I have received a number of emails the gist of which is “How can I tell who’s legit: you or the guys you criticize?”

That is a really stupid question. Actually, it’s partly ignorant and partly stupid.

If you read my Web page and compare it with some scam artists’ infomercials or books or whatever, and you can’t tell which of us is telling the truth, you are a certified, gold-plated, ripe-for-the-picking, babe in the woods. You need to stop spending any money on real estate or expensive courses or mentoring services or any of that until you get your act together. Otherwise, you are going to get taken for thousands of dollars.

  1. Take some inexpensive courses in real estate like a pre-real estate license course at your local adult education.
  2. Read some non-hype books on real estate and related topics like tax law.
  3. Find some experienced investor or adviser—like an accountant or attorney—you know separately from me or any other guru—someone you trust—a friend or relative—and ask them to tell you which guru is telling the truth. It will take them about five minutes—which will prove my babe-in-the-woods assertion. I predict they will laugh out loud when you show them the material from a guru I criticize.
  4. If you have absolutely no such person in your circle of acquaintances, walk in off the street to a real-estate company and ask them. You may have to do that several times before you find someone willing to talk to you for free.
  5. If that doesn’t work, go to an attorney or accountant and pay them for a half hour or some such to tell you which guru is telling the truth. For example, Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and his C.P.A. co-author make a number of statements about federal income tax law. I say those statements are lies. Show Rich Dad, Poor Dad and my Web page analysis to the accountant or tax attorney and ask him or her, which of these two guys is telling the truth about the tax law?” A woman who called me recently did that regarding my analysis of Kiyosaki, only she took the material to her husband who is a tax attorney. Guess who won that test?
  6. Unlike guys like Kiyosaki, when I tell you about the tax law or other laws, I give you the citations—statute numbers, common law names, court decisions, and so forth. Look it up in your Funk & Wagnals. Take my citations and go to a law library. Show them to the law librarian and ask him or her where to find the citation in question. Then read the law for yourself. It’s often hard to read, but it’s not in Greek. In many cases, I actually link to the law so you don’t even have to go to a law library. Just click on the link.
  7. Join a real-estate club. There will be some other ignorant beginners like you there. Ignore them as far as finding out who is telling the truth. Seek out the experienced investors and ask them which gurus they recommend.
  8. Do not try to find out which guru is telling the truth at Internet chat groups or news groups. That is the blind leading the blind at best and at worst, the person who is responding to you may be an associate of the guru you are asking about—or a twelve-year old.
  9. Note that no other guru will give you this advice. Rather they will tell you to rely only on the testimonials they have in their infomercials or the “best-seller list” or some other untrustworthy source.
  10. A lot of the followers of the bad gurus will refuse to do anything on the above list. To paraphrase the great philosopher Jack Nicholson, “They can’t handle the truth.” They also almost deserve what the bad gurus will do to them.

If you still can’t tell which of us is telling the truth, good luck—you’ll need it.

John T. Reed