What do you think about free trading spread betting seminars?

Question: What do you think about free trading seminars that claim to coach you to trade in a couple of days?

I’m a contractor. My current client notified me yesterday that my contract will end in a month’s time. Which is a bit of a blow, but not totally unexpected, so I need to find another client. A pain, but not impossible. However, I don’t see contracting as being a means to an end. It is a short-term thing, which produces quite a lot of money quite quickly. I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life (I’m mid-30’s, and have been doing it for about 7 years), but I don’t know what else to do.

We’ve saved a fair amount recently, and I have seen a number of adverts for organisations such as KnowledgetoAction’s (http://www.knowledgetoaction.co.uk ). From what I can tell then essentially they give you ‘free’ training, sell you some software and you then proceed to trade on some market. I don’t for a second believe that this is as simple or easy as they say, otherwise everyone would be doing it, but what are the catches? I expect that the software will end up costing a few hundred quid, which is a fair investment, and then you are then effectively gambling on the markets. Do you know anyone who have tried this sort of thing? Does it work? Is it incredibly difficult? All a matter of luck? A seriously bad idea, or worth a try?

Answer: Be careful with these “seminars” – I did sign up to one once as it appeared too good to be true (yes, I know…) and although it was “free”. I did some Googling before attending and turned up any amount of horror stories of this particular company (can’t actually remember the name). Seems they give you just a brief taste at the free seminar, then go straight into heavy pressure-selling tactics to sell you the more detailed course and the required literature. Me, I could withstand the selling pressure, but it just sounded like a scam from start to end so I didn’t bother. You can probably get as much information as they will give you free of charge with a few hours in front of the ‘net.

The paid seminars are usually expensive, my friend pays a guy who has been recommended to him about 300 quid a day to come a teach him. The entire outlay including teaching, computers and software was about 3000 quid I believe but now he’s all setup and admittedly doing pretty well mainly betting on currencies…etc I must admit I thought it wasn’t going to work, but it has! He’s making about 200 quid a day from small bets, 10p a point etc. his uncle (who got him into it) is making about 2000-3000 quid a day from 1 pound a point bets! In order to do 10p a point bets, he has 1000 quid in his online account, as collateral if you like.

My advice is stop looking for the easy money – it doesn’t really exist. If you can make money contracting do that and don’t always think the grass is always greener – it isn’t. If you do try good luck but buy books and read, read, read, read, read and read some more. Also study the markets a lot before you make your first move and start out small and don’t get greedy. Although there is no holy grail, a combination of the right attitude to trade the stock market, persistence, a few good books, attending seminars and joining investment communities are all likely to help you in your quest to become a successful trader.

“The reality is that investors and trading who attend education seminars before trading spreadbets still have to learn a significant amount about the products while trading. There is no substitute for experience.”