There's No Such Thing As A Free Seminar On How To Buy Distressed Properties For No Money Down

Top Headlines


Grandmother Palms Grandson $10 Like She Fixing Boxing Match

NEW BEDFORD, MA—Waiting until her daughter and son-in-law were occupied getting drinks in the kitchen following a family dinner at her home Sunday, local grandmother Ellen Sullivan, 72, is said to have palmed her 11-year-old grandson Jason Tucci $10 like she was fixing a heavyweight boxing match.

Koch Brothers Get Each Other Same Election For Christmas

WICHITA, KS—Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.

Budget-Conscious Obamas Strongly Pushing Malia Toward UDC Community College

WASHINGTON—Repeatedly emphasizing the benefits of completing her core requirements at a fraction of the cost of a four-year school, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama continued their efforts this week to persuade their 17-year-old daughter, Malia, to attend the University of the District of Columbia Community College.

Study Finds 68% Of Americans Unprepared For Sudden Financial Stability

AMES, IA—Noting that most Americans never consider the possibility that such life-altering circumstances could ever befall them, a study published Monday by researchers at Iowa State University revealed that 68 percent of citizens are wholly unprepared for a sudden bout of financial stability.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Romantic Gesture Too Expensive To Waste On Current Girlfriend

HARRISBURG, PA—Claiming that the price of the incredible idea far exceeded his emotional investment in his relationship, local man Alex Ramsey said Wednesday that an extravagant romantic gesture he has in mind is too expensive to waste on his current girlfriend.

NASA Deploys Congressional Rover To Search For Funding

WASHINGTON—Calling the program “the most crucial in the agency’s history,” researchers at NASA announced Wednesday they have successfully deployed a Special Exploratory Rover to Congress as part of an open-ended mission to seek out any possible trace of funding on Capitol Hill.

Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed.

Tips For Cheaper Airfare

Whether the busy travel season, fuel prices, or airline collusion is to blame, airfare is currently very pricey, making traveling more difficult. The Onion walks you through some ways to reduce the cost of flying

Budget Wedding Tips

With Americans still feeling the effects of the recession, many engaged couples are looking for ways to save money on their wedding by holding a smaller ceremony, hunting for deals, and more.

Commonly Overlooked Tax Credits

As Americans rush to fill out their tax forms before the April 15 deadline, many may not realize that they are eligible for multiple tax credits that would earn money back from the government.

Man Completes Life $130,000 Over Budget

SAN FRANCISCO—Having drastically underestimated the expenses required for such an elaborate production, recently deceased local man Norman Dennison is said to have completed his 84-year life Tuesday approximately $130,000 over budget.

Newlywed Couple Looks So Deeply In Debt

CHICAGO—Saying that you could tell by the way they stared into each other’s eyes, friends and family of newlywed couple Patrick and Heather Vaughn told reporters Friday that the bride and groom look so deeply in debt.

How Powerball Works

With no winner from the previous drawing, the jackpot for Wednesday’s Powerball lottery is expected to surpass $450 million, as gamblers around the nation buy more tickets in hopes of drawing the lucky numbers.

The Pros And Cons Of Free Community College

As part of an effort to make higher education accessible to all Americans, President Obama has proposed offering two free years of community college to qualified students, a plan critics say is too expensive and misses the mark on education reform.

Allowance To Teach Child Importance Of Parental Dependence

MUNCIE, IN—Saying that they wanted to instill lifelong financial habits in their young son, the parents of 9-year-old Jeremy Lambert explained to reporters Monday that they give him a weekly $10 allowance to teach him the importance of parental depe...

Online Shopping vs. In-Store Shopping

While brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart and Target are advertising door-buster deals to get consumers in their aisles on Black Friday, many Americans are opting to take advantage of the ease and product variety of online shopping.

Scientists Receive $10 Million Grant To Melt Stuff

COLLEGE PARK, MD—Saying the money would help further researchers’ understanding of the awesome scientific phenomenon, representatives for the American Institute of Physics announced Tuesday that they had received a $10 million grant to melt st...

The Cost Of Raising A Child

According to a new report by the USDA, the cost of raising a child until age 18 now exceeds $245,000, after which many parents will also have to foot the bill for college.

How Public Schools Spend Taxpayer Money

Public school districts in the United States receive billions of taxpayer dollars in state and federal funding every year to pay for teacher salaries, school bus transportation, building maintenance, counseling services, and more.

Bank Of America Introduces New $50 Underdraft Fee

CHARLOTTE, NC—Saying the penalty will cover the costs incurred by the financial institution whenever a customer makes a withdrawal that results in a positive account balance, Bank of America introduced a new $50 underdraft fee Tuesday on all checkin...

How To Protect Your Personal Information Online

Following the recent data breach at retail giant Target, which exposed credit card numbers and personal information of as many as 110 million people, many Americans have grown concerned about their safety and privacy online.

Report: Gap Wider Than Ever Between Ultra-Rich And Reality

PHILADELPHIA—A report released Wednesday by economists at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed that the already massive gap between the world’s ultra-rich and reality is now at historic levels and only continues growing wider each year.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


  • How Theaters Are Trying To Win Back Moviegoers

    The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

There's No Such Thing As A Free Seminar On How To Buy Distressed Properties For No Money Down

Man, am I chagrined. I really thought my ship had come in.

Have you ever thought you had a sure thing in your hands, only to have it slip away at the last moment? I certainly know what that's like now. That's right–I recently learned the hard way that there's no such thing as a free seminar on how to buy distressed properties for no money down.

Ever since losing my job at the Gas 'N' Go on 14th and Daytona, I'd been scraping for any money I could get. Panhandling, donating plasma, collecting empty bottles, the whole poor routine. My life was in a shambles, and my sleep schedule was way out of whack.

So imagine my interest when, at 3 a.m. last Tuesday, I was watching Channel 21, and a half-hour paid advertisement came on that seemed to have been made just for me! This announcer guy asked, "Are you struggling just to make ends meet? Are you tired of missing out on the good stuff in life? Would you like to be your own boss and call all the shots?"

I can't even tell you how strongly I related. It was as if they'd read my mind and made a show out of it!

Next, they introduced a guy who, up until a couple of years ago, was just like me. This was real exciting, as I'd been feeling really alone and singular in my poverty. The fellow's name was Paul Rennert, and he told all these hard-luck stories about losing his job and his car, and I don't mind telling you it sounded a lot like my own life story!

But then–and this was the exciting part–he said he'd come up with an exciting new money-making system, involving the purchase of distressed properties, that catapulted him into wealth and independence so quickly, he hardly knew what was happening! Now he lives in a huge 20-room mansion and, just between you and me, you should have gotten a look at his wife. Whoo! No distressed property on her!

Just about the whole rest of the show was devoted to people who'd learned Paul's system and struck it rich themselves in real estate. There were people telling all these stories about being poor, just like me, but after applying Paul's easy-to-learn system, they started receiving checks for four- and even five-digit amounts! They even showed the stubs from a lot of those checks to prove they weren't lying.

By the end of the show, I was dying to have the secret dropped on me. How can I get in on this and start making money in real estate the easy way? That's when Paul told me that his amazing seminar was criss-crossing the country, giving everyday people the secret to making more money than they ever dreamed possible.

I thought, oh, well, with my bad luck, that seminar probably won't be coming to my area for about a million years. And even if it did come, the secret to personal wealth had to be worth a fortune! I could never afford to be in on such a powerful inner circle of big-money power brokers. But you know what? As if by divine providence, it was going to be at the Columbus Ramada that Saturday and–get this–it was free! I couldn't believe my luck! It really felt like, after years of hard knocks, I was finally getting the good luck I was due.

Despite my joy, I couldn't help but be a little skeptical. I wondered to myself, "Why on Earth would Paul offer a free seminar?" After all, I'd always been told that there's no such thing as a free seminar. But Paul explained that, for all his wealth and success, he never forgot what it was like to be poor, and he wanted to give everyone, even those as poor as he'd been, the opportunity to get themselves back on track. I tell you, I felt like building a statue of Paul Rennert in front of City Hall!

Well, the big day arrived, and in my finest outfit, I caught the bus to the Ramada. Turns out, there were a lot of other people whose lives weren't going so well–there must have been a thousand people there! I wished them well, of course, but I began to worry that some of them might snap up the properties before I could get my hands on them. So I decided to sit way in the back so that as soon as the secret was revealed, I could hustle off to wherever the properties were and start buying before anyone horned in on my action!

Turns out, it wasn't Paul Rennert who was giving the seminar, but "Chuck," a vice-president at Rennert Business Opportunities Unlimited. I thought, that's cool, he's probably a stand-up guy if he's involved with Paul and his philanthropic seminar-giving project.

The first hour of the seminar, all these different people were telling their success stories, about how they made all this money and have great houses now–just like on the show. Part of me was thinking, "Hey, get to the big secret! I wouldn't be here if I weren't convinced!"

After the stories, Chuck started talking about the system and how it's just the thing to get you out of your doldrums and how rewards go to those who take action in the moment instead of putting things off. All the while, I'm thinking, "Okay, so tell us already!"

Well, you know what? Maybe you'd better sit down before reading any further. Because you're not going to believe this.

The big secret cost $129.95! Can you believe it? After all that, we're supposed to fork over hard-earned money for the secret! Talk about disillusioning.

Now, admittedly, the $129.95 buys you a lot: You get Paul's comprehensive guide to buying and selling properties, written in plain, easy-to-understand language; Paul's special book of 101 secrets to making money today; a videotaped guide to using the materials correctly; a special letter of encouragement from Paul; and access to Paul's secret toll-free 800 number where trained experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the materials.

But, man! $129.95! What does he think "free" means? I applaud Paul for wanting to give poor people an opportunity to make some real money, and I realize that a seminar costs some money to put on, but I have to say I think he's going about it wrong. That big bundle of cash he's asking for is a huge hurdle that's keeping this thing from happening for a lot of poor people–the people who need this miracle system the most.

If you're reading this, Paul, here's what I think you should do: Print a scaled-down version of the secret on less expensive paper, and hire a modest staff to distribute it door-to-door in poor neighborhoods. Or, even better, scrap the seminar and donate the package to libraries! Then, you can either stop airing the TV show altogether or change it into a show in which you tell poor people that the secret is at the library.

No, it won't be as good as a free seminar on how to buy distressed properties for no money down, but, hey, as we all know, there's no such thing as that.

Finance Video

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close