Monday, October 8, 2018

Real Estate Investing - Checking Out The "Gurus"

A relatively new website,, has taken on the formidable task of researching the major real estate "gurus" and providing accurate reviews of their offerings. Unlike many review sites, these reviews were put together from information gleaned from reliable sources like the FTC and BBB, as well as a thorough study of the various offers being promoted.

Some of the reviews are eye-opening, and produced some unexpected results. For example, the Carlton Sheets real estate course ranked in the top 5, while one of the current "kings ", Armando Montelongo seminars, ranked near the bottom. Another surprise is the rank that the Ron LeGrand Gold Club managed to eke out. But the review most visitors seem to be interested in is the review of Than Merrill and his FortuneBuilders

By and large, most of the better known gurus did not fare well at all. The very fact that they are "infomercial gurus" and host seminars and boot camps helps explain why - as Forbes so aptly put it, such tactics are designed not to teach, but to sell. And when the focus of anyone who offers to teach anything becomes the selling of their own products and services rather than teaching - well, you end up with garbage.

There are good courses that teach real estate investing, such as "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate."  This is a program that, offered on a non-profit basis, has but one focus - teaching people how to invest in real estate. And it is the only real estate course that provides free coaching - they have solicited the help of actual, successful investors to volunteer their services to help others learn the secrets of investing. And students can actually consult on the phone, one-on-one with the author, Bill Vaughn, personally. No other guru does that!

And there is another difference - "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" is low cost, and has maintained an A rating at the Better Business Bureau for nearly 20 years, even though they are not "accredited" (i.e. dues paying members). They chose not to be dues paying members in order to avoid any possibility that the BBB would give them a top rating just to keep the dues coming in each year. In other words, their A rating is not bought and paid for.

All in all, it is up to each individual looking to learn real estate investing to do their due diligence. Sites like help folks to do just that.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fortune Builders - For Themselves, Or For You?

Everyone understands that there is big money to be made in real estate, and for those who know how to invest in it. And that is why there are so many "infomercial gurus" trying to sell a bill of goods to unsuspecting people who only want to provide a better life for their families and to get out of the 9-5 rut.

I say "bill of goods" because the vast majority of what they offer is virtually useless, and it's only purpose is to make it appear that what they are offering is actually worth the outrageous prices they charge.

I have said it many times - real estate investing is not rocket science. Ordinary people have been investing and building fortunes from real estate for millenia - way before Merrill, Montelongo or even Legrand. In fact, long before King Tut. If nothing else, that should tell you loud and clear that you don't have to pay out $5,000-$60,000 to some "guru" to learn how to do what I and countless others have been doing for many generations.

And they were doing it without wasting money on useless "apps" that, in reality, have no value, or "boot camps" designed only to upsell you to more expensive add-ons.

What I am suggesting here is that any person, regardless of education or financial position can make money in real estate, and do it without paying some charlatan tens of thousands of dollars. How? By doing what I have done for 50 years, and what my Dad did for 50 years before that - learning from someone who knows how to do it, and wants to pass on their knowledge to others who seek it.

My name is Bill Vaughn, and I have been an investor since 1969 and that is what I offer - 50 years of experience and know-how, and a willingness to walk a person through it, step-by-step. And all I have ever asked in return was to recoup the minor costs involved in providing it. I do not need, nor do I want to make millions from teaching others - I do quite well on my own by investing, thank you, and I enjoy helping others do the same.

And it's really quite simple - just like most teachers, I provide the know-how and the "tools" necessary (like free mentoring), and the "student" provides the effort to put it into practice. And that is all that is necessary. And since several of the methods do not require either cash or credit, literally anyone over 18 can do it.

If you have ever considered real estate investing, but did not pursue it because it appeared complicated and intimidating, or because you thought it required cash and good credit, or simply because you could not afford the tens of thousands most "gurus" charge for their programs of questionable value, you should check out what I have been providing to others just like you for the last 30 years. It doesn't hurt to look - and it won't put a strain on your bank account. And I guarantee RESULTS or I will refund double what you paid.

Check it out -

And if you have friends or relative that you care about, pass the link to this blog on to them. They will thank you for it.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Soul Mates

Have you ever had the uneasy feeling of impending doom? Or have you ever suffered a mild anxiety attack? And did it begin when you were six years old?

I started first grade when I was six. I was looking forward to it because so many others of my age would be there. But as I  met the other kids, I began to get that anxious feeling of impending doom because I knew she was not there.

I know that sounds crazy - a six year old looking for that "someone".  And that uneasy feeling rushed over me because I did not even understand what, exactly, I was looking for and could not find in that classroom. I was confused and scared. Scared that I might never find "her".

I told my Mom about it, but she did not understand any more than I did, because at six, you simply do not know how to explain a lot of things.

I vividly recall throughout school I tried to find a "girl friend". Most of the other kids had girlfriends or boyfriends. Not me. And even as I graduated High School, I still had never had a girlfriend - someone to share "growing up" with, because I could not find "her". And I still did not know who she was, where she was, or even if she existed. And that uneasy feeling was still there, and growing as time passed. With each passing year, the fear that "she" would never appear grew.

By the time I was 25 several of my friends remarked that I seemed to have a "death wish"; always taking huge chances that could easily have gone very wrong. There were few places in North America that I did not travel through on my motorcycle, forever looking for I knew not what. I was driven! And I did not even know what was driving me. I just felt, deeply, that I was not whole; that I was missing a big part of myself. It is extremely difficult to explain to anyone who has not "been there".

The only thing that kept me going was the hope that, whoever it was, I would someday I find her. And when I did, I would "magically" and instinctively know it. But would I really? Every night as I lay myself down, I would pray to God that He would help me find her.

The years rolled by. At age 42, I had given up, and I became homeless. I ended up in a homeless shelter in Manchester,New Hampshire. I resigned myself to living out my life on the streets. Without "her", there was nothing else I wanted, or needed. And each night as I lay my head down, I would cry silently. Not just for myself, but also for "her", as I envisioned she was going through the same agony.

One evening as I sat at a table in the local soup kitchen, I looked up as several guys came in, accompanied by a young woman. There is no way, or words, to explain it, but it was like getting hit by lightning! She was wearing an old leather motorcycle jacket and jeans, and as she walked up to the chow line, those guys followed her, like chicks following the mother hen. And I was completely taken by her - while she was apparently the head of that bunch of misfits, I instinctively knew that, in reality, she was a scared, lost  waif. Like me. She surrounded herself with men who needed a "mother"; men who would protect her.

It was "HER"! I just knew it. There was no doubt in my mind. As unbelievable as it seemed, and after 35 years of searching, and traveling tens of thousands of miles, here she was, right in front of me, like some God-given miracle. And then my heart sank!

As I looked at her, I realized she had to be at least 15 years younger than me. The first 10 years I was looking for her she had not even been born yet! No wonder it had been so hard to find her. But what good would it do me - I had no chance  with her! What would she see in a used up homeless guy almost old enough to be her father? It felt like I had been hit by a PeterBilt.

I left the soup kitchen, never even speaking a word to the woman I knew was my soul mate.
The shelter is above the soup kitchen, and I went upstairs and just hit the sack. I was felt empty. All those years. All that anxiety. All that hope. And in just three minutes it had all been wiped out completely.

I was earning my coffee and cigarette money by "canning" each night -I would get up at 2AM and walk all the back alleys, going through dumpsters and trash looking for aluminum cans I would get a nickle for. On a good night I might earn $5.00

That next night I returned to the shelter, and as I passed the manager's desk, I heard someone give me a "wolf whistle". Wise guy, I thought, as I turned to see who it was. I cannot explain the fluttering feeling in my gut that overtook me when I saw it was HER! And I just knew she was only making fun of me, because I was just another homeless bum. I quickly headed to the dorm.

The next evening, as I approached the manager's desk, I was just going to rush by, not knowing if SHE was there again. She was. And she whistled again, and she had the most wicked smile, and that look in her eyes that said "trouble". You know the look! That gleam...

Again I hurried back to the dorm. She could not possibly be interested - she  was just teasing me, having fun at my expense. And it was tearing me apart because I dearly wanted to just pick her up, hold her close and never, ever let go. But I knew it could never be. Though she was 30, she was "just a kid" compared to me. And I was just a homeless man, with absolutely nothing to offer anyone. Everything I owned was in my right front pocket - a lighter and an old jackknife. (My Dad taught us to never be caught without those two items - they could save your life).

The next morning I was pushing "my" shopping cart full of cans and assorted junk down Maple Street when I heard someone well behind me yell "HEY!". I turned, and to my horror I saw it was her, leading her little band of lost losers. I was mortified because, though I knew there was no chance for me, I did not want her to see me like this. It was humiliating. And here she was chasing me down the street so she could tease me some more. I pushed my cart faster as I tried to out-distance her. But she would not have it - that little girl easily caught up with me.

"My name is Robin", she blurted out. I can't remember what I said, exactly, but I think I mumbled something like, "I'm Bill", and I turned and left. Filled to the brim with mixed feeling of confusion and the fear of forever losing that which I had spent my entire life searching for in vain. And more than ever I wanted to hold her close and never let her go.

Now the reader should understand something about me - while I was incredibly street smart and nobody's fool, when it came to girls, I was a lamb among wolves. If a girl wanted to get my attention, she would almost have to smack me with a 2X4. I never took the lead, simply because I had never found that ONE. And now that I had found her, I was running away - for her sake.

I could not believe it was possible to be so totally and completely in love with someone I did not even know, and who I had never said but two words to. But I was. And it hurt so bad, because I could do nothing about it.

But SHE could - and did! She "hit me with a 2X4".

I had been to the "clothing room" where the homeless could trade old clothes for clean ones, and I grabbed a really nice pair of baggie Calvin Klein's with big pockets on the thighs. As I attempted to quiety slink unnoticed by the Manager's desk, that little gal said, "I really like those jeans - can I have them?" And hoping to get the best of her in her teasing, I remarked, "Are you saying you want to get into my pants?" THAT would shut her up.

But she just gave me that oh, so sexy and wicked smile again and said, "Maybe".

All of a sudden I was not in any hurry to leave. We talked for what seemed like minutes, but it was hours. Robin was also living in that shelter on the women's side. And as we talked, I think we both realized that we had both spent our lives looking for each other.

And it was strange - we had both criss-crossed the country, staying in many of the same places, but always missing each other. It was as if the Good Lord was saying, "Not yet - you still need trials and tribulations, to grow and learn, so when you do find each other you will be ready to bond forever."
That was in 1991. And we have been together every day since.

About two months after we met, while we were eating in the soup kitchen, Robin (remember that 2X4?) proposed to me.

We married in '92, right there in the shelter where we had met. And though we had nothing, we had everything. We had each other.

We remarried on our 10th Anniversary. And on our 25th, I showed up at her work, and in front of her co-workers, about a dozen customers and in front of our grown daughter, I finally did the right thing - I got down on bended knee, put yet another diamond ring on her finger and then in a voice that cracked with emotion I proposed to her for a change.

Everyone cried, of course. Even me.

And just so you know - once we had found each other and joined hearts, life got a lot better. We worked together to form our own business and achieved a great deal of success.

Some of you will still refuse to believe in "love at first sight" and "soul mates", but I assure you, my sweetheart and I have no doubts. Nor do we have any doubt that it was all God's will - after all, an operation as a teen resulted in Robin not being able to have children. But on November 17th, 1990 Robin prayed to Him for a sign, to let her know for sure if I was the right one. That night, we got pregnant with our daughter.

Now THAT'S a sign!

"Mom, if you are looking down from your place in Heaven - I FOUND HER!"

(SIDE NOTE: we were married the day after Valentine's day. Here is a pic of the Valentine cards and Anniversary cards we got each other last year - soulmates, for sure)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Truth About Raising Taxes On The Rich?

This is the dirty little secret that liberal media and politicians do not want you to know. They try very hard to sell us on the idea that the rich make too much money, and by raising taxes on them, the economy will grow.

As a matter of absolute fact, and proved out by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, the opposite is true.

First and foremost, only the poor pay any taxes at all. Every time you raise taxes on anyone, those costs are put into the "cost of living", and they get passed down to those below in the form of higher prices. Even if you are a humble employee, when taxes go up you need to get a raise or your standard of living goes down. When the employer GIVES thopse raises, he, too, must pass the cost along in the form of higher prices - prices that we ALL pay, which again increases the cost of living, requiring yet another round of raises. Bear in mind - only the poor, who have no one below them to pass increased costs onto - only they will actually pay the taxes. ALL of the taxes. Their Ramen soup, which had been 25 cents is now 30 cents. There is truth in "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer", but it is not necessarily the fault of the rich. It is usually the fault of increased taxes.

Now I would ask you to put yourself in the position of the "rich" fellow. You are the CEO of a multi-million (or billion) dollar business. Your top three priorities (leaving out God for the moment) are 1) yourself, 2) your family, and 3) your stockholders. Keep that in mind while we move forward here.
Uncle Sam decides to raise your taxes. What do you do? If you are deserving of your CEO position, you will do one or more of the following if you want to keep providing for your family, and keep your job:
  •  You would raise prices on your goods and services, to cover the increase in the cost of doing business (taxes)
  •  You would lay off employees to cut costs
  •  You would freeze wages
If you do any of those things, everyone who uses your products and services will suffer. And anyone who works for you will end up suffering a lower standard of living. And anyone looking to you for a job will find themselves still unemployed. And, of course, the people you lay off will, instead of contributing to the taxes from the salaries they no longer have will instead be sucking from the public teat, placing a heavier burder on the rest of us.

The economy, without question or doubt, will shrink. Everyone suffers, but the poor will suffer the most. And all because the government increased taxes (cost of doing business) on the very people we look to for production of goods and services, and the addition of jobs and paying of salaries.

When we were children, most of us heard the story of the Golden Goose. And we learned what happens when you kill the Golden Goose - no more golden eggs. Raising taxes on the rich is akin to starving the goose.

You see, the rich actually NEED more money (and often deserve it) because unlike you and I, who are responsible only for our families, they are often responsible for the survival of many families. Can you imagine how many people - families -  rely upon Bill Gates of Microsoft? As Sean Hannity says, "I never got a job from a poor person."

Liberal progressives would counter, "But if you cut taxes on the rich, they'll get richer." True enough - but so will everyone else. When you cut taxes on the rich, they don't just blow it on bubble gum and candy. They did not get rich by being stupid. No, they will reinvest that money into more production, more employees, in order to create more profit. And it is those investments that produce jobs, raise wages and kick-starts the economy.

I am not saying we should feel sorry for the rich if taxes get raised. But I AM saying we should feel sorry for OURSELVES if taxes get raised on the rich, because we would all pay.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Than Merrill & His Fortune Builders

As many of you already know, "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" has been helping people get into real estate investing for over a quarter century, and for under $100, which includes lifetime coaching. And you also know that there are many real estate "gurus" - so many, in fact, that many folks are confused as to which one they should invest in.

Than Merrill and his Fortune Builders is one of the "top" names right now - not because his program is best (it's not) but because of his fame, and the vast amount of cash he spends to promote his business ("The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate" spends nothing for promotion or advertising, yet brings in thousands of new clients each year by "word of mouth").

Consider: there are, and always have been only a couple of dozen actual methods of real estate investing. All others that "gurus" tout are nothing more than take-offs with minor effect, or combinations. And most gurus teach only one or two methods. "The Simple Man's Guide" teaches all 22 methods. And where Than Merrill and most others charge as much as $60,000, "The Simple Man's Guide" is only $90.

And none of the gurus - not Than Merrill, nor Armando Montelongo, Ron LeGrand or any other will provide coaching (mentoring) at no cost. "The Simple Man's Guide" provides unlimited coaching for free, as they utilize investors who volunteer their services.

Than Merrill and his Fortune Builders may be a decent program - but NO real estate investing program is worth the money those other gurus charge. Real estate investing isn't rocket science - average people have been doing it successfully for centuries.

You may have the opportunity too attend a "free" seminar by Than Merrill or some other guru. Go for it - only if to discover what the REAL cost is going to be, as those seminars are not for teaching - they are for selling.

And then, with your eyes open, just come and take a look at "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate." You have nothing to lose. It even includes a new, free Guide to Wholesaling.


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Health Care - Simple, Affordable

First, low income persons are eligible for Medicaid, and as long as that remains in place, that takes care of those people. And the wealthy have no problem getting whatever coverage they desire, so let's not concern ourselves with them. That leaves the rest of us - the folks in the middle who are struggling, but not "poor" enough for Medicaid, nor rich enough to get the best care available at any time, and certainly unable to afford ObamaCare premiums and huge deductibles.

For the rest of us, the solution is simple: make only CATASTROPHIC care available to all, at a reasonable cost - such policies are relatively inexpensive, and people can choose their own deductible, just like car or house insurance. Simply choose a higher deductible to reduce premiums.

The rest of your health care can - and should - be paid by the individual. Preferably, we would be allowed to build tax-free health savings accounts to cover all those minor health costs, like exams, shots etc. Let's have a little personal responsibility, folks! And if the individual has to cover the minor costs of health care, they would have greater incentive to live a healthier lifestyle. There is no excuse for expecting insurance to cover costs for things like condoms, Viagra, or even your annual physical.

Think of it this way - your car insurance pays for major damages and medical for people involved in an accident, but it does not cover gas, oil, tires, registration etc. Same with your homeowner's policy. Health insurance should be the same - designed to cover the BIG things that are otherwise unaffordable.

And policies should be available nationwide, across state lines, to create competition that reduces costs.

Add tort reform and award caps to lower malpractice insurance and voila! Affordable health care made simple.

And those Senators that complain they want to represent the needs of THEIR people? No problem - ALL Americans would have these same options and choices, and each can craft the coverage they need.

To those in the House & Senate - BOTH parties - I suggest if you want to do what is best for the people, and insure your own re-election, stop with all the posturing for dumb reasons like being anti-Trump, or anti one party or the other and get the job done. And above all, understand this SIMPLE concept - health care should NOT be run by the government. I know you love the idea of being in control of such a valuable necessity, but STOP! It is not in the best interests of America.