Every week, there are tons of “free” seminars in Singapore on topics such as wealth creation, investing, properties, starting online businesses, stock picking, or other passive income generating techniques. Nearly all these seminars follow the same formula. Here’s what they have in common:
What All Financial Seminars Have in Common
1. They talk about a secret. One that they’ve discovered that only a few people know about. And they will let you in on this awesome secret…. eventually…. after you sign up for their “masterclass” or buy their book, or pay for their training… My bet is that you can find their so-called secret by just browsing the internet or borrowing a book from the library at zero cost.
2. They will talk about how having a regular job and being an employee is horrible and despicable. And that you’re too smart to be enslaved by your job. They tout their freedom to be able to work as they please and from where they please, and their luxurious life of leisure. So it seems a bit ironic when they tell me they spend 60+ hours a week promoting their product/services, and they employ an massive army of low-wage employees who likely have heard the secret and yet still choose to be enslaved to their jobs (perhaps the way to financial freedom that they recommend isn’t so instant and easy after all…)
3. The seminar is 10% informational, and 90% sales pitch. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against using a seminar to sell or promote a product or service. Businesses that run seminars expect to get clients or product sales to make up for the cost of running a seminar. What I am against is when they, under the guise of “financial literacy” or “financial education”, use hard selling tactics or group persuasion tactics to sell their programme, or just outright lie about how their “secret strategy” is effortless, life-changing, risk-free, guaranteed, and will lead to a life of leisure at age 30.
Are They Contributing to Your Financial Freedom, Or the Other Way Around?
I’ve interviewed many of these talking heads and found that a lot of them are not financially secure themselves. Consider that a Ponzi scheme is a business where its high returns aren’t due to “savvy investments” but rather primarily due to the inflow of capital coming from new investors. It may be harsh to call these seminars instruments of a Ponzi scheme, but they have some striking similarities.
The talking head that is promoting their expertise on how to be financially free, is actually achieving his/her own financial freedom through selling the expertise rather than from the expertise itself (i.e., his/her secret sauce to financial freedom comes mainly from selling seminar/training tickets, and not from his/her awesome investment portfolio)! Of course not all seminars follow this formula and some are truly interested in providing sound financial education and are given by truly dedicated and knowledgeable experts. But, if you attend a seminar that follows the formula above, BEWARE.
And this is where the Frugal in Singapore – Wealth Matters seminar will be different. There will be nothing to sell – no products, no services. Rather, there will a ton of cool freebies. The workshop is a joint collaboration with the National Library Board and Parents’ Day Out, a special programme series by Jurong West Public Library. Why is this seminar different? Because I’ve personally been to quite a few bogus “financial educational” seminars and have walked away disappointed. I want to bring back honesty and integrity in financial literacy seminars. I don’t feel the need to charge anything as I am satisfied with my own financial security. And I want to meet some of my readers – face to face – to thank you for your continued support for Frugal in Singapore. Below are the details. See you soon! 🙂