Emma Lunn

Don’t fall for the so-called ‘wealth gurus’

Anyone can get rich. All you need is a positive mindset and a few quid to hand over to a self-styled ‘guru’ who will teach you the secret to financial freedom.

And who better to instruct you than billionaire Donald Trump? Well, that’s what a bunch of wannabe millionaires in the US thought anyway. They paid up to $35,000 (£28,000) for courses at Trump University (entry requirements: cheque book) where Trump’s ‘hand-picked’ instructors would reveal the ‘secrets’ of real estate (or the property market as we call it in the UK).

When the secrets failed to materialise, three lawsuits alleged that Trump University defrauded students by using misleading marketing practices and engaging in aggressive sales tactics. The president-elect eventually settled the cases out of court for $25 million, claiming he was ‘too busy’ to fight them with, you know, having a country to run and everything.

But it’s not just in the US that desperate people are handing over their hard-earned money to learn how to make their fortune from property. The world of ‘property investment education’ is alive and kicking in the UK too.

Despite radical changes to the buy-to-let tax regime severely affecting landlords’ profits, a number of smooth-talking experts are keen for new investors to pile in.

Progressive Property, for example, repeatedly emails me suggesting ‘turn your house into a hotel’. This will result in 500 per cent more profit than a normal buy-to-let apparently. A click through to the company’s website leads to more dubious claims and a strange obsession with capping up every word in a sentence.

‘Exposed! How Beginners with No Previous Experience are Breaking the Rules, Shocking Professional Investors, Beating Property Price Rises & Making Over £5,000 per month Cashflow,’ it says.

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