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Posted: 12:23 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Motivational seminars are dangerous for investors

By Clark Howard


Have you seen a motivational show with big name speakers coming to your area that offers free or cheap tickets? Beware of the unknown speakers between the big names because they may clean your wallet out.

The San Francisco Chronicle  reports these kinds of motivational road shows often feature speakers like Colin Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Terry Bradshaw, to name just a few, and have become increasingly popular throughout the Great Recession.

You often find the road shows taking place in indoor sports arenas or big concert facilities. People like to go to get fired up. A lot of sales organizations take their entire sales force to motivate them.

But the unfortunate thing, and this is no fault of the headliners, has to do with the unknowns who get up and speak. Their pitch is often about the great opportunity you'll have to make money in some exotic corner of investing, or with a trading program, or with whatever business opportunity they're telling you about that you can get in on the ground floor on.

One man profiled by The Chronicle lost $11,500 while trading options, which are contracts to trade a security at a set price by a certain date. But he's far from alone. People who have been beaten up by the economy want to believe somebody who says they have a magic strategy to make money in investing.

Do not get sucked in to how you are being let in on a fantastic opportunity to make money. Because all you'll be is be older, sadder, wiser, and poorer when you get taken too.