Yesterday I attended a 500-attendee, all-day real estate seminar on building passive income and becoming financially free. To elaborate, I walked straight into a scam artist seminar room of misleading information and ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes and willingly sat there for a good 8 hours.
I attended this strategically titled ‘Growth & Cash Flow Secrets of Real Estate Millionaires‘ seminar after being invited last minute by a friend of mine. I was a bit sceptical given that ‘millionaire’ and ‘secrets’ were mentioned in the same sentence together however figured out that there was no harm in attending a free seminar and I might even pick up some interesting tips about building a real estate portfolio.
The speaker was a lady called Dymphna Boholt – a single mother with a strong ocker Australian accent who had risen from the depths of poverty to become a real estate millionaire, inspiring low-income Australians and struggling single mothers to rise above and beyond and release themselves of their shackles of poverty.
The seminar started with an short introduction of her life story, the celebrities that she had spoken on stage with (Donald Trump and Tony Robbins to name a few) before rushing through some real estate statistics from the ATO. Following this, she gave an overview of 9 key investor real estate mistakes over the following 3 hours using complex and technical language, which would be later explained in simple language and in detail if you signed up for her multi-day boot camps at a cost of thousands of dollars. The last 2 hours were focused on sales pitches and testimonials on how life-changing her courses were, for the low cost of thousands of dollars upfront.
The show was cleverly executed and practiced to a T. She appeared credible and relatable. A family woman, a single-mum, a rags to riches story. The low-income demographic she targeted showed up and played their part flawlessly, leaving the seminar room inspired and empowered that the Australian Dream is still within reach, with a certain few most likely having forked out $995 for the deposit to get the ‘one-day-only discount’ on her workshops.
While I took notes and learnt a few things during the seminar (like do more research into trust fund structures and superannuation), after fact-checking my notes with my economically-savvy boyfriend Mr. Piggybanks at brunch this morning, turns out most of what she had said was absolute bull-shit misleading information and a get rich quick scheme. While she didn’t go into a lot of detail how an individual with no savings and no income can acquire multiple properties (the detail was explained after you signed up for her expensive courses), Mr. Piggybanks detailed how it worked.
- Put money down for the deposit on House 1.
- Equity in House 1 increases due to rent income and capital appreciation.
- Use that capital appreciation (paper money) of House 1 as deposit on House 2.
- Rinse and repeat until you have a huge portfolio of properties and can retire early which uses the previous house as collateral on the next house. All funded by debt and paper capital appreciation.
The only problem with this is that once houses start to drop in value, it causes a mortgage chain reaction through all the investment properties and banks start to call on all the loans at the same time, bankrupting the person almost instantly. In his words, anyone who does this in this economic climate would be committing ‘financial suicide’.
This evening, the friend who invited me to the seminar linked me this ACCC article about Dymphna being fined for misleading and deceptive conduct. I googled “Dymphna Boholt fraud’ and dozens of articles from reputable newspapers (including the Courier, The Australian, Property Observer, Perth Now to name a few) came up listing her constant fines for deceptive conduct over the past 10 years. Not surprised.
It’s amazing how a strong sales pitch of ‘hope’, ‘guaranteed prosperity with no risk’ and a ‘rags to riches story’ is a perfect recipe for making people believe that becoming rich is as easy as putting down a deposit. Add a dash of motivational quotes and you have a perfect storm.
No wonder Tony Robbins is so rich.
xx Miss Piggy.
Illustrations by Rene Gruau and Megan Hess.