Several months ago, I was in the midst of a rough period personally, one that had me considering moving overseas. I checked out John Nada's site at www.goingghost.com (he now has a mirror site at www.fugitiveslave.com). Nada's story is that he is an American who expatriated to Barranquilla, Colombia several years ago following a divorce, and now he wants to help men escape the "woman's plantation" that is the United States and find, as he did, their own "never-never lands".
He offers an online course, the "Fiercely Independent Expat" or FIE course, that he claims will help men smoothly expatriate to the country of their choice. At the time I contemplated paying for the course, he was offering it for $397, but warned that it would soon jump in price, with the new cost tied to the price of one troy ounce of gold. As one ounce of gold currently fluctuates in price between $1050 and $1200, my hesitation could have cost me several hundred extra dollars.
Of course, the fact that he was willing to play the "fear card" on men who, due to various financial and romantic concerns, were both seriously contemplating expatriation and who were, in turn, likely willing to take desperate measures to assure themselves of better lives, should have been a clear warning to me to steer clear. In the midst of depression and anxiety regarding the future, however, I proved susceptible to his sales pitch, and paid for the course before it jumped in price.
As a parenthetical comment, I accessed his FIE offer web page within the past week, and found that he is now offering the course for $501, payable in three installments of $167. I gather that his attempt to sell the course for over $1000 wasn't successful - but imagine if someone paid that much for the course, only to find that he was marketing it less than four months later for less than half the amount for which the poor fellow purchased the course back in January. Talk about a dissatisfied customer!
Anyway, back to my story. In taking his four-part course, I noticed the following:
(1) A lot of what he says falls under the banner of common sense. For instance, he devoted one of his four 'webinars' to the need for doing research on the cultural, political, and other climates of the country to which one planned to expat. Well, sure - I already knew that.
(2) The money you pay for the expat course is intended to be just the beginning - he has a lot of other items he wishes to sell to you, at highly inflated prices. Here are two examples.
(a) He devoted another webinar to implementing what he refers to as the "Geoarbitrage Formula", which amounts to building your own online business, operating as an information marketer. Clearly, this can whet one's appetite - what all is involved? How do I end up becoming an online business titan? Well, if you want to know, all you have to do is pay for Nada's online business course - at a cost of $1588. In the course, he explicitly pushes the idea of marketing to buyers who are in 'dire straits', taking advantage of their emotional pain in order to make big bucks off them.
(b) Lonely? Think that expatriating to a Latin American country will solve those problems? Then head to latinabrideguide.com, where Nada will send you his "Global Dating Manifesto" report, which he values at $97, for free - but there's a catch. (By the way, Nada likes to price things with an amount that ends in 97 - it's his version of "Look at all you can get, for only $19.95!" Whatever. The amount is $20, or $100, or $400, all right? Only when selling to Americans, I suppose.) To get this report, you have to input your name and email address. You'll get the report, then have the pleasure of Nada pestering you, trying to instill fear in you, and if all else fails, insulting you by telling you in so many words that you're an idiot if you don't take what he offers - and what he offers is a chance to become a member of his LatinaBrideGuide inner circle for *only* $497 (last time I checked - as I've noted above, Nada will change the price of something in a heartbeat if he thinks his current approach isn't working).
At one time, Nada also offered a TESOL mentoring course, but the corresponding link appears to be inactive. It's my understanding that he was charging an arm and a leg for this course as well.
(c) Throughout the course, Nada emphasizes the need to stay "under the radar", even to the point of trying to keep family and friends in the dark as to your expat plans. This is a classic technique of con artists and cult leaders, to foster the "You and me against the world" mentality in their followers.
So, in summary, Nada's expat course:
(1) Tells you things that you could have figured out on your own, or could learn from a site such as happierabroad.com, for free, or at most a mere fraction of the cost.
(2) Teases you with the prospect of assuring yourself of financial wealth and romantic fulfillment abroad, but only if you take his courses, which will set you back thousands of dollars.
(3) Touts the wisdom of separating yourself from family and friends during the expatriation process, a quest that involves you, Nada, and your wallet.
In addition to the FIE course, Nada also permitted me access to his 'Mastermind' discussion group, which meets each Tuesday evening for two or more hours on Skype. Several men from various parts of the US, men who have given Nada a chunk of their hard-earned funds, connect with Nada for a conference call. As a new participant, I kept quiet for the most part, being content to listen and to observe, in the hopes of gaining useful information from Nada and others. Most of the time, however, the calls were simply 'rah-rah' sessions with Nada either speaking tritely or posting links that either called for those who accessed the web sites to pony up yet MORE money to 'achieve their dreams', or that stoked the fears of those who read the articles with prophecies of impending doom. (Personally, I think the US is on untenable ground financially, and cannot continue on its current course without dire consequences resulting, but it's one thing to think that, and another thing altogether to let such thoughts dominate your thinking, which was clearly Nada's hope.) In short, it was obvious that Nada didn't come into the conferencing calls with a plan, at least not one that would have truly benefited the men who spent two hours each week on Skype instead of relaxing, pursuing hobbies, and so forth.
Push came to shove last Monday. I awoke, and opened my email to find that Nada had sent an email that included a link to a video - a link that has since been disabled, interestingly. I watched the six-plus minute video, and in it, Nada says that he's disappointed with the Mastermind discussion group. After a token nod towards his own accountability in the matter, instead of telling his audience that as the leader, the burden rests upon him and he will resolve to do better, he castigates the members of the Mastermind group for gossiping, indecision, and lack of results, and says that to resolve the problem, he will now charge $197 per month for access to the Mastermind discussions, an amount that would jump to $397 per month if one didn't sign up by the end of the next day.
On top of this, he sent another email the same day in which he offers two tips at a time, twice a month, for $97 a pop. In the email, he tells you that after watching the video, if you make excuses and don't sign up, then "you hate success". So, in short, his solution to the problem is to blame others, and charge each person an additional $400 to $600 per month.
Well, that was enough for me. I severed contact with Nada, and took my name off his mailing list. The money he got from me was not nearly the amount he received from others, but it's all the money he'll get from me.
At first, I was hesitant to post a report, due to my embarrassment at having been conned. But then, I realized that by not posting, I was letting Nada win. By posting this, I not only regain power and dignity, but also help make certain no one else gets taken in by him.