You may find it faster to refer to the index to see if the question you have in mind is addressed and where – we recommend that, as much as possible, you take the time to read through the whole list.
We have created this page to answer some of the common questions that come to people’s minds about what we are trying to do. Our first rule in all circumstances is that you should never part with your money until you have a clear understanding of the why, what, where, when questions. If you are uncomfortable, you should never proceed.
Having said that, there is no risk free proposition out there – none. So, as you evaluate risk factors, it is important to weigh the risks against the rewards; sometimes, doing nothing (essentially what most middle class folks have done up till now in matters of ownership [i.e. of income producing assets]) is the most risky option. As you do nothing, you hold on to what you have (at least you’re not losing what you have, you think) and then watch it dwindle to zero in your hands because a job is lost and there is no similar opening for replacement. You need to focus on the rewards and the cost (indeed, risk) of doing nothing as well (this is sometimes the most important risk factor).
Finally, you need to limit your exposure such that the downside (doomsday) scenario does not wipe you out – refer to the real life story of Max & Beth.
In summary, what we are trying to do through the MCWB Club is to not only switch the focus of middle class folks (MCFs) from ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ to ‘own, own, own’ (i.e. ownership of income producing assets – businesses, crude oil wells with verified production numbers, commercial real estate and so on), but to provide the tools and vehicles that will get them there easily without having to jump through hoops and hurdles – essentially, we want to make the tools of the rich readily available to the masses. All this is to be done using the very best professional expertise available in the marketplace – refer to our middle class bill of rights and sample professionals pages – access to this quality of professional expertise is not readily available nor affordable for most MCFs. Ownership of these income producing assets will put the middle class owners in charge of setting (you guessed it) middle class friendly wage, salary, benefits, bonus and employment policies. Who will be the directors overseeing these businesses? You guessed it – the MCWB Club (middle class) member-owners of the businesses (if you are interested in one of these oversight positions, fill out the necessary form after you join). Maybe you have heard about how the rich have a better set of rules than you do (tax loopholes, government grants, subsidies, giveaways and so on) – there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to change the unfair rules as well as being unable to profit from those rules. If we can’t change the rules (yet), we can at least provide a platform for MCFs to profit from those same subsidies and tax loopholes. No selling of products (network or multi-level marketing) is involved, no high pressure sales tactics or seminars based on hype. All you will have to do is send your money (after you have satisfied yourself about any particular opportunity) to an independent trustee and/or custodian – not the MCWB Club. The only time you will make direct payment to the MCWB Club is for your annual membership fee – even a good fraction of that is subject to some of the most stringent accountability rules for a private profit-making entity (at least for the first year). Membership fees are not automatically renewed – you get to decide whether you want to renew it for any particular year. The MCWB Club will also provide a platform to bypass the media (newspapers, TV, etc) of the wealthy few and use alternative means (entertainment – movies, comedies for example) to educate MCFs about how they have been ‘sold down the river’ by the wealthy few and the government structures in place and what needs to be done to stem the tide of middle class wipe out.
So, it may be that the most important questions you need to ask are:
- Do rich and wealthy folks have (country type) clubs? Yes. Are they affordable for average MCFs? No
- Can the MCWB Club fill this role for MCFs? We think so. Would it be affordable? We think so (as at today and using the best available valid coupon, it would cost you between US$22.12 [non-Canadian residents] and US$25.44 [Nova Scotia, Canada residents])
- Do wealthy folks use these clubs to make contacts, get inside track information and act on it? Yes. Would it be nice if MCFs had access to the same contacts and inside track information? We think so
- For the few (upper class) MCFs who have memberships at the rich folks’ country clubs (maybe paid for by their employers) – are they really in a position to take advantage of the investment opportunities they may hear about? Usually not. Why? Because the minimum participation required may be in millions of dollars?
- Can the MCWB Club break down this barrier and make it possible for MCFs to participate in some of these opportunities for as little as $10? We think so
To disabuse and open up your mind to an objective review (based on the facts, even if the facts don’t conform to conventional wisdom), read about some ‘expert’ predictions and comments that, with the benefit of hindsight, have proved ridiculously laughable.
1. Is this the latest scam out there?
- This is not a scam – please refer to our Fraud Prevention resources page for tips on scams and how to detect scams. Are we unorthodox? Yes. Why? Because the orthodox solutions in the marketplace have failed the middle class terribly. If those solutions were working, there would not be a need for the MCWB Club. Furthermore, we note that the solutions being peddled to the middle class are completely the opposite of what the rich do. For example, the middle class saves money at low interest rates (sometimes lower than inflation implying a loss in real terms), but what do the rich do? They borrow in tax-advantaged ways. Are we recommending borrowing to the middle class? The answer is a qualified yes. The average middle class folk (MCF) associates borrowing with buying cars, furniture, credit cards for vacations, eating out and consumption – we are not promoting that type of borrowing. If MCFs pooled resources together through the MCWB Club (all the club does is to facilitate the link between the pooled funds and the best expertise available in the marketplace [legal, tax, accounting, management, etc] – which is why, other than membership fees, it will not collect money directly from members for investments, any such pool would be flowed through an independent third party trustee and/or custodian [this is a best practice that rich folks use to institute checks and balances]) to buy a fractional ownership interest in a crude oil well and the transaction structure (based on the best professional advice [the same type used by rich folks]) includes borrowing to increase returns while reducing taxes, why not?. Our prime goal is to make it possible for MCFs to have access to various options currently only available to the rich, even if the MCFs don’t have more than $100 (or even less) available. Internet access and the wealth of information available on scams make it impossible for any scam artist, especially one operating online like we are, to hide.
2. I discussed this with my financial planner (or friend, parent, accountant) and have been advised it is a bad idea. Why shouldn’t I just discard it altogether?
- We ourselves would have been surprised if your financial planner or accountant endorsed this. We say that not because we think this is a bad idea, but because those professionals give advice based on what they have proved to work – they will never urge you to try something new. So, they have no factual basis (or track record) on which to base judgment and are doing the right thing by discouraging you. Could it be considered risky because there is no track record? Maybe – that is a judgment call you would have to make. We are not in any way suggesting that you deviate from the financial plan put together by your planner or accountant – just suspend your disbelief for a moment and evaluate this on its own merits. Other than the membership fee of US$25, you could limit your total exposure to our whole concept to US$100 or less. Maybe, over the course of the next year, you could end up participating in 2 investments – maybe a part ownership in one business and one commercial property. Along with it though, you would get access to the kind of expert advice that is only available to the very rich – when MCFs pool resources together, those who put in only $10 will still get access to legal advice that costs $5,000 for example (their pro-rata cost may be $0.005 but the insight/education from the advice is priceless). As more MCFs realize that in the same country, there are different rules for the workers/labourers and the owners, they will begin to focus on ownership. That is the only practical way (we can think of) to reduce deteriorating income/economic/reward inequality. The key point here is that the advice from your accountant or financial planner, if faithfully adhered to, is going to result in more of the same – which most MCFs would agree is already bad enough for the middle class and progressively getting worse. Furthermore, if you take some time to read the Perot-Langone Dialogue page, you may conclude that your accountant and/or financial planner (given the chance) would have probably advised Ross Perot (back in 1968) not to use the investment banking firm of R.W. Pressprich for his firm’s initial public offering. According to this source, not only did the ‘no name, unknown’ R.W. Pressprich folks exceed Perot’s demand for a PE multiple of 100 (which other reputable firms had advised Perot was impossible) by executing the stock offering at 118 times earnings, but the price of the stock rose from that $16 offering price to $160 within days – so much so, that “Fortune called Perot the “fastest, richest Texan” in a 1968 cover story.” You need to consider the ‘monkey lessons’ and decide whether to encourage or discourage progress simply for the sake of ‘that’s the way it’s always been done around here’ – even when the old way is yielding diminishing (or negative) returns.
3. There is a lot of free advice online – why should I even have to pay for anything?
- We agree there is a lot of free advice. The only question we would ask is – do you think rich folks (who, by the way, have been very successful in impoverishing others over the years while enriching themselves) get their advice from free online sites? Well, regardless of what you think, they don’t. Some powerful interests spend tens (sometimes hundreds) of millions of dollars to buy expert advice (legal, tax, accounting, investment banking) – if we plan to do the same for the middle class, it cannot be based on free advice. Remember also that this free advice has been there all along as we’ve seen middle class fortunes slide – a reliance on only free advice is going to lead to more of the same. Certainly take free advice when and where you can – it is necessary but not sufficient. Our approach is that the middle class should try hard to do exactly what the rich are doing. The only problem we see is that the rich (currently) determine what options are open to the middle class so that there is no access to the best solutions for the middle class. We just want to provide that missing link so that all MCFs that agree to ‘copy’ the rich will have the means of doing so – free advice will not get them there.
4. I checked out your mailing address on Google/Google Earth and it brought up a UPS Store mailbox.
- Before we respond to that concern, please watch this video (we are particularly interested in the section between 0:35 to 1:35)
- We would also like you to read about Kagi at this link.
- Our response is that we are doing the prudent thing within the limits of the resources available to us at this point. Remember first and foremost that this is a middle class funded solution for the middle class – if this would have been a mutual fund being set up by the wealthy few to ‘impoverish’ the middle class, there would be fancy offices, glossy brochures and top notch websites, but how does that enrich you? The fancy offices create a sense of legitimacy and false security which an otherwise unbiased investigation may find to be unmerited. All the large well known institutions on Wall Street mentioned in these government investigations have nice offices; that many of them ‘settle’ these accusations by the government with fines in hundreds of millions of dollars without any ‘admission of wrongdoing’ is actually the real reason why MCFs should be distrustful of them. That some of these names would create deals in which they sell securities to institutional investors (some of which manage money belonging to MCFs in one form or the other) while simultaneously betting against those securities should (in an ideal world) disqualify them from being entrusted with other people’s funds, but they continue to be the preeminent names left standing. On the other hand, many companies that have now evolved into global powerhouses (Apple, HP, Dell, and Facebook are good examples) started in a garage, college/university dormitory room or some other humble beginning; so, don’t let the trees prevent you from seeing the forest. Look at other aspects of what we are trying to accomplish and the checks and balances built into our approach – refer to our accountability page for example. We simply are keeping a close eye on our cash flow, so that we don’t run out of cash before we get off the ground – like it happened to Nets Inc. in the Kagi story referenced above. When we have sufficient revenue, we will get arrange office accommodation commensurate with the scope of our operations and projected needs – until then, we are content to use a virtual office (UPS Store). For those who may think that this fact makes our motives suspect, remember that the only time you would ever make payments directly to us is when you pay your membership fee – and that is paid through PayPal (fraudsters prefer cash, money orders, wire transfers and similar means sent to a post office box or other hard-to-trace destination) and a good part of it is subject to our accountability and transparency commitment. You also have the protections that accrue from payments with a credit card.
5. Would I have to pay the membership fee every year?
- No. For each year in which you pay a membership fee, you would be entitled to participate in any and/or every opportunity presented to MCWB Club members within the validity of your subscription – the purpose of the subscription fee is to pay for the cost of putting such opportunities together, using the best professional expertise available in the marketplace. If in a subsequent year, you are unable (or unwilling) to pay the membership fee, you would continue to have the benefit of any opportunities you participated in during your earlier subscription(s); any new professional advice (based on fees paid to lawyers, accountant, tax experts for example) for club members as well as any new business opportunities would however be unavailable to you until you renew your subscription. This would allow those who can only afford a subscription every 2, 3, 4, or 5 years, an opportunity to join us and benefit – all this is to ensure that as many barriers to entry as possible are pulled down.
6. Conventional financial products (bank deposits, mutual fund units, stocks, bonds, etc) are highly liquid. Any investments on this platform are likely to be the opposite. How would I ever be able to convert my investments to cash if I need to?
- We agree that conventional products are very liquid – all other things being equal. Basic financial planning suggests that as much as possible, you should keep 3 – 6 months of your fixed living/survival costs on hand in as liquid a form as possible. We agree – this should preferably be held in a government insured bank deposit as much as possible. Remember that we are not suggesting that you take everything you have and apply to opportunities on this platform – we think that prudence demands that you prove anything ‘new’ over a period of 5 years; not by zero exposure (unless you are unconvinced of the merits) but rather by taking ‘baby steps’ in the new direction and learning to ‘crawl before walking’ (in terms of acquiring the necessary risk management skills). The supposed liquidity of conventional financial products however comes at a great price – wild swings in quoted prices depending on many factors beyond the control of the one whose capital is at risk (factors often unrelated to the financial health of the underlying business or institution). Some have argued that in the long run, these wild swings will even out – we are not too sure; furthermore, when you use these instruments for retirement savings, the government usually mandates the rules under which you can make withdrawals. In recent times in the United States for example, the Federal Reserve allowed banks to lend up to 40 times their deposits, this had the effect of inflating the prices of these securities (hedge funds borrowed substantial sums to bet on these stocks and other instruments); when the bubble burst, the banks had to contract their loan portfolios and they demanded immediate repayment from the hedge funds who proceeded to dump substantial numbers of stocks and other instruments resulting in a free fall of market prices and values. Some people (especially MCFs) saw prices falling and started to sell their stock and/or mutual fund holdings thereby compounding the problem. Some other MCFs who had lost their jobs and/or run out of unemployment benefits also had to sell their holdings (just to survive and pay bills) into this ‘down’ market and pay penalties and/or taxes (if it was a tax-advantaged retirement savings investment – see example). In the preceding example, Ms. Reid had to pay $80,000 on $180,000 in withdrawals – we don’t know how much she contributed over the years to accumulate that balance but you can be sure that she would rather have sold into an ‘up’ rather than a ‘down’ market if she had a choice. To address liquidity concerns in our approach, there are two angles. We would create a mechanism to allow transfers of ownership stakes preferably using an auction-like platform; the other angle is that we plan to structure member investments as a mix of loan and equity (where the loan portion could be as high as 99.99%) with a view to returning the loan portion as soon as possible either in whole or installments. This will be done via refinancing where we replace that loan portion with other debt (bank, non-bank financial institution or other sources) as soon as possible. As long as we ensure that the investments are throwing off regular cash flows, we are convinced that there is likely to be a willing buyer – just as there is usually a willing buyer for any well run business with good prospects (the price may fluctuate within a band but there is usually a buyer).