Wow! Great replies.

by | Apr 14, 2001 | Archives

Your differing comments to the messages we share is incredibly enlightening. Our last message (Larry Grossman voiced his concern with Ponzi schemes) gave incredible food for thought. I share it here with you.

The first comment from a reader who asked for clarification.

1st Comment: “What is a Ponzi Scheme? Is that a Multi Level Marketing situation?”

1st reply: Ponzi schemes are quite different from multilevel programs. My definition of a Ponzi scheme is an untruthful promotion that offers really high returns (often 10% to 20% per month). I have personally seen or heard of (when they went bust) investments that included traders who claimed to be extra successful at trading bonds, shares or commodities. In others money was purportedly invested in industrial wine (no such thing), diamonds, gold, silver and wholesale groceries. In another a Hispanic female claimed she used the money to finance government contracts she obtained because of her dual minority status. There are so many that purport to invest in big blocks of money, bonds, commercial paper or other types of financial instruments or currencies that I couldn’t even count.

What the promoter offers does not matter much because few investment are ever made, if any at all. The money received from investors supports the promoter’s lavish life style and some of it is returned as a high return to the initial suckers (investors) who get in the scheme. This high return is advertised by word of mouth (by those who have received and brag about their payments and good luck). New investors bring in more money which is in turn spent and partly used to support the high interest payments, but never successfully invested. In the end when the fraud is discovered most of the investors lose most or all their money.

A multilevel marketing program is one where the sale of a product for end use is often linked to becoming a distributor of the product as well. Some multilevel programs are good and I use several products myself that are marketed by multi level programs. However I do not participate in multi level programs at the distributions level. I explain why after we review the second comment.

2nd Comment: You and your eClub advisors appear to be suffering from “economic correctness”. I invite you to read the article, “How to Overcome ‘Economic Correctness'”.

I looked at the article. The gist of it was to question the ideals of honesty, hard work and caution. The article compared economic correctness to political correctness and suggested that these ideals somehow blocked the process of making money. Here is a precise of one part of that article:

“The man’s dad was a teacher who became Superintendent of Education in Hawaii — his “poor dad”. Early in his life, the man also obtained a mentor — his “rich dad”. From his poor dad the man learned economic correctness: get a job; work hard; “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”; “you must have security”; “money doesn’t grow on trees”; “money is dirty — you don’t know who may have touched it”; “the love of money is the root of all evil”; “MLM is evil”; etc.

From his rich dad the man learned very different lessons — lessons that enabled him to become rich. The main reason people struggle financially is because they spent years in school but learned nothing about money. The result is, people work for money… but never learn to have money work for them. Could it be that, just as in the Middle Ages the religious elite didn’t want the rabble to read the Bible, in our “modern world” the economic elite don’t want the workers to understand money, in order to make it easier to keep them in economic bondage?

The article goes on from there suggesting that honesty, truth, hard work, etc., are economically correct and bad.

2nd reply: I invite you to read the Millionaire’s Success Factors in the book the Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D. page 34. Dr. Stanley interviewed 733 millionaires and asked them to rate the top 30 reasons for their success.

Here are the top six: #1: Being honest with all people. #2: Being well disciplined. #3: Getting along with people. #4: Having a supportive spouse. #5: Working harder than most people. #6: Loving my career/business.

If being economically correct supports these ideals, than I am all for it. Here are the points I am trying to get across in the messages I share.

#1: True wealth is living a life filled with joy. It does not take a lot of money to achieve this if you do what you love and spend less than you earn.

#2: Good health, pleasant surroundings, good friends and business associates are vital aspects of true wealth.

#3: To have good friends and business associates you must be honest with them. Regardless of man made laws and society’s sense of correctness there are natural laws we cannot avoid. If you punch too many noses, expect to have some punch back! If your process of making money creates unhappiness in others than at some stage this will come back to haunt you. A successful business requires that it fulfill those who work for it, the customer and that it makes a profit. All three of these aspects must be in balance to be truly successful.

#4: Success must be measured in the long term. If making money pollutes your health or environment success is diminished.

#5: Most people get their investing wrong because their only goal is making money. If greed is unbounded (beyond a healthy self interest) mistakes are made because balance is lost. We look only at how much can be made , not at who is served and how are they served. We look only at the dollars and cents and forget about joy. This is why I usually avoid multi level marketing programs. My observation has been they pay too much emphasis on selling distributors to get rich, rather than focus on benefits of a product or service.

For this reader’s comments that I and the eClub advisors are economically correct, I thank him.

The third response explains why.

3rd Comment: “Gary, I appreciate your continued info. Thought I’d pass this along to the especially greedy you mentioned. We observed a Ponzi in our area of rural North Texas during the last 6 years in which a church leader was paying 80%/year in 6 month increments. I watched so many get swept in, even had two meetings with the “leader” myself just to size him up. When I started asking for the appropriate accounting reports, etc. for a due diligence he stopped offering us free trips to inspect some of the investments, perks, etc. and started backpedaling noticeably.

My point in sharing this, as it relates to those who think they are in early and don’t care who gets hurt is that the federal judge (and later, the state judge) both ordered that all monies paid to ALL participants in the Ponzi by the great “leader” had to be returned to the court who would administer their redistribution to all members, which came out about 60 cents on the dollar (they were LUCKY–some of us blew the whistle early and got the FBI involved before the great “leader” made off with too much (he still got away with $13 million of “missing” funds). He is serving several consecutive jail sentences awarded by both the federal and state governments, by the way. He had been convicted on a Ponzi several years before he appeared in our community and part of his settlement was never to do it again. Keep up the good work of informing!

3rd Reply: Thank you for telling this story one more time in such a dramatic way. Congratulations on your caution. I have had so many readers come to me over the years, their lives shattered. One man lost his entire retirement funds, plus all of his mother’s money that was used to care for her in a rest home. Another was forced to take his daughter out of university. Another, a minister (these things seem to run rampant in churches) had to give up his congregation and slink away in shame. The stories go on and on.

If your quest to make money is out of balance, you enjoy the journey less. You cut the flow of abundance because you stop looking at the needs of others and how to fill them. If you ruin your heath, pollute your environment or leave disgruntled consumers or investors (social pollution) in the process of your business or investing, you are not creating real wealth!

I thank you for your comments and look forward to exploring life and real wealth with you! Until next message, good global business and investing!