Today is the Millionaire's Conference at the Oregon Convention Center, and you're invited.
But don't get too excited.
You're not the only one to get a personal VIP ticket and invitation. In fact, every other person in the room is just as "very important" as you are. They all got the same info packet in their mailbox—the offer to learn from six of America's "Greatest Financial Super Stars," live and in-person. A chance to crack the code on how to buy real estate for 31 to 57 percent below value, lower taxes by 31 percent, make loads of money while working from home in your underwear, and retire in 3 to 5 years. And a free lunch.
A company called Net Marketing Alliance put on the Celebrity Millionaire Conference. The Better Business Bureau lists that Net Marketing is based out of American Fork, Utah—though the crew does shows in cities across the country. The lineup of financial celebrities (a.k.a. guys in suits wearing boom microphone headsets, talking fast and flashing creepy smiles) in Portland Thursday each presented for about an hour, on their tricks of the trade for making it rich in this dog-devour-dog world.
The food was free, but so was the bullshit.
Bob Kittell, one of the day's first presenters, asked the audience of mostly middle-aged men and women, "Do you want to make some money?"
To which he received an enthusiastic, and somewhat frightening, "YES!!!" response, in zombie-like unison.
He continued, speaking on the necessity of learning how to invest wisely, "The school of ignorance is the most expensive school, but some will learn in no other."
That might be true, but Kittell's financial crash-course sure gives the school of ignorance a damn good run for its money. Though today's event was free, Kittell didn't reveal his "real" secrets. The chance to attend a follow-up two-day seminar and get the full lowdown on buying and selling stocks runs the bargain price of $2,995 per person.
And Kittell made some convincing arguments for signing up. With the kind of knowledge he can help impart with the course, attendees will have the financial security to provide almost anything for their families. Kittell was proud to point out how as a millionaire, he was able to do things like buy his own son a championship pole-vaulting set for his backyard.
With a million dollars, you too, can be a pole-vaulter.
I did a double-take when he revealed the $3K pricetag at the end of his spiel, but sure enough, people got up, walked to the back of the room, and swiped their credit cards in droves. Out in the hallway, phone calls were made to spouses, insisting that it was a great opportunity, something not to be missed.
The conference is indirectly part of real-estate mogul, mediocre entertainer and harbinger of the hairpocalypse Donald Trump's one-week descent upon the Rose City. Today was just a warm-up: George Ross, Trump's right-hand man and partner in crime on The Apprentice
, shared his two cents as the keynote speaker. But this coming Monday, Portland gets the real deal. Trump himself will make an appearance at Monday Night WWE Raw at the Rose Garden—where it is alleged that he'll make Vince McMahon an offer he "can't refuse" (we're picturing a horse head with a Donald toupee—creepy!).
"free" financial advice is to make the kind of fiscal decision no one at the conference even dared recommend: Don't waste your money on these gimmicks. Introductory economics courses at Portland Community College run about $270. That's probably a much better place to start.
Then again, what do we know? If you've been to one of these things, and it's really helped you to roll in the cash-money, let us know. We'd love to hear some success stories besides the canned emails from Sally W. in Denver on how, "I made $50,000 in my first month! Thanks Millionaire Conference!"