Is Altucher's Secret Income a scam? In this article, we will review if James Altucher can really deliver "instant opportunities" with his "magic investment strategy".
As we will discuss, the writer is a man known for his wild and attention-seeking marketing tactics.
Often, he teases you with an opportunity you need to “take advantage of right now”. Some supposedly contain "mind-blowing information" that will make you earn millions of dollars.
The prudent thing to do is not to get carried away. Do not be pressured by the countdown timer or the "opportunity of a lifetime" you will supposedly miss.
Some promotions usually have a deadline or some timer to make you decide immediately. But when you leave or go back well after the time limit, the offer is often still there.
So take the time you need to examine such advertisements.
The investor and author found success and fortune in his various ventures. Because of this, he aims to help people earn more by taking advantage of “special situation” stocks.
What are these unusual investments and how can Altucher help you get more income? Continue reading to know the nitty-gritty of his offer.
- Name: Altucher’s Secret Income
- Editor: James Altucher
- Publisher: Three Founders Publishing
- Website: www.threefounderspublishing.com
- Service: Investment strategy advisory service
- Price: One-year subscription costs $4,000
In his weekly newsletter, James Altucher promises to give you his secret strategy so that you will massively earn in options trading.
As with most of the other services, the service promises to deliver top-notch advice.
With a hefty price tag, anyone would reasonably expect to get fresh and eye-opening insights. Though there are always risks involved, it better be revolutionary and fool-proof to justify that amount.
Before you part with your cash, let us help you digest first all the details you need to learn.
Who is James Altucher?
James Altucher is a certified multi-hyphenate.
A close look at most of his endeavors would give us a glimpse of his credibility. If he is successful at what he does, it can guarantee to some degree that his principles are sound.
This serves as a signal to his potential subscribers that what he preaches comes from a place of actual, real-world success. He has learned from his other endeavors and he applies all the lessons he teaches others in his life.
Of course, this is not a 100% guarantee. As humans, even the best of us still fail. But success is very reassuring, nonetheless.
So, what areas has he been demonstrably excellent at?
Well, he is good at his hustle and self-promotion, that’s for sure. He has built a brand that capitalizes on his individuality, including his big, crazy-scientist hair.
But he is also a hedge-fund manager, author, podcaster, entrepreneur, financial pundit, influencer, stand-up comedian, and chess master. The guy does not seem to sleep.
But he does, as he advocates sleeping eight to ten hours each night. This is among the life principles he swears by.
All his life lessons, he shares in his books. He is the author of 20 to date, including the Wall Street bestseller, Choose Yourself. The self-help book talks about achieving real “inward” success.
In 2014, USA Today named it as one of the best business books of all time.
According to his profile, 20 million readers have visited his blog since its launch in 2010. His podcast that also bears his name has had 30 million downloads.
Altucher is also a fixture of major publications and networks, both as a contributor and subject of profiles and articles.
But things have not always been rosy for the guy. In the 1990s, he made millions from a web-design company he made. But he squandered his wealth and went from “$15 million in the bank to $143 in the atm.”
It was after this episode that he found interest in the stock market. He got a gig at James Cramer’s TheStreet and later on moved to write for The Financial Times. These gigs made him a household name in financial circles.
Soon, he once again encountered financial problems during the 2008 financial crisis.
Also, in the course of the investor’s career, 17 of the 20 companies he started failed.
Due to his controversial statements and books on taking care of oneself, he has also earned the title “Oprah of the Internet.”
In a New York Times profile, he discusses why he holds such attention-grabbing ideas. One such mindset is his assertion that college is a waste of money, even if he graduated from Cornell.
Our regular readers would also be familiar with him because we have already reviewed his StarNet Companies teaser.
What is Altucher’s Secret Income?
This is a research advisory service released weekly whose focus is options trading. He will teach you a special formula so you can get regular income, even on a weekly basis.
Further, Secret Income exploits a loophole described as options mispricing. Acting on his weekly advice guarantees instant financial rewards, according to its promotions. We will flesh out his ideas about this later.
Aside from the newsletter, Altucher offers other services under Three Founders Publishing. These are Altucher’s Investment Network, Top 1% Advisory, Altucher’s Weekly AlphaBrain Alert, Altucher’s Angels, The Altucher Report, and Altucher Alliance.
We have already written an article on this site reviewing Altucher’s Weekly AlphaBrain Alert. The service features his AlphaBrain algorithm that detects self-correcting glitches in stocks.
How it Works
The magic formula for earning more income is in options trading, according to the author. The hedge-fund manager says that you can make thousands of dollars in an instant.
And you do not even need to buy or sell a single stock.
He says his “brand-new put-selling” service will teach you his best practices so you can do great at options.
Green Bull Research also has a recent review of a similar options advisory service called Jeff Clark Trader. In the article, we have discussed in detail what options exactly are.
On the process of Altucher, he says that his team looks for “mispriced puts” to sell. He adds that since most investors price options incorrectly, this is a huge opportunity for you.
Secret Income looks for those that are highly mispriced. Then, you sell them to “gamblers” ignorant of the ins and outs of the trade.
Now, is there such a thing as mispriced options?
To comprehend this, we need to look at the methods hedge-fund managers like Altucher uses.
First, they determine the fair value of an option depending on the contract they're trading. Additionally, they examine its implied volatility.
When an option’s price increases above or falls below its fair value, they consider it as mispriced.
This happens when there is a discrepancy in how they perceive the volatility of two similar options, for example.
In this case, the course of action to take is to buy the fairly priced option (lower volatility) and sell the overpriced one (higher volatility).
The logic here is that typical (and uninformed) traders usually buy the cheapest options without regard for volatility.
But logically, as demand for them grows, so does its implied volatility. Thus, they eventually become more costly.
We can assume that these are the overpriced options you are supposed to sell (puts). Stocks experiencing increased volatility could be what he calls “special situation stocks.”
The strategy allows you to collect income in up, sideways, and even down markets. As a result, you will have an income-producing portfolio. That is the fairy tale ending.
His weekly newsletters contain information on those stocks. They also include the stories behind them, as well as what you can do with them to make money.
What you get
Based on his website, the annual subscription fee of $4,000 will give you:
- Continued research and recommendation from Altucher’s Secret Income
- Updates and alerts on the model portfolio
- Special reports and exclusive updates
- Unadvertised bonuses sent to you
- Exclusive access to the members-only website
- Free subscriptions to two daily e-letters: Altucher Confidential and the 5 Minute Forecast.
While it is true that the bonus features of other newsletters are mostly fluff and recycled ideas, this is still surprising. For that amount, we expected more reports or extra features. A free signed book, perhaps?
But since this is a weekly newsletter, maybe the information they provide would already justify $4,000. But that remains to be seen.
It is always advisable to read more about products and services that use hyper-aggressive marketing. The goal of such tactics is to catch your attention. They may succeed in doing that with creative, over-the-top advertisements.
But do not allow dubious claims to get the best of you. Be diligent in learning more about the writer, service, and publisher.
Altucher’s Secret Income does not have direct reviews on the more reputable websites that we usually rely on.
But we did get mostly negative reviews from his other services as well as his publisher/s. To be fair, we chose not to include them here in this review as they do not pertain to Secret Income specifically.
But, we will be remiss in our duty to you if we will not give you a fuller picture of the kind of services he offers.
So we will look at commentary that directly talks about him. His brand is front-and-center in this newsletter anyway.
We must discuss the track record of the author and namesake of the newsletter service. The credibility of the writer affects the reliability of his stock recommendations.
Further, he asks you to trust him with your money. This includes both your investment in his services and your stocks investments. Naturally, you need to get as much information as you can.
Since you have seen the glowing profiles of Altucher, we also want to show you less glamorous portrayals of him.
An article in Yahoo! Finance sharply criticizes his textbook get-rich-quick pitches full of pricey upsells and cross-sells to other affiliate products. The 2018 article critiques his cryptocurrency teaser for Choose Your Financial newsletter service.
The article says that Choose Your Financial is under Agora. We have written about this company’s sketchy marketing style in a previous article on Alexander Green and The Oxford Club.
We initially thought that this new publisher of Altucher's Secret Income, Three Founders Publishing, is an independent firm.
But upon closer inspection, we found out that one of its publishers is Bill Bonner. This man is the founder of The Agora. So there’s nothing new. Same old tactics.
As mentioned, we have seen many negative reviews of both Agora and Choose Your Financial. Thus, it will not be a stretch to assume that the new identity could be an effort to create a fresh new image.
The article also cites an observation that the trader usually pushes for tiny companies that are often not sound. Due to his huge following, their stocks would naturally rally. But after a while, they will lose money.
Despite such criticisms, Altucher remains confident about himself and the newsletters he provides. He says that the such comments do not affect him as he only puts out well-researched information.
This is typical of people with larger-than-life personalities. In fact, he says that it is only out of his generosity that he comes up with such services. His main agenda is not to earn, but to help others.
Now we do not know how many he has helped due to the lack of reviews, but we are well aware that he does earn a lot. The services he offers are not cheap.
Even if you get the more affordable options, subscribers say that you will be bombarded with constant nudges to upgrade.
The current advertisements for the service do not mention the possibility of refunds.
Based on what we have said about the guy so far, you could assume that he is a very confident entrepreneur and trader. Google him and only the best descriptions will appear for the first few pages. He is an accomplished man and he is not shy to tell the world about himself.
This is why it is regrettable that there is no mention of a refund policy. If he is truly confident about his magic, he should allow dissatisfied subscribers to opt-out.
We are advocates of a healthy refund system for such financial advisory services. As discussed, most of them promise to give you the moon, stars, and the whole sky. Their editors and writers claim over-the-top titles that practically make them royalty of the financial kingdom.
At the same time, we have often discussed how deceptive the credit card and renewal fine print can be. This is true for Altucher’s past services and it is true for a good majority of advisory firms.
So it is necessary to have a no-nonsense, crystal clear policy for refunds. It serves as protection for consumers who shell out large amounts of money.
If the publishers are confident of their services, why wouldn’t they offer customers a fair deal?
Pros v Cons
- James Altucher is an accomplished multi-hyphenate
- Options trading can be lucrative for those who understand it
- History of overpromising
- Over-the-top marketing
- Expensive price tag
Conclusion - So, Is This A Scam?
James Altucher is a proud multi-hyphenate. The paradox is that though he is a confident man, he also does not shy away from discussing his failures in his life and career.
That could be a hallmark of his humility.
Or it could very well be an aspect of his packaging and branding. He is your over-the-top, big-haired, eccentric investor and life guru.
These are great for his brand as a writer and podcaster, as a media fixture. But do they help his credibility as a financial advisor you can trust?
Well, it would be unfair to judge him by his looks. The world’s richest men and women, the genuine geniuses, do not typically fit the mold of a formal-looking business mogul.
So let us turn to the quality of his advice.
As mentioned, there are valid criticisms in this regard as well. People still remember his aggressive cryptocurrency marketing campaign, and not for positive reasons. Also, there are doubts about his stock picks.
So what is the verdict on his newsletter service?
To be honest, there is very limited information available specifically about this service. Most discussions are on his other newsletters. The majority of the available literature is about Altucher himself.
A fair reading on the guy would reveal that he is a credible writer, entrepreneur, and marketer.
But is he an authority on investments and should you subscribe to him? There are issues raised, so in the end you would have to weigh them based on the available information we presented.
Is Altucher’s Secret Income a scam? He does offer an existing advisory service. So it is not a scam, at least in that regard.