Is fortune builders mastery program legit?

316 Replies

@Kathie Barbella ,

Sorry to disappoint - I also chose not to invest in the mastery program when I attended the 3-day.

I am, however, connected with another education program. So, let me give my perspective from that background.

As it was "sold" to me, Mastery is more about building the investing business than it is about REI education. That would be a good thing if - and ONLY if - you'd already been through a comprehensive education program like the one I am connected with. Too many people try to go out and flub their way through on trial-and-error based on their interpretation of BP forums and blog posts, guru freebie sessions and other sources of information. When it comes to actually building the business, however, they're not prepared to be entrepreneurs - they're still just average consumers, at best: trying to "save" their way to success (DIY Vs. hiring it out, for example) instead of investing in income-producing ventures and projects.

If it was up to me and I could resell both programs as one continuum, I would make it 6 to 12 months of studying the education and beginning field work including fix-and-flips combined with training in entrepreneurship and self-mastery, then into FB Mastery with perhaps some prep work so they're prepared for all the business stuff FB is going to throw at them. Their profits from fix-and-flips would pay off their education and build money toward Mastery.

I would target students with little or no college as well as experienced folks looking to hone their approach.

My $0.02...

Disclosure: I currently have no relationship of any kind with Than Merrill or FortuneBuilders.

@Kathie Barbella I am in the FB Mastery feel free to reach out to me. I can tell her first hand its one of the best investment I have made. I have owned a few other companies in my life an I can tell you I would 100% invested my time and money into any coaching program that had systems in place like FB for any business. Mistakes in any business can break you. In real estate a mistake can have very large consequences. I will say this, you still have to implement the different strategies to be successful, if you don't it is a big waste of money like anything. You are going to get out what you put in, its that simple. I'm not claiming to be a guru but last I check we have over 12k members across north america all with different levels of experience. Last I will say this the people in the group are by far the best group of amazing people I have ever been around. I have formed relationships that will last a lifetime with this group.

I bought the courses and it worked out for me. I need spoon feeding and that's what they do. Sorry if I can't just pick up a book and then do it.  It's good for networking, just like being a realtor.  I've done over 20 deals, wholesaled, flipped and am looking at a couple of buy and holds. Yep $25k is a load of money but it's tax deductible and it focuses you. Hey I even paid off my first student loans. It's  working for me but I wouldn't suggest it to everyone because like the guy above said a lot of people buy the stuff and don't even open the package. 

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

Yep $25k is a load of money but it's tax deductible... 

If that's what the gurus told you, they're probably lying...

If you're not yet a real estate investor and are taking the courses to become an investor (which I imagine most people are), then this is not education to advance your current career, and it likely not tax deductible.  You can't deduct education expenses for education in a new field, only in your CURRENT field.

Additionally, even if you are a successful investor already when you take the courses, there are likely limits on how much you can deduct -- I'd be willing to bet that you can't deduct anywhere near the full $25K.

Hopefully you have a qualified accountant to guide you on this issue, and let's be careful about giving tax advice that you're getting from real estate gurus...

Note: I'm not a tax professional, so feel free to ignore me and go get the advice of someone who is...

J Scott That's not what the gurus told me, it's what my cpa told me, he's expensive as well.  btw I can write off 100% Do you need his number?

Do it, don't do I don't care, sounds like your advising on what not to do. I never endorsed anything. I just said what it did for me.

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

J Scott That's not what the gurus told me, it's what my cpa told me, he's expensive as well.  btw I can write off 100% Do you need his number?

Do it, don't do I don't care, sounds like your advising on what not to do. I never endorsed anything. I just said what it did for me.

You might want to send this to your accountant:

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html

".... However, even if the education meets either of these tests, the education cannot be part of a program that will qualify you for a new trade or business..."

Doesn't matter how much your guy charges, the regulation above still applies to him and his clients.  The fact is, high-priced accountants don't get their own set of tax laws.

Btw, how expensive your accountant is generally is not a reflection of how much s/he knows.  I've used accountants that cost hundreds of dollars per year, I've used accountants that cost thousands of dollars per year and have paid nearly $10K in a single year for a single tax professional -- the $10K woman knew less about certain tax topics than my much less expensive guys (but she knew a LOT about a particular tax area that I was focused on).

And that's why I currently use multiple tax professionals -- I have one that handles all my real estate businesses and one that handles my other businesses.  The one that knows real estate doesn't know other stuff as well and vice-versa.

If your tax person is giving you advice that directly contradicts IRS regulation, I highly recommend you find a new tax person.  Given that a $25K education expense is something that is probably more likely to get scrutinized than your typical expense -- and given that your CPA isn't the one who will be audited -- it's worth keeping in mind.  Or, at very least, getting another opinion...

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

Do you need his number?

And yes, feel free to send me his number.  I'd love to chat with him.  If he's more knowledgeable than my current tax guy, I'd be happy to switch...

In fact, why not post his number here so that everyone on this thread can have the benefit.  I'm sure your tax guy would appreciate the exposure...

@Tim Hall as is usually the case, @J Scott is right on the money. Since I have letters behind my name, maybe you'll listen to what I say even though I'm just repeating what J Scott already told you.

Unless you are already a real estate investor in some capacity, you cannot write off the education that teaches you to become a real estate investor. Further, if you own rentals but take a course to learn about wholesaling and you have never previously wholesaled a deal, the cost of that course in non-deductible.

In general, education expenses are deductible if (1) the studies maintain or improve your skills in your current business or (2) you are required to take the courses to keep your present job. However, you generally cannot deduct these expenses if the courses (1) qualify you for a new trade or business or (2) satisfy the minimum requirements for your current position.

In fact, here's a great case you should read that covers the exact same thing you are talking about in which the taxpayer was audited and denied a $21k real estate education write-off: THOMAS J. WOODY v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE (2009)

Highly, highly recommend getting back in touch with your accountant and asking him/her WHY you are allowed to take the write-off. There could be a good explanation, but if you weren't already in the trade or business I'd be VERY skeptical of what he/she tells you. It will be very painful to have to pay back taxes, penalties, and CPA/Attorney court time as a result of this.

I'd love to share but can't on this thread because it would be promotional but I can definitely pm you his number. I know you would be amazed at what he can save you.  I know I was. Brandon Hall thanks for the insight I am, was, have been and will be for ever more a real estate dealer. I write everything off because I can and should and if nothing else the $25k was worth paying just to find this guy. 

Thank you all, it is a pleasure, as always, to talk with you guys.

I do feel a little ganged up on here. I know that we are all learning and this is a good thing. 

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

I do feel a little ganged up on here. I know that we are all learning and this is a good thing. 

No reason to feel ganged-up on...  If anything, you're getting free tax advice from a licensed tax professional, which could potentially save you (or others) from audits, penalties, fines, etc.  

That's a good thing!

Thanks for the tax advice but i'll keep paying my guy to do what he does best, save me money.  I've had cpa's before that are not specific to real estate and lost money because of it. Don't save pennies just to lose dollars.   

Originally posted by @Ryan M. :

I have to share this:

At a garage sale in Florida this year I found a Carleton Sheets program (CDs, Videos, Books) all in the orginal packaging with the plastic still wrapped around it. The person had a price of $6 on it, talked them to $2. Then went through the stuff and sold it on ebay for $18.

 And I bet he orginally sold it to the public for $1,000 for the program. I had one of his agents call me and was all pissed off I was not interested. I had been taken once by the DaveDelDott program long ago and said no more! You can make a killing selling seminar programs then having to go though the pain of finding one investment property per month!

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

Thanks for the tax advice but i'll keep paying my guy to do what he does best, save me money.  I've had cpa's before that are not specific to real estate and lost money because of it. Don't save pennies just to lose dollars.   

So, the fact that the IRS regulations (and what other tax professionals are telling you) clearly contradict the advice you got from your CPA doesn't concern you?

Just curious, but do you believe the regulation I posted above is not accurate (despite it being published by the IRS) or that it doesn't apply to you (if so, can you indicate why) or that there's some loophole that your CPA knows about (if so, can you share it)?

I find it weird that when you get information from your CPA that conflicts with IRS regulation, you don't even question it.  You are obviously welcome to do what you want, but I can promise you that if/when the IRS audits you, the excuse, "I just believed what my CPA told me," won't be acceptable to them...

I know a lot of people who have lost a lot of money because they blindly believed everything a guru told them, or everything an attorney told them, or everything a tax professional told them, etc.  Like I said, that's your choice, but as someone who has had a lot of success in both business and real estate, I can tell you that blindly believing anyone based on their perceived credentials is a recipe for trouble...

I absolutely believe the regulation that you posted, why would you lie. I also believe that my cpa also knows what he's doing. Thanks for the concern. 

Originally posted by @Tim Hall :

I absolutely believe the regulation that you posted, why would you lie. I also believe that my cpa also knows what he's doing. Thanks for the concern. 

Cool...that's certainly your choice...  Good luck to you!

For others reading this thread, this is a great lesson -- this is how the gurus can continue to charge tens of thousands of dollars for material that's not worth anywhere near that amount.  People just assume that because they are "experts" that they must "know what they're doing."  Even when there is irrefutable evidence to the contrary...

People are either too fearful or too lazy to think for themselves (even when the facts can't be missed); and to avoid having to think, they are willing to entrust their livelihood to others.  This is not a recipe for success...

If nothing else, at least this thread provides a great cautionary tale...

Education is a MUST! How can you sell a widget if you don't know the game that widgets are sold in? Would you not go to the widget master to find information of importance? Sorry to hear the negative chatter but it is understandable. We have a local group of people that are Mastery students that meet once a month in our area. Not only can we share and learn from this but we have our education site that will answer any question we can think of and get a response for those questions that need specific advice from the home office where deals are made every day on a level that few have obtained without actual EXPERIENCE.  Costly.......YES, but so was my degree in Marketing and Management from an accredited college in Tennessee. That bill has been paid and so will this one from the proceeds that come from the knowledge obtained while learning!!!  FYI...my college never game me any additional tools (real flow, tax support, business support, coaching calls or legal advice) that I could use at a minutes notice. FYI.....hit the ground running, throw the stuff against the wall and see what works, or make an educated guess from people that are your superiors from years of eeking by for a pay check have never been real profitable. I do know what I know, now, from my education and my decisions to learn my past trade that the tools you have in your arsenal can make or break your business decisions. Yes, I'll agree that Fortune Builders is a costly decision! However, it works, it pays off and it was the best thing that I have found to make our business grow without COSTLY mistakes!!! I promise you, trial and error is no place to be if the stakes of making a profit get down to only a small margin and you are not sure!

Originally posted by @Kenneth Jones :

However, it works, it pays off and it was the best thing that I have found to make our business grow without COSTLY mistakes!!! 

Based on your profile and the posts you made a couple weeks ago, you're just getting started in this business and preparing to do your first deal. 

So, how much exactly has your business grown so far?

@Kenneth Jones

What amount of business are you doing here in Memphis aside form maybe wholesaling or bird dogging?  Was that class/course worth $25k ?  If yes then it doesnt matter what anyone else says.  I know for this type of guru education you either have to pay all cash or put it on a credit card as there is no student loan for this.  I hope you pay it off very soon.

Heck, if you find any deals that are good let me know, I might buy one from you sometime!

Good luck

Actually, quite rapidly! There are four contracts on the table and two more to look at on Saturday. My hurdle has been to find hard money lenders now that the property sites are being evaluated. This is a major hurdle even though we have the ability to do certain properties but not all at one time. Not all are worth the time or effort to pursue even though offers were made. YES, mistakes have been made and I personally know I lost one due to under bidding, but the numbers really did not work for what the seller wanted and it was a case where a cash offer really didn't matter because all family members were well off and didn't need the money in any certain time frame. I still keep in contact with this seller and he has not had any success with this property so my hopes have not been vanquished!!! Since I have owned several businesses in the past, this is NOT my first rodeo, only a different horse. I use what is available to me through the program and my phone is ringing!

This thread seems to have a few different topics going on. On the topic of Fortune Builders worth 25k, I would say no. I can't see how a real estate seminar is worth then my 4 year degree. For 25k down on a 30 yr mortgage, you can purchase a Turnkey home from me, fly into town and I will spend the entire weekend with you and teach you everything you need to know about buying single family homes. I will introduce you to multiple professionals of attorney's, leasing agents, property managers and we will even walk through some of our homes with tenants in place. You can pick their mind to of their expectation. At least doing this route, you are learning by doing it and making money too instead of paying for someone to teach you. The best way to learn is to do (all be it with the right people). Or go to your local REIA. That is how I started and I got so many people that I still keep in contact today who gave me free advice; well, not all free, one guy made be right a check for $50 to St. Jude for 2 hours of his time, but he paid for my lunch.

@Curt Davis   there are finance companies that will finance student education.. it does not have to be credit card or cash.. I find that paper would be highly risky though..

@J Scott   Excellent post about blindly following any professionals advice.. When it comes to the law of the land.. I have learned that the hard way over the years.. Generally though you get good advice from credentialed people.. however credentialed people are people after all and they all have their opinions,, there are many CPA's that will push the envelope and many that are probably too conservative.. ETC etc. 

SO......YOU learned it the hard way OVER THE YEARS HUH? Well, I don't have years to learn or the patience any more. Hard facts and advice go a long way. Let me ask you, do you have the knowledge of Bill Gates? He is pretty much the investing guru out there right now and an advisor to the three men that lead our Mastery program. I'll cut one pants leg off to put that advice in the two remaining pants pockets any time!

Originally posted by @Kenneth Jones :

SO......YOU learned it the hard way OVER THE YEARS HUH? Well, I don't have years to learn or the patience any more. Hard facts and advice go a long way. Let me ask you, do you have the knowledge of Bill Gates? He is pretty much the investing guru out there right now and an advisor to the three men that lead our Mastery program. I'll cut one pants leg off to put that advice in the two remaining pants pockets any time!

Bill Gates is an advisor to the three guys that lead your Mastery Program?  What are their names -- I'd love to hear more about this?  

I worked for Microsoft for 10 years (while Gates was there) and know a lot about the work that he does -- he does very little "advisory" work outside of his own foundations, and he does very little in the area of real estate outside of his own firm -- Cascade Investment -- which is run by his money manager, Michael Larson.

Just like the guy I was going back and forth with above -- don't believe everything the so-called "experts" tell you...

That said, to answer your question, I certainly don't have the knowledge of Bill Gates.  But, I've worked with him (and I've played poker with him :), and I'm pretty sure that gets me closer than any FB coaches.

So, what are their names?  If they're being advised by Gates, I'm sure there's plenty of public information about their relationship...

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here