of sense to me.

I was intrigued by the long term returns and did more study on mutual funds in general. Eventually, I fell under the spell of people like John Templeton ("The best returns go to the owners of production. Buy growth and sell some of it when you need the income.") and then Jack Bogle. So, decided to do no-load index funds - the best of both worlds, IMHO.
I was inclined toward real estate through upbringing, but Carlton Sheets and Tom Vu sure did make me feel like a piker. We just kept plodding along, paying what sure felt like plenty and never getting no money down or cash back at closing deals.

Did buy a box of mostly unopened Carlton Sheets courses at a yard sale for $5 - I also didn't get through most of the booklets and tapes. Knew a number of people who spent much time studying real estate instead of buying it and letting it work for them.

Credit to those crappy infomercials for providing incentive and making me feel like I really wasn't achieving.

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Old 06-21-2014, 10:03 AM   #91
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Worst financial advice?Buy CMGI.Anyone who is familiar with CMGI knows how this ends.It went bust.After that it was strictly mutual funds for me.That must have been in late 1999.
Ouch..ouch. Yes. That's me. I lost about 125K on CMGI(just sold it last year..new symbol was MLNK). I've another where I'm carrying the same amount from same time -- INSP(New symbol now BCOR). Just like you, I started investing in mostly mutual funds after Y2K.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:21 AM   #92
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By far the worse advise I ever got was from my dear mother. She took me to a Cubs game one weekday afternoon (ladies day) back when I was a wee lad. She told me that, of course, I would want to be a Cubs fan. Almost 60 years later I can testify that it's been 60 years of pain and anguish.

Other than the great Steve Goodman songs, there is little to recommend about spending afternoons at Wrigley field other than the companionship of other fans imposing pain upon themselves.

I've stood at mom's headstone many times questioning why, why, why mom? Why did you take me to Wrigley Field?

Investing advise? Oh that's easy to evaluate and I've seldom received any I've followed.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:25 AM   #93
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I was inclined toward real estate through upbringing, but Carlton Sheets and Tom Vu sure did make me feel like a piker. We just kept plodding along, paying what sure felt like plenty and never getting no money down or cash back at closing deals.

Did buy a box of mostly unopened Carlton Sheets courses at a yard sale for $5 - I also didn't get through most of the booklets and tapes. Knew a number of people who spent much time studying real estate instead of buying it and letting it work for them.

Credit to those crappy infomercials for providing incentive and making me feel like I really wasn't achieving.

I hadn't heard of Carleton Sheets - but I remember vividly the infomercials on late night tv for Tom Vu. We used to crack up about them at work. This was in the early 1990's IIRC. I was living in Bellingham - so it might have been on Vancouver tv stations....

"Take my seminar!!!"
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:46 PM   #94
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Buy a crazy insurance policy that was whole life plus some equity investing for retirement.

The agent could not even answer my questions AND he had not bothered to read the details. I did but it took some time. What a lemon it was-great for them (no surprise) and terrible for me. Fortunately I do not believe in investing in something that I do not understand. I feel sorry for anyone who got conned by this offering.
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:17 AM   #95
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When discussing finance with other young (and later not so young), well paid professionals:

- After junk bonds cratered in early 1980s(?) I thought they looked like a buy, but listened to others. Yep, J bonds bounced back.

- First career was boring me to tears. Everyone said don't throw away your career. Became a software developer. A damn good one.

- In 1999 my peers laughed at my investments in deeply discounted value companies.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:07 AM   #96
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I got hit up a few times by Amway reps. The first was back in college. One of my Mother's coworkers had a son who had "an exciting opportunity to run my own business and by my own boss" or something like that. I was either 19 or 20. My Mom had a high opinion of this kid, and thought I should hear his spiel.

I had probably heard of Amway at that point, but knew nothing about it. I remember this guy talking about how the idea of going to the store to shop and buy things was going to become obsolete, and eventually you would order things without leaving your house, and they would be delivered to you. Sounded like BS to me, and all I saw it as was overpaying by, say, 20% on an item, just so you could get 1% back in commission, and the only way to profit was to talk people under you into doing the same thing.

Anyway, I guess they did sort of predict the future, of going online, buying almost anything you want, and having it shipped to you. So they got that part nailed down.

I didn't fall for this guy's Amway spiel, and I think my Mom was a bit disappointed in me that I didn't sign up, as she thought this guy was really smart and successful and could help me see the light or something.

Got approached a couple times later in life. Once, by my then-wife's father and stepmother! I actually let the wife sign up, telling her that she would have to handle it. Well, then she got mad at me because I wouldn't try to sign up anybody at my job! Needless to say, it went nowhere. And now, 19 years later, I think my ex-wife's Dad and stepmom are still dirt-poor.

I remember one other time, being approached by someone, forget who though, but as soon as he started his pitch, I asked him if he was peddling Amway. He got a little blushed, and asked me "now why would you say that?" And yep, that's what it was.

Gotta love a company, where to get you to join, their reps hem and haw about dropping its name...

Another one of my Mom's friends, once he retired from the Air Force, started getting into Primerica or AmeriPrise or something like that, tried to talk me into it. But it sounded fishy, too. Someone at work was pushing Herbalife or some other health stuff, and it sounded like the same old song and dance. And even more recently, a friend of a friend started pushing some kind of protein shake/workout routine business.

Managed to dodge all of those bullets too, thankfully. And I swear, they all sound like the Amway routine. And, just a couple weeks ago, one of my friends, a teacher who's on summer break, mentioned he was thinking about joining Primerica, and actually sounded a bit gung ho because "it was started by a teacher". Thankfully though, he talked himself out of that pretty quickly.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:30 AM   #97
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I was approached once about Amway from a fellow employee. I think it was Amway - brushed him off before I could hear all the details. Interesting Amway article from WSJ published in 2012 Inside the Amway Sales Machine - WSJ

Two quotes from that article:
The average North American salesperson grosses—not nets—about $200 per month, according to the company. Amway has agreed to a $155 million class-action settlement with former U.S. reps who alleged the company used deceptive practices and misled them about profits.

Growth is much stronger in Latin America and Asia, where emerging consumers are keen to make a few extra dollars. Today, Amway derives 90% of its sales outside the U.S.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:45 AM   #98
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My DW got sucked into a different firm than Amway.... it is called Forever Living... their main product is Aloe...

DW tried to sell to friends for awhile, but did stop that... Her 'sponsor' would have sales meetings about every two weeks or once a month (cannot remember)... I listened in on one and was surprised how pushy they were to their sales group (or whatever it is called).... I did say that she would not buy anything that she had not yet sold, so we did not take a hit like you do with Amway....


However, she still buys some of this crap for us... I cannot convince her that there is no difference between what they sale and what you get at the local store for 1/3 the price....
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:54 AM   #99
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- In 1999 my peers laughed at my investments in deeply discounted value companies.
I have learned to not discuss such things with my friends. They cannot walk in my shoes nor vice-versa.
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #100
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I "did" Amway for a couple of years, 1988-89. A friend/co-worker signed me up. We're still friends today, and I can't say he suckered me in. I went in with full knowledge. Anyhow, first year, not much happened. Year number two, I actually made a $1700 profit for the year. I didn't beat the ground trying to hook a bunch of others to be "under" me. I did sign up 3, I think but it wasn't by deception. I made my profit largely by developing a couple of regular customers who had their own cleaning businesses, primarily residential, and they happened to really like some of the Amway cleaning products. They were repeat customers. I also sold a couple of the under-counter Amway water filtration systems. So.....I did it the old fashioned way, by selling stuff to customers I developed a business relationship with. Anyhow, I determined it was too much work for $1700, so I curtailed my Amway career. I still find an old business card around the house now & then, to remind myself. What it did do for me though, was give me experience with running my own home-based business. I learned about business & tax write-offs. Later, when I went into real estate as an agent, also self-employed, I already knew what to do self-employment wise. Today, I'd have to decline an Amway pitch, but I can't say it was a total loss. Anything I can learn from, that doesn't cost me too much $$ I take as a positive.
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