Announcer: Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman, President of Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa, California.  During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.

Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.  He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities.  This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom.  You really can do it.  And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the complete solution for real estate investors.

Jason Hartman: This is Jason Hartman and welcome to Creating Wealth Show No. 74.  It’s great that you’re with us today.  We’ve got a great show for you today.  We’ve got a lot of other great shows coming up.  We’ve recorded so many of them and we’ve got many great guests, so stay tuned and keep on listening.  You’ll learn a lot as time goes on.

So today, we’re going to talk to Steven Vanderhoof, founder of the Credit Exchange, and he’s going to talk to you about how to get a bailout on your personal financing, not related directly to real estate or your mortgage relief.  Not loan auditing and loan modification as we’ve talked about on past shows and we’ve got a couple more of those shows coming up as well.  But he’s going to talk about consumer debt, auto loans, credit card debt, how to manage debt better, how debt sort of became an issue in our society, and all about that.  So we’ll go to that interview here in a moment.

But first, I wanted to have – I’ve got Lorene here with me.  Hi, Lorene.

Lorene: Hi, Jason.

Jason Hartman: You’ve been on the show before.  It’s great to have you back.  And Lorene is one of our business development coordinators here at Platinum Properties Investor Network in Costa Mesa.  And we wanted to talk about some of these bailout issues.  Now, I want all of our listeners to understand that we’re in a bit of a moral hazard here, a moral and ethical quagmire because it presents a real problem for us.

On one hand, if you are anything like me, I am sure you are totally disappointed with the way these fat cats on Wall Street take tens of millions, if not more, of dollars out of their companies, run them into the ground, they pay off politicians and lobbyists and so forth to make it all possible, and then the company goes down the tubes.  The shareholders get burned and they just get a big bailout.  From an ethical basis, this just really gets me angry, very angry.  I tell you, I’m fed up with it.  Bailing out these people who seem to get paid to act irresponsibly.

There’s a great book that I read many years ago, back in the ’80s.  It’s called The Greatest Management Principle in the World.  Fantastic little book.  I’d highly recommend it.  The main point of the book was this great saying.  It’s a great quote, so remember this one.  He always said, “What gets rewarded gets repeated.”

And unfortunately, in our society, what seems to be rewarded is irresponsibility and lack of accountability.  So our moral hazard and our ethical problem here is that we don’t know what to do because we want to bring you the best information, where you can profit, where you can succeed financially, where you can save money, where you can make money, where you can profit.

So at two ends of the stick here, we don’t know exactly where to go with this, except to just tell you where our head is at because several people here at our office, not the least of which is Teri, a highly ethical investment counselor here at our company, just gets really angry and if you know Teri, Teri never gets angry.  But when we had a speaker at our Master’s Weekend talking about loan modifications, she just got upset.  I said Teri, I’ve never seen you mad before.  It’s kind of neat actually.  I’m sure you’re listening to this by the way.

So the problem is this.  We don’t like this from a moral standpoint the way people are just getting rewarded to be irresponsible.  However, the whole world seems to be doing it and if there’s something out there that can save you money or make you money, we have a fiduciary obligation to you to tell you about it.  We want to bring you the latest and greatest financial information.

So you be the judge.  You decide what you need to do to feel right, to sleep at night.  We’re just giving you information here and we are in a bailout culture, and when I introduced the speaker at Master’s Weekend a few weeks ago, I titled the session, “Dude, Where’s my Bailout?” because on the institutional level, all these fat cats on Wall Street, these irresponsible companies, they’re getting bailouts left and right.  It is disgusting.  I hate it.  I totally hate it.  It is morally wrong.

And then you see it on the individual level.  You see where people have lived in much more expensive houses than they really ever deserved, than they could ever qualify for, and then they put their hands up and they blame it on predatory lending.  Now, look.  On balance, there is some true predatory lending out there and I don’t want to minimize that.  But it’s just my opinion, by and large, a lot of people are getting a free ride and that really bothers me.

One of our clients and guests that has been on the show before, Dr. Mark MacVay, talks about how he wants to write a book called, The Myth of the Free Lunch.  And I think we are moving into a time with our new president here over the next four years and maybe over the next eight years, who knows, where we will see this culture becoming more and more popular, the culture of victimization, the culture of “it’s not my fault,” pass the buck, it’s someone else’s fault, someone else should pay to give me a free ride, because by and large, on the left side of the aisle, that is the philosophy.  Get paid for something you didn’t earn.  So if that rubs you wrong politically, I’m sorry, but that’s the way I see it.

So Lorene, I know you’re giving me some funny smirks over there.  See?  Can you believe my candor here?

Lorene: You’re good.  Just say it like it is, Jason.

Jason Hartman: Well, that’s the way I see it anyway.

Lorene: That’s how I like to see it.

Jason Hartman: You gotta be a little controversial or no one thinks you’re interesting, right?  So Lorene, we’ve got three articles that we just posted on our blog at www.jasonhartman.com and I just wanted to have Lorene share some snippets of these articles, some quick excerpts, and you can go and read the full articles at www.jasonhartman.com.  Click on Education, then click on Blog, and you can see it there.  So Lorene, tell us about the articles.

Lorene: Okay, the first article was posted November 4, Daily Mortgage Housing News.  It’s called “The Real Story” form Mr. Mortgage, his personal opinion, and he says, “Oh my.  Friends, get ready to default on your mortgage on purpose.  The first chatter about the government sponsored loan modification initiative has surfaced from Paul Jackson at Housing Wire and what a disaster it is.  I’ve been telling you guys for months that a homeowner bailout is coming, but this is unlike anything I ever expected.  It actually encourages mortgage holders of all paper grades to default.  This is better than a pay-option ARM because the monthly payments are zero.”

Jason Hartman: You don’t have to pay.  Wow!  Everybody should get a free house.  Well, we’ll go to the free house thing after we give them free healthcare.  You know what’s so funny, Lorene, about political life today in America is that everybody thinks stuff can just be created out of thin air.  It’s as if someone else isn’t paying for that in some way.  I mean it’s just crazy.  By the way, just so you know, this Mr. Mortgage article is entitled, so you can find it on the blog easily, “No More Mortgage Payments Soon; Get Ready to Default.”  Okay, go ahead, Lorene.

Lorene: “Why not default when you get to skip three years of mortgage payments and pay the government back five years from now at the Fed Funds rate?  The new bailout, No Mortgage Payments, the plan is to fully subsidize millions of borrowers’ mortgage payments for three years.  The program is predicated upon the housing market improving within the next five years.  This is a really bad assumption to make because it could only shed some light on the Fed’s inflation expectations.”

Jason Hartman: And so what that means there is that when you have a bunch of bailouts, remember the government is creating money out of thin air.  Today, they just increased the amount they’re giving to AIG, the insurance company.  Folks, where do we think that money comes from?  Ching, ching, crank, crank, crank.  Crank up the printing press.  Turn on the printing press and create some more fake money out of thin air.  Everyone that has money, their money becomes progressively worth less.  That means inflation, which will wipe out your debts.  Actually, what debts?  Based on the article, right?

Lorene: Right.  “This plan may help borrowers deleverage temporarily, but will not help the broader housing market.  It just kicks the default can down the road several years.  But what about the person with a lot of equity, who can’t get cash out and refinance due to a lack of financing?  Instead of selling at what he perceives to be a low, he can default and get a government loan.  This plan will pay his mortgage payment, which he pockets at a rate of 1 percent or less for five years.  This is the best cash-out refi plan I’ve ever seen.  He can use the savings to buy a rental or second vacation home.  Or what about the family barely making their monthly payments, who would never have defaulted?  This gives them an easy way to ease the pain quickly by putting off all of their payments on the back end, like a pay option ARM.”

Jason Hartman: You know what is amazing and I’ve been predicting this for a while now.  Think about it, folks.  Think about this.  If you don’t pay your taxes, you go to prison.  If the government holds your mortgage and you don’t pay your mortgage, what do they do then?  I say that the government will not want to be seen as kicking people out of their houses.  So you’re going to see lots of stories and hear lots of stories over the next few years about people, “woe is me, poor me.”  You’re going to hear them on NPR and on all the public broadcasting and all the newspapers and so forth.  The media is going to glom onto these pictures.  “Oh, it’s so terrible that the government is going to foreclose on my house.”

I mean the government holds millions of mortgages.  What are they going to do when people don’t pay them?  It’s a real sticky situation.  That’s why these bailouts are a huge moral hazard.

Lorene: They say the housing boom was a Ponzi fraud.  They now realize that the entire housing boom was artificial, brought on by exotic mortgage loan programs and leverage that were only available for a brief number of years and that will never exist again.  Most of the loan programs contain fraud because the way the programs were structured.  They endorsed it.  Ultimate affordability through creative financing made it so that everyone in the nation earns a minimum of $150,000.00 a year, and housing prices reacted accordingly.”

Jason Hartman: So what you had here is you had an expansion of easy credit, creating house prices that were totally artificial.  Of course, we need to make the comment again, folks, and I know you regular listeners have said that, all real estate is local.  So that was certainly true in Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, many of these overpriced bubble markets, the Northeastern States in the U.S. here, Hawaii, etc.  But in the markets we recommend, in the 39 markets around the U.S. that we here at Platinum Properties Investor Network recommend, those markets never saw these huge appreciation rates.  So those are solid markets, what we call linear markets.

And by the way, Lorene, congratulations on your new rental property in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lorene: Thank you very much.

Jason Hartman: Tell us about your deal, by the way.

Lorene: Oh, yes.  I was able to close very quickly.  I was able to get a loan, so it’s still out there.  It’s still available.

Jason Hartman: How much did you have to put down?

Lorene: I was able to get 10 percent down.

Jason Hartman: Wow, lucky you.

Lorene: Yes, so it is still available and I am very excited and will have a tenant in the property very soon.

Jason Hartman: Good, excellent.  Tell us more.

Lorene: “Unsuspecting buyers, who really earned $150,000.00, bought homes under fraudulent conditions and are now under 50 percent underwater in their homes, paying the price.  They will be asking for a bailout as well.  However, they should get one.  All of this being said, after seeing what the government has in mind, I’m convinced that the housing market collapse, price depreciation, and foreclosure disaster will be with us much longer than they think.  At least five years.”

And we have another article by Paul Jackson, which is titled, “Feds May Be Considering Subsidy on Troubled Mortgages.”  “When it comes to the idea that the Treasury’s tarp funds may be used to manage a bailout of troubled mortgages, all options are still on the table.  The only thing that most of us really know is that plans under consideration have been stuck in the negotiating room for some time.

“The proposal outlines the mechanics of a mortgage bailout that would cost as much $441 billion, relying primarily on the three-year borrower subsidy, which would be repaid in five years with interest.  Upon receipt of a notice of default on an owner occupancy primary residence, a homeowner could apply to participate in a program under which the government would fully subsidize three years mortgage payments in exchange for a note to be paid in a lump sum five years from receipt of the first payment subsidy, equal to the payment subsidized, plus interest accrued at the Federal Funds rate.”

Jason Hartman: This is so ridiculous, it is insane.  I mean you know, Lorene, it’s almost like this is comedy.  I can’t believe this is actually happening.  What has happened in the financial world in the last few months is insanity.  I mean that’s insane what’s going on.  It’s just everybody’s getting a free ride.

Lorene: Right.  “In five years time, participants would in all likelihood be able to sell their homes or refinance their mortgages at amounts that would allow them to repay the loan.”

Jason Hartman: Oh, my gosh, that’s crazy.  What about the Peter Schiff article?  Did you talk about that one?

Lorene: “No mortgage payments; monetary inflation’s paying my debt, sound good?  Just stop paying your mortgage says Peter Schiff, October 10.  If you are a mortgage holder, who is either struggling with crushing payments, bitter for having overpaid for your home during the bubble, or who have extravagantly refinanced when prices were rising, the government’s landmark $700 billion bailout package is an important message for you.”

Jason Hartman: Which really at the start was about $850 billion with a “B.”  Remember we’re almost at a trillion dollars for that bailout, which is probably going to cost twice that.  It will probably be a $1.5 trillion bailout.  I mean they’re already asking for more money.  Obama’s going to do another stimulus check or Bush might do it before he goes.  And that’s just going to turn on the printing press, create more fake money out of thin air.  Inflation, inflation, inflation is coming.

Now, I want to make a distinction by the way, Lorene, before you go on about inflation because I’ve been forgetting to mention this to our listeners.  It’s very confusing now.  We’re going to talk a lot more about inflation versus deflation because right now, we’re in a situation where you might think we have deflation, but I want you to be very careful and notice that really what you’re seeing is you’re seeing massive monetary inflation, where the monetary base is going through the roof.  There is so much money in circulation.  I talked about that on last week’s show.

But also, notice that the things we don’t need are the things deflating and the things we really need are the things still inflating.  So when you look at food prices, you look at the price of gas, I know it’s down from where it was ten months ago or eight months ago, but it’s still way high compared to where it was just before that.  We saw a big increase.  So it’s only off huge highs.  It’s not really that cheap.  I remember when gas was $.28 a gallon.  Now everybody thinks it’s a steal if it’s $2.90 a gallon.

And you’re seeing deflation in a lot of assets, stocks, and things that we don’t need, but inflation in things we still need and we’re going to see a lot more inflation in the future.  We’re going to talk more about that in future shows.  I’m interviewing Harry Dent tomorrow.  I know I’ve been talking about him for a while and we’re going to get his show up probably here in the next week as well.

What else you got?

Lorene: It continues to say, “Furthermore, if you believe that with some planning and sacrifice, you may be able to meet your mortgage obligations.  The government’s message is clear:  relax and don’t bother.”

Jason Hartman: This is insane.  Okay, go ahead.

Lorene: When a financial institution holds a mortgage, homeowners must live with the fear of foreclosure.  Private institutions only have obligations to shareholders.  In the case of a defaulting borrower, they will look to recover as much of their principle as possible.  If foreclosure is their best option, they will take it in a heartbeat.  The government has no such obligations.  Its only goal is to keep voters happy.  After supposedly bailing out the fat cats on Wall Street, no politician wants to be accused of evicting a struggling family.  Once you understand this, your anxiety should all melt away.  Why pay your mortgage if foreclosure is on the table and if you know that lower payments and possibly a reduced amount would result?  A tarnished credit rating is a small price to pay for such a benefit.”

Jason Hartman: It is really scary.  I mean this is very bad for society when suddenly – if you can’t expect people to live up to the terms of a contract they signed, in other words, their loan documents, the terms of the loan, you have anarchy.  You have collapse of society because everybody has got to depend on the other side of any transaction to live up to their part of the bargain and that’s the moral hazard here.  It’s really weird what’s going on.

Lorene: “If your mortgage does become the property of Uncle Sam, the growing popular impulse to just walk away should be replaced by just stay and stop paying.  No one will throw you out.  After a few months or years of living payment free, you will get a call from the motivated government agent eager to adjust your loan into something affordable.

“To bolster your bargaining position, it will help to be able to claim poverty.  As a result, if you have any savings, spend it soon before they call.  Buy a bigger TV, new wardrobe, or better yet, take a vacation.  After the hardship of spending all of your refi cash, you probably deserve it.  If you have any guilt, just remember Washington argues that consumer spending is the best way to stimulate the economy.  Living beyond your means is a patriotic duty.”

Jason Hartman: Oh, my gosh.  What has it come to, folks?  I can’t believe this kind of advice actually makes sense.  It’s crazy.  Think about it.  The last few decades, our government, our crazy politicians actually thought that you could create an economy through debt and consumption.  That is not an economy.  I have news.  Economies are built on production and prudent consumption and capital consumption.  That’s what debt should be used for is creation of capital goods.  Yes, use debt to buy good rental properties, but we were just not as rich as we thought we were in America.  And that’s what we’ve got to come to terms with.

The other thing about this is look at the relativity issue.  A lot of people saying I can’t afford my house or I’m getting kicked out of my house or whatever, blah, blah, blah.  The point is what house did you really deserve?  Did you deserve a four- or five-bedroom, 3,000 square foot house that’s brand new?  Or did you really deserve a two-bedroom condo that’s 12, 15, 20, 30 years old?  That’s the question.  It’s not “house” like it’s some sort of fixed thing.  It’s what type of house.  What is the real thing that was really deserved by that person?  And what is the real wealth that we, as Americans, have built in our economy.  When inflation, when the creation of money outpaces the gross domestic product of a country, you have a recipe for massive inflation.

So we’re going to see a lot of inflation and remember; inflation destroys the value of our equity in real estate.  Equity is bad.  We don’t like equity.  Neither do these articles by the way because if you have equity, you’re not getting a bailout.  So it destroys the value of our savings, it destroys the value of our stocks, our bonds, our home equity, but it also, thankfully, destroys the value of our debts.  So debts can be used in a very prudent fashion.  Use them prudently.  They can really work for you because I say over the next few years, inflation will pay them off.

Let’s go to our interview talking about consumer debt now.  Thank you for listening.  By the way, a couple things coming up.  Be sure to check out the new section that is going up on our website, a couple new sections.  No.1, we’ve been getting a lot of good feedback on the blog.  These articles Lorene was sharing with us are on the blog in full form, www.jasonhartman.com.

Also, we’ve got a new Members Only section coming up.  It will only take about ten seconds to create your membership account.  It’s totally free, while supplies last.  That section will entitle you to all sorts of private material, special materials.  Our guests that we interview, like the next one, are contributing great new materials, whether it be video content, audio content, written content, Power Point presentations that they do, Power Point presentations from many of our speakers from the Master’s Weekend, which, by the way, people paid $1,000.00 for those tickets.  Those will be in the Members Only section, so check that out.

Also, we’ve got a new Bookstore section.  A lot of people have been asking.  They’ve been listening to the show, especially Steve Grossman, by the way.  I appreciate your suggestion, Steve.  You gotta get a bookstore, Jason.  What books do you read?  Where do you get your information?  So Rob, one of our tech guys and web developers, has set up a new Bookstore on the website and I’m going to constantly be adding books that I like and have read and recommend to you on the website as well.  So check those out at www.jasonhartman.com.  Thanks for joining us and here’s the interview.

Interview with Steve Vanderhoof

Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Steve Vanderhoof of The Credit Exchange.  Steve is the CEO of that company and he is America’s personal finance coach.  Steve, glad to have you on the show.

Steve Vanderhoof: Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Jason Hartman: Good.  So tell us about the financial problem the world is facing and we’re going to talk today about what your company can do about it.

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, I think you could trace every financial problem that we have to a gross mismanagement of credit and debt right now, and from the point of inception of the United States through to 1971, Jason, we were a surplus nation, meaning we were debt-free and we actually owned more than we owe.  And the national savings rate in the country was always in the positive.  Each generation had done better than the previous generation and also, our currency was operated to a gold standard, which meant that for every dollar in circulation, there was a dollar worth of gold to back that dollar.

And this worked for several reasons.  Population growth equates roughly 3 percent per year and in order to add more money to the money supply, we had to add to our gold reserves in equal proportion, which equated to about 3 percent per year in domestic mining, which also fell in line with the average standard of living increase, which also came in at 3 percent per year.

Jason Hartman: So everything was on an equilibrium back then before Nixon took us off the Bretton Woods Gold Standard in ’71.

Steve Vanderhoof: Absolutely and because there were no quick fix solutions to our monetary challenges, we as a country were a lot more responsible with our fiscal policies and this was something we took great pride in, and as a result, we became the wealthiest nation on the planet.

But then something happened.  Like you said, in 1971, we were removed from the gold standard.  Simultaneously was the birth of credit cards, which really began as department store credit cards.  Do you remember those?

Jason Hartman: Yes, I do.  Those were some of the first I had when I turned 18.  Now, were there any credit cards in the ’60s and the ’50s at all?

Steve Vanderhoof: There was, but they were rare.  It wasn’t as massively distributed.  I think it was really reserved for the wealthy.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, okay.  Go ahead.

Steve Vanderhoof: So simultaneously, the birth of credit cards and for the first time in our country’s history, we began to take on federal debt.  And there are several theories as to the “why” of it, but that would be a whole other show in and of itself.  But what I can tell you is that since then, we’ve added 600 percent to our money supply compared to 90 percent in the previous 30 years.  We’ve also taken on $11 trillion in federal debt and proportionately, each household has taken on about the same, which is to say we currently owe over $980 billion in credit card debt, $2 trillion in consumer debt, and $9 trillion in mortgage debt.

Jason Hartman: And don’t forget to mention that we have a huge entitlement problem coming our way, which I call the $60 trillion problem over the next three decades or so with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

Steve Vanderhoof: It seems like a pretty big challenge.

Jason Hartman: It’s a pretty big number.

Steve Vanderhoof: And it would also be worth noting here that the median income adjusted for inflation through that same period of time basically flat lined, roughly $46,000.00 a year, and our income has really not increased in proportion with the amount of debt that we’ve accumulated in that same period of time.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, when you look at it in real dollars, you’re absolutely right.  And that’s why I think so many Americans are so disgruntled nowadays.  Even though it would appear on the face of it that they have a better life because they have more gadgets and cell phones and flat screen TVs and all that stuff, but a lot of them are really in big debt over that, right?

Steve Vanderhoof: Absolutely, and one of the most troubling parts of it for me, Jason, is the basic law of free market capitalism and that is supply and demand set prices.  As you know, the more buying there is, prices go up, and the more selling there is, prices go down.  But what does it mean if the money never existed in the first place to buy all these goods?  So in other words, it’s borrowed or created out of thin air.  And because our income cannot support the debt, then we begin to see waves of massive defaults on what’s owed, which, of course, causes prices to spiral downward.

And the million-dollar question right now, Jason, becomes where would prices really be if all the buying had not occurred?

Jason Hartman: That’s an interesting point because the expansion of easy credit has caused a lot of inflation, of course, and so now we’re seeing a contraction of credit and we’re seeing in some parts, not in all parts of the economy, some real deflation.  But in other parts, we’re seeing inflation at the same time and I kind of think we have inflation, deflation, and a little stagflation sprinkled on the top.  It’s a weird time we’re in.  It’s a scary time, no question about it.

Steve Vanderhoof: It really is and so that’s why with the deflationary economy prices are beginning to adjust to their real value or deflating.

Jason Hartman: So if you had to choose one body to place the blame on for our current financial crisis, who has the greatest blame?

Steve Vanderhoof: And that’s a really good question.  The easiest thing for all of us to do would be to cast blame on the government for allowing this to happen or the banks for predatory lending driven by greed, which may or may not be true.  The problem with this line of thinking, Jason, is if we believe they created the problem, then we’re going to wait for them to fix it.

Jason Hartman: That’s a really good point.  It makes us a victim, doesn’t it?  I mean if I’m going to blame someone, Steve, I’m going to blame Alan Greenspan more than any other single person alive.  But you’re right.  You can’t focus on the blame.  You can’t curse the darkness.  You’ve got to light a candle.  So you’re going to share with us a way out.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yes, I am.

Jason Hartman: I’m looking forward to it.

Steve Vanderhoof: So if we give away our power to make a necessary change, then there’s really no way that we’re going to be able to get out of this ourselves.  And to answer the question of whose fault it is, Jason, I think it’s our fault.  It’s mine, it’s yours, it’s each and every consumer, who signed up for the buy-now-and-pay-later program.

Jason Hartman: Right, instant gratification.

Steve Vanderhoof: Absolutely.  We borrowed the money.  No one forced us to do it.  Now it’s time to pay it back and quite frankly, we’re not really happy about it and we’re hoping that the government or banks will somehow be able to erase what we owe.  And to me, that’s about the worst thing that can happen because to hope for that means to change the very monetary infrastructure that made our country so great in the first place, which is free market capitalism and not to move toward a socialistic structure, which would strip us from our freedom.  I don’t know about you, Jason, but I’d rather be broke and free than rich and lose my power of my choice.

Jason Hartman: I completely agree with you, Steve.  However, I think in the instant of the problem, most Americans will give up freedom to have things.

Steve Vanderhoof: That’s a frightful thought.

Jason Hartman: It certainly is.  What happened to our founding fathers and statements like, “Give me liberty or give me death?”  It’s just a different world we live in nowadays.  We’ve all gotten a little soft here, no question about it.  Well, Steve, if you had to choose one factor that we as consumers will have to face in light of the growing financial crisis, what would that be?

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, Jason, if we can agree that it’s debt that caused the bulk of our economic problems, then we must also agree that getting rid of the debt can be our only solution.  So the idea is that we inventory the income statement and balance sheet of our household finances, and the first thing we need to do is to adjust our lifestyle to what our income indicates.  Quite frankly, most of us have been living well beyond our means and now we’re getting crushed under the weight of the structure we created.

So herein, we’ll need to make some lifestyle adjustments.  Secondly, we need to start getting out of debt.

Jason Hartman: Okay, good.  Out of consumer debt, when you say that, I assume you’re talking about.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yes.

Jason Hartman: So I understand that your company, The Credit Exchange, can help people do just that.  What is it you really do?  I mean tell us that.

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, Jason, there’s a variety of programs that are available to assist people with getting their debt under control and what we’ve done at The Credit Exchange is bring all the options under one roof.  We have credit-counseling programs, which are interest rate reductions through your current lenders.  Debt settlement programs where you offer a reduced settlement on the balances you owe your creditors and we’re even plugged into quite a syndicate of bankruptcy lawyers if you need them.

And all you need to do is call for a free consultation.  We can help diagnose your own circumstance and then plug into the appropriate program to help you get out of debt.

Jason Hartman: What can people reasonably expect as a result of working with your company?

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, we have a staff of over 100 certified credit counselors that stand ready to assess the true statement of your financial situation and then help you define the best course of action to achieve the objective of getting out of debt.

Jason Hartman: So let’s talk about all the different types of debt.  We’ve got credit card debt, student loans – do you deal with that at all?

Steve Vanderhoof: Student loans are normally federally insured or federally guaranteed, so there’s not a lot of negotiating power since they’re guaranteed by the U.S. government.

Jason Hartman: Oh, okay.  So what happens when someone defaults on a student loan then?  The bank just gets repaid by the government?

Steve Vanderhoof: Correct.

Jason Hartman: That bailout was set up in advance, just like every kid, right?

Steve Vanderhoof: Exactly.

Jason Hartman: Okay, got you.  So credit card debt, medical bills, mortgage debt.

Steve Vanderhoof: Not mortgage debt.

Jason Hartman: Not yet.

Steve Vanderhoof: Not yet.

Jason Hartman: You’re thinking about that.  You’re working on it.

Steve Vanderhoof: We’re working on it.

Jason Hartman: And as I mentioned to you before we started recording, I interviewed someone recently who does loan modifications and so forth and I think that it would sure be nice to have a company that has investigated all of these different guys and has done the due diligence for the consumer, which I assume is your unique selling proposition for people with their consumer debt, right?

Steve Vanderhoof: That’s the whole point is that we do all the homework in advance to make sure that the companies that we bring under our umbrella are absolutely proven before we’ll put our name on it.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, that’s good.  So it’s a referral service to the right providers, who can help a consumer with these various debt problems.

Steve Vanderhoof: That’s correct.

Jason Hartman: So they can either negotiate lower interest rates, they can negotiate lower balances, or lump sum settlements, I assume, and maybe new terms, amortize the loan differently or –?

Steve Vanderhoof: Either/or.  You’re either going to get an interest rate reduction through your current lenders or a settlement on the balances that you owe them.  And then the next step in line is bankruptcy.

Jason Hartman: How much credit card debt or I guess I should say consumer debt – should I lump those together?  Like car loans, where does that fit in, car leases, car loans?

Steve Vanderhoof: Anything that’s got a title attached to it is secured by that asset itself.

Jason Hartman: So a car would be different.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, they would.  Now, if the car had been repossessed and you still have a balance between the wholesale price of the car and the amount of money that you owed for the car, then you could include that into a consolidation.

Jason Hartman: Ah, so before they can work with you on an auto situation, they gotta let them repo the car or they gotta turn it in.

Steve Vanderhoof: That’s correct.

Jason Hartman: They can do that voluntarily; just give it back.  Go to the dealership, drive it over there, and give it back to them.

Steve Vanderhoof: Correct.

Jason Hartman: So how much debt do they need to have before this is an option that they want to consider?

Steve Vanderhoof: Minimum $5,000.00.  If you’ve got under $5,000.00, count your blessings.  You’re really not that bad.

Jason Hartman: Right, okay.  And what’s your average client have?

Steve Vanderhoof: Average client has about $25,000.00 of unsecured debt.

Jason Hartman: $25,000.00, maybe you can put that in perspective for the listeners, Steve.  How much are they earning every year, that household that has $25,000.00 in unsecured debt?

Steve Vanderhoof: It really varies.  I’ve seen as low as $18,000.00 a year and as high as $180,000.00 a year.

Jason Hartman: So all over the board.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah.

Jason Hartman: Is there a settlement opportunity or some relief opportunity if they’re making $180,000.00 and they have $25,000.00 in consumer debt, although consumer debt I don’t think is ever good?  I like real estate debt, of course, tied to good assets, as you know, but they can service that debt, so how are they – the credit card companies aren’t going to do anything for them, right?

Steve Vanderhoof: No, that’s not exactly true.  These debt settlement agencies, what they do is when they’re settling with the creditors, they’re actually batching up buckets of collective aggregate totals, so if this debt settlement agency had 500 Citibank customers that collectively owed $20 million and they were able to settle for say $3 million on that $20 million, they would then batch you, the $180,000.00 a year guy, in with that bucket.

Jason Hartman: So again, just like the mortgage fiasco that we’re going through, this debt is all in big pools, and it’s sold off through Wall Street, I suppose?  Consumer debt’s the same way?

Steve Vanderhoof: Consumer debt, yeah, it does work in much the same way.

Jason Hartman: Does a person have to stop paying and be in default on this debt in order to get some negotiating room or can they be a perfect payer, who has paid every month, who has clean credit, come to your company, and get some relief?

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, first and foremost, I’m going to advise anybody that’s current on their payments and can afford to make the payments not to settle on the debts that are owed, simply because it does leave a derogatory impact on your credit score.  It’s a higher risk approach to managing your debt situation.  You could end up with a judgment, a wage garnishment.  There’s a lot of risks inherent with the settlement process.  So we would certainly discourage anybody that can afford to make their payments in a debt repayment plan through credit counseling to go that way.

Jason Hartman: So this is not just a bailout.

Steve Vanderhoof: No.

Jason Hartman: It’s not just a personal bailout without cause, if you will.

Steve Vanderhoof: No, and Jason, you and I both know we need good credit to survive in this economy or in this society.  It’s going to cost you more to live with bad credit than with good credit.

Jason Hartman: So you know, Steve, I agree with you completely when you say that.  However, I just think that if any lenders want to make any loans in the next five, ten years, they’re going to see tens of millions of people with credit problems like never before.

Steve Vanderhoof: I have been thinking the same thing.

Jason Hartman: There will be such a small number of top tier credit borrowers for anything in the future.  What do you make of that?

Steve Vanderhoof: My prediction is they’re going to have to modify the credit scoring system.

Jason Hartman: If they want to make loans or credit will just contract, contract, contract.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, with all these defaults going on, rest assured there’s a lot of people that had good credit that don’t have good credit, which then makes less people available to lend money to, and if there’s a stop in the free flow of capital, then everything comes crashing down.

Jason Hartman: As we’ve heard the emergency call from our trusted friend – and I say that very sarcastically – Hank Paulson and I guess you could put Mr. Bernanke in there with them.  I don’t trust any of those guys anymore.  I guess my prior question was more related to someone who was making a lot of money last year, maybe they’re in a real estate related industry, or retail has slowed dramatically.  They say this holiday season is going to be a really bad one for retailers.  And the consumer confidence is low, so people aren’t spending.  I mean in the auto business, for sure.

If someone was a car dealer and made a bunch of money last year and accumulated the lifestyle and the debt to go with that, but they can no longer service it, but hopefully they have foresight and they’re planning rather than reacting to their situation and their problems, can they come to you and – they have completely clean credit.  They’ve always paid well and they’ve got $30,000.00 in debt or whatever.  Can they come to you guys and work that debt out without stopping paying because the reason I ask this, Steve, is because in the mortgage world, it seems to be that you gotta stop paying the mortgage in order to get the lender’s attention, when we talk to these loan modification people.

What happens on the consumer side?

Steve Vanderhoof: On the consumer side, when you do a debt settlement program, you have to accumulate the capital to be able to settle on the debt, so when a creditor agrees to settle on the debt, they want paid in full.  And if you don’t have the capital set aside to pay in full on a reduced settlement amount, there won’t be a settlement.  So usually we find that people that –

Jason Hartman: They don’t take a payment plan?

Steve Vanderhoof: Usually they do not, correct.  So if I owed $10,000.00 to ABC Bank and they said okay, we’ll go ahead and settle for $3,000.00 instead of $10,000.00, if I don’t have $3,000.00 ready to pay them now, it’s not going to happen.

Jason Hartman: They want to just be done.  They want to move in, out, negotiate the deal and that’s that.

Steve Vanderhoof:  If they’re going to reduce to settlement, absolutely because they’re getting ready to sell it to a collection agency for $.15 on the dollar, so they’d rather get the $.30 instead of sell it off to the collection agency.

Jason Hartman: Right, okay, fair enough.  What are – generally, Steve, what are the settlement amounts.  I mean is there a formula or is it just every creditor is different or do they take $.30 on the dollar?

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, I can give you an industry average across the industry, including fees, late fees, penalties, everything included into the debt, runs at around $.60 on the dollar.

Jason Hartman: Before you said $.30.  Who gets $.30?  Does anybody get $.30?

Steve Vanderhoof: No, there’s $.22 on the dollar settlements that occur, but there are fees.

Jason Hartman: So that’s about the lowest settlement.  And what fees?  What kind of fees?

Steve Vanderhoof: Usually it ranges 15 percent of your debt balance, so if you owed $20,000.00, it would be a $3,000.00 fee to the law firm to negotiate on your behalf.

Jason Hartman: And that’s the firm you refer the consumer to?

Steve Vanderhoof: That would be whom we refer that customer to and also, when you default on your payments to your creditors, immediately you’re going to start incurring the maximum interest that they can charge.  You’re going to start getting late fees and penalties and so your debt balance is going to snowball during that settlement process.

Jason Hartman: How’s the law firm paid?  Are they paid by the consumer?

Steve Vanderhoof: They are paid by the consumer.

Jason Hartman: Now, is it better to try these settlements before or after collection?  I assume you’re going to say before collection is better, but in other words, you’re not paying the credit card.  You’re getting the bills, but they haven’t sent it to collection yet.  You’re still dealing with your credit card provider, with Visa, MasterCard, or Amex, or whomever.

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, it really depends on the balance.  If you have a debt balance of $30,000.00, the likelihood of that going to a collection agency is probably not very likely.  It would be worth it for the creditor to come after you for that money.

Jason Hartman: Oh, so in other words, you’re saying that for the convenience of the creditor, they will send small balances to collection more quickly because it doesn’t cost them as much than big balances.

Steve Vanderhoof: Correct.  It costs money to litigate, so for them to –

Jason Hartman: Do they really litigate this stuff?

Steve Vanderhoof: Oh, yeah.  They’ll drag –

Jason Hartman: Where, in small claims court or where?

Steve Vanderhoof: No, it’s not small claims.  They’ll drag you into civil court.

Jason Hartman: For a $10,000.00 debt?

Steve Vanderhoof: Oh, yeah.

Jason Hartman: Wow!  And that’s when most people probably, as the consumer, they just fold.

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, and then they end up with wage garnishments on their paycheck.  So the idea here is to get realistic with yourself as to where you’re at.  You legally owe this money and you want to begin planning now to start rectifying it before it gets there.  It’s really hard to help somebody once they’ve already received a summons to appear in court.

Jason Hartman: Right, so obviously, planning in advance is the best way to do anything in life.  Leaves you more options.

Steve Vanderhoof: We have a pretty good idea when it’s getting a little too tight around our throat, so I’m very much the optimist and so is the debtor very much the optimist, but to a degree, that can hurt you.

Jason Hartman: Well, the amazing thing is and you know this is the difference, I think, between the American and the Japanese economy.  When Japan went into their fiasco back in 1990 or so, Japanese were saving money.  They had savings, whereas Americans, they don’t save any money.  When you say you can tell when it’s getting tight around your throat, it happens to most Americans.  You have a job layoff in two months.

Steve Vanderhoof: It’s around your throat.

Jason Hartman: They’ve got nothing.  I mean they’re just living on – pardon the pun – borrowed time.

Steve Vanderhoof: So what’s the lesson here?

Jason Hartman: The lesson here is plan, save money, and keep your expenses moderate.

Steve Vanderhoof: Absolutely.

Jason Hartman: Don’t spend every last penny you make.

Steve Vanderhoof: Which is the point of the beginning of our conversation.  It wasn’t always this way.  I mean for 200 years of our history, we were savers.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, but in a way, and I know we kind of talked about this a little bit before we started recording the show today, is we talked a little bit about monetary policy, and in a way, the system has sort of, since we went off the gold standard, been changed in a way to sort of disincentivize the consumer to save because think about it.  You put your money in the bank.  You get 5 percent last year, if you’re lucky.  Not this year.  You’re not going to get that much.  But in a CD, you might get 5 percent if you found a really good deal last year.  And in taxes, you’re probably going to pay 2 percent or 40 percent of the 5 in taxes.  And then inflation comes along and they decimate the rest.  You’re losing money saving money.

Steve Vanderhoof: Absolutely.

Jason Hartman: So it’s sort of a bad deal and I think that’s part of the problem with the system.

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, I mean once we can get to a point to where we’re at surplus in our household, to begin amassing capital assets, that’s where diversification comes in and so that you’re not just investing in CDs.  There are other options as it relates to investing.

Jason Hartman: I have a friend who is a rather reasonably wealthy doctor and he actually thinks a CD is an investment.  It blows my mind.  I have arguments with him constantly about 4 percent is not an investment.  Definitely not.

Steve, what was it, in 2005 I believe, the bankruptcy laws changed?

Steve Vanderhoof: Correct.

Jason Hartman: Now, I know it was for personal.  I’m not sure if corporate bankruptcy changed as well.  But what has that done to the consumer who’s got a debt problem?

Steve Vanderhoof: I have to be careful here because I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 is it just basically means you have to pass certain means tests before you can file for bankruptcy, whereas before, you could just walk in and file for a bankruptcy and there wasn’t very much of a litmus test that said that you couldn’t pay the debt off if you wanted to.  So now, they do means tests to determine whether you qualify for a bankruptcy, so it’s made it a lot more difficult to file for bankruptcy now.

Jason Hartman: Bankruptcy is probably up this year, I assume, but I wonder if it’s higher than it was in another past high year.

Steve Vanderhoof: In a scary reality, it’s not and that’s how much of an effect that the Bankruptcy Reform Act did take on our society.  It was higher when the economy was good.

Jason Hartman: So does that mean there are more I guess I’ll call it off-bankruptcy workouts, which is what you do really?  Is there more flexibility and more settlement going on because there’s not as much bankruptcy maybe or are the creditors being tougher?  Are they tougher because they know they can –?

Steve Vanderhoof: The creditors have gotten tougher.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I know they wanted those Bankruptcy Reforms in 2005.

Steve Vanderhoof: And they used to offer a lot better incentives for people in debt management plans and then once they got the Bankruptcy Reform Act put through, they started stripping away those benefits.

Jason Hartman: I saw a movie several months ago and forgive me if I don’t remember the name.  I think it was called “Life and Debt.”  Something like that.  It was a movie where they – it was really a documentary and they went in and they showed these collection agencies and talked about the credit problem.

Steve Vanderhoof: It was called “Maxed Out.”

Jason Hartman: “Maxed Out,” yeah.  “Life and Debt” was another good movie actually.  Now I remember.  That was a movie about the IMF and how they screwed over Jamaica and it was a lot about monetary policy, which was kind of interesting.  “Maxed Out” was the one.  Do you think – what is your take on that?  I wish I had someone who really was in the know about that, to talk to that movie about, and maybe it’s you.

Do you think – they seem to portray in that documentary that the credit card companies and the collection agencies were really just screwing the consumer over and they were really sleazy, but the consumer’s the one sitting with all the goods.  So it’s hard for me to sort of take one side or the other because it’s not like they’re coming to your house and repo’ing your beautiful new plasma TV.  I mean you’re still watching it.

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, in defense of both the creditor and the debtor, we deregulated the banking in I believe it was 1995.  We deregulated banking to the extent of what they could charge in interest and it just further fueled the bubble.  Now, if you’re a business and your business is to make profit and you’re in the business of loaning money, you’re just fulfilling what it is you’re intending, loan money, and make money off of it.  Does that make them bad?

Jason Hartman: No, not inherently.

Steve Vanderhoof: All right, so now, on the other hand, if people don’t really understand these complex compounded interest models –

Jason Hartman: And the late fees are just egregious that they stick on there.

Steve Vanderhoof: And if you lack understanding in those arenas, it’s kind of like giving a 4-year-old C4 plastic explosives and telling him to go have fun and don’t hurt himself.  So there’s a balance there and so what sits at the core of my mission is to bring an education and an awareness to the real world of how this whole consumer debt business model works so that we can go in knowingly instead of ignorantly.

Jason Hartman: So on that note, the phrase “predatory lending.”  Do you have any opinion about that?

Steve Vanderhoof: We all like to call somebody a bad guy.  If there are people that lie and hurt and somebody did it to them, I don’t like to jump on the side of predatory lending or anything “predator” attached to it as it relates to our banking.  I would be more apt to say ignorant borrowing instead of predatory lending.

Jason Hartman: Because to me, it’s – I’ve tried to reconcile that issue in my mind and on one side, I do see that there are very complex financial products out there.  We’re really talking now about the mortgage industry.  And it’s very hard for unsophisticated borrowers to understand them, especially if they’re speaking a foreign language.  But the benefit accrues to the borrower.  They’ve been living in a nicer home than they really ever earned and a few years later, maybe they’re asked to move out of that home through foreclosure.  So it’s sort of hard to say that was really a predatory loan.  I don’t know.

Steve Vanderhoof: Have you ever purchased something, Jason, that maybe you felt was a little bit more than you should have bought?  And you got that feeling after you do it, it’s a little exhilarating, it’s thrilling –

Jason Hartman: And then the buyers are more [inaudible].

Steve Vanderhoof: And you’re a little scared and you’re not quite sure did I do the right thing or the wrong thing.  I think we know going in really, if we’re –

Jason Hartman: If we can afford it.

Steve Vanderhoof: If we can afford it and I understand the idea of everything would continue to appreciate, but that’s not real either.

Jason Hartman: Well, and the idea that the person’s income will continue and that’s what’s really changed so much as the economy has slowed dramatically.

Steve Vanderhoof: I don’t certainly want to promote any crash and burn economic outcomes.  Just simply, I think that we need to adjust our perception a little bit and get a little bit more responsible as we approach the object.

Jason Hartman: I couldn’t agree more.  Last thing, talk to us about geography.  Do you do this all over the United States?  We have Canadian listeners; we have European listeners.  What are the boundaries here?

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, it’s all 50 states in the United States.  As far as Canadian or European, those are usually Canadian credit card issuers or European credit card issuers, so they I’m sure have their own debt management programs within their geographical boundaries.

Jason Hartman: Actually, you know what?  I’ve got a couple more questions I just thought of.  Is there any creditor or credit card company, if you want to go to the credit cards specifically, that tends to be more flexible and less flexible?  Like, is Amex, for example, really tough or really easy going?

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, there are certain creditors that will reduce the rate more than other creditors.  Chase is one of the ones that reduces it quite a bit.  Bank of America is another good bank as far as their reduction is concerned.  And then there are some banks that only drop the rate down to 15.9 percent, which is not much of an interest rate reduction.

Jason Hartman: Well, what’s it from?  Is it from 19.9?

Steve Vanderhoof: It could be from 29.9.

Jason Hartman: That’s unbelievable.  See that’s usury, 29 percent.  How do they do that?

Steve Vanderhoof: I’ve seen it as high as 36.9.

Jason Hartman: That is disgusting.  Now, that is predatory, if you ask me.

Steve Vanderhoof: I’ve got a better one for you.  Payday loans at 99 percent.  That just is –

Jason Hartman: I know that industry’s been attacked and probably rightfully so.

Steve Vanderhoof: I’m not a big fan of them.

Jason Hartman: The lawyers have gotten in there and I see their big disclaimers on the commercials now.  Only use it when you have to, as if anybody’s probably really listening.

Steve Vanderhoof: Tell that to someone that needs to eat.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I hear you.  Talk for a moment if you can and I know this is not exactly what you deal with, but the credit report.  So if someone goes and they call your company and they work with one of your referrals and they settle some debt and they’re on to sort of starting on a fresh start, which is good news for them, any thoughts on cleaning up their credit or improving their credit?

Steve Vanderhoof: Well, your credit report really is comprised of timely payments, debt-to-income ratio, so as long as you have a good history of payments and your debt-to-income ratio is within reason, then chances are you’re going to reflect a positive FICO score.  If it’s not, then it won’t.  Now, the good news about debt repayment plan and credit counseling is it does not reflect into the math equation that calculates your credit score.

Jason Hartman: So in other words, if someone settles with a creditor –

Steve Vanderhoof: Not settles.

Jason Hartman: Not settles, but works out a plan.

Steve Vanderhoof: Reduces the interest rate.

Jason Hartman: Reduces the interest rate, changes the terms maybe of the loan, right, that the new payments don’t show up on the credit report?

Steve Vanderhoof: The payments do show up on the credit report.  It’s the fact that if you were in a credit counseling program versus somebody that’s not in a credit counseling program, it’s not going to affect negatively the FICO score for being in a credit counseling program versus not being in a credit counseling program.

Jason Hartman: Oh, I see what you’re saying.

Steve Vanderhoof: You see what I’m saying?  It doesn’t factor into the math equation.

Jason Hartman: And what about when you do a settlement, what’s it say on the credit report, settlement or charge off?

Steve Vanderhoof: Yeah, it could read reduced settlement amount.  It does tarnish up your credit pretty bad if you’re doing a debt settlement and you get a 1099 on the amount that you saved.

Jason Hartman: Oh, I see.  On that debt relief, they 1099 you so you gotta pay taxes on the debt relief, just like going on a game show and winning money.

Steve Vanderhoof: Exactly.  That’s on the settlement.  If you were to get a settlement of $.30 on the dollar, you gotta pay taxes on that $.60.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, the IRS always gets their hands in there no matter what, don’t they?

Steve Vanderhoof: They’re not going to let it go by.

Jason Hartman: That’s for sure.  Okay, here really is my last question, Steve.  What about the do-it-yourselfers, who might be listening to this, thinking well, I’ll just call my credit card company myself.  I’ll write them a hardship letter.  I’ll give them the woe is me story.  What about doing it yourself versus having a lawyer, law firm represent you?

Steve Vanderhoof: That’s a really good question.  I don’t know if you’ve ever called your credit card company before and asked them to reduce your interest rates, but –

Jason Hartman: The first challenge is to get them to answer the phone.

Steve Vanderhoof: Get them to answer the phone.  They’re not in the business of getting you out of debt.  They’re in the business of keeping you in the debt, so all creditors have a little corner desk in the back somewhere with a lady named Jane that puts the proposals through, gets your interest rates reduced, and it’s certainly not the customer service reps on the front line.  So if you have the time to drill down and keep going up, up, up the chain to find out where that desk is where Jane sits, then you could probably get the interest rate reduced yourself, but it would be very laborious.

Jason Hartman: And the lawyers know the game.

Steve Vanderhoof: They’re already plugged.  They’ve got a direct line to Jane’s desk.

Jason Hartman: Right.  Okay, good.  Well, Steve Vanderhoof, thank you so much for joining us today.  Your website is www.thecreditexchange.com.  He’s America’s personal finance coach and it’s great to have you on the show.

Steve Vanderhoof: Thank you so much, Jason.

Jason Hartman: Attention agents, brokers, and mortgage people.  Do you know that we cooperate?  Do you know that our network is an open system, that you can refer clients and outsource your investor clients to us and receive passive income?  It’s a really great opportunity.  All you have to do is register your clients at www.jasonhartman.com and tell them to attend one of our live events, our live educational seminars.

Listen to our podcast, go to the website, and request our free CD at www.jasonhartman.com.  And if they invest with us per the terms listed on the website, you will get a referral fee.  We have lots of agents, brokers, and mortgage people that receive surprise referral fees that they weren’t even expecting.  They get a check in the mail and they are just happily, happily surprised.  It’s a nice extra supplement to your income.  So be sure to take advantage of our broker cooperation.  Agents are welcome.  We cooperate with outside people and we’d love to help you with your investor clients.

Hey, I just wanted to announce a couple of quick things for you.  If you are able to come to one of our live events, we would love to see you and meet you in person.  We’ve had people fly in from all over the U.S. for them.  So hopefully you can join us for some of those events.

I wanted to mention to you that we have a new offering, a free CD, a free audio CD, that you will really, really like.  We’ve had so many people that have given us really good comments about them, and you can go to our website at www.jasonhartman.com and just fill out a little quick web form and you can either download it or you can have the physical CD mailed to you in the postal mail.  But get the free CD, especially if you are a new listener.  You need this.  And if you are a regular listener and you’ve listened to all the other old shows, you don’t need the CD so much, but it will be a nice review for you either way.  But if you’re a new listener, you definitely want to go to www.jasonhartman.com and request the free CD.

Remember that Platinum Properties Investor Network has moved.  We are in our beautiful new office in Costa Mesa, California, 555 Anton, Suite 150, in Costa Mesa, California, 92626, and we’re right by world-famous South Coast Plazas.  So come in for a visit and a little shopping.

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And this particular one that we just loaded in the video podcast is about Naked Short Sales and what goes on with this short sale and manipulation of the stock market.  It’s a very interesting report from Bloomberg News and I think you’ll really learn a lot from that.  So be sure to tune in and watch that.

Be sure to see appropriate disclaimers and disclosures on our website at www.jasonhartman.com.  Remember that we are not tax or legal advisors.

Anyway, we’ll talk to you next week.  Thanks for listening.

This material is the copyrighted creative work of either Jason Hartman, the Hartman Media Company, Platinum Properties Investor Network, Incorporated or the J. Hartman Company, all rights reserved.

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Duration:  59 minutes