Money Talk

estate of mind
One way of making the runaway real-estate market seem less outrageous is to get in on the action. For 28 years, Milton Pachter’s one-day seminar What Everyone Should Know About Real Estate, at NYU’s Real Estate Institute, has been giving people the lowdown on mortgages, appraisals, and – yes! – ad valorem tax policies. “I have couples come in rather than going to the theater. I tell ‘em, ‘Let’s sit back, have some fun, and learn a lot.’ And do we ever!” says Pachter, who also tag-team-teaches the school’s six-day accelerated salesperson’s pre-licensing courses.

“There are a lot of motivational sales courses,” says veteran broker JoAnne Kennedy of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. “But I’m not a Tony Robbins person – in sales, you either have it or you don’t.” This said, if you’ve got it and want to take the next step – become a broker – there’s a state broker’s exam every month. To prep, Kennedy recommends the “detailed, not to mention cost-effective” classes at the Real Estate Board of New York, where Eileen Spinola recruits and trains top-notch real-estate instructors for the broker’s licensing course. The board also offers seminars in commercial and residential realty. “This subject matter isn’t mesmerizing,” admits Spinola, “but in all modesty, one thing people tell me all the time is that they really enjoy it, because we engage people – we make it more than just palatable.”

“What Everyone Should Know About Real Estate,” Saturday, October 23, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., $145; “Accelerated New York Real Estate Salesperson’s Course”: six sessions, beginning September 17, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., $520. The Real Estate Institute, 11 West 42nd Street (790-1346).

“Broker’s Qualifying Licensing Course,” September 17 to November 18, 5:30 p.m.; $325. Real Estate Board of New York, 570 Lexington Avenue, at 51st Street (532-3100).

be accountable
Okay, one certainty in life is death. But taxes? It’s hardly a sure thing that we will all file our taxes on time. Or legally. Or, better yet, promptly and legally with that shrewd, Machiavellian guile that enables us to deduct more from life than … death. On the other hand, it is utterly certain that mortals will reward handsomely a wizard who can do just this. Wanna join the guild? How ‘bout the firm? Tax behemoth H&R Block offers some of the most comprehensive, up-to-date professional classes in New York. They’ll take you on an exciting tour of state and federal deductions, withholdings, and forms. The wild ride rocks you through 66 class hours over eleven weeks, for $149 including textbooks. H&R Block’s West Side district manager, Saul Klein, says they train thousands each year. Better yet, Klein adds, “we offer interviews to all of our top students.” If you’re accepted, should your personal clients suddenly learn how to file their taxes online, you can fall back on 18 million paying customers! Now, that’s certainty.

H&R Block, various locations; 800-tax-2000.

trader kicks
Combine the two biggest booms of the decade – the Internet and the stock market – and you have, depending on whom you talk to, either the long-overdue deliverance of direct market access to the man on the street (that’s you) or yet another way for compulsive gamblers to hang themselves (must be talking about somebody else). Either way, day trading has completed the transition from bull-market fad to viable career choice, and companies that offer real-time trading to nonprofessionals continue to pop up. Three of the most established are All-Tech Training Group, tradersedge, and Legend Trading. All teach essentially the same thing – the ability to trade your own account on their software – but there are major differences in the software, the atmosphere of the trading rooms, and the length and cost of the seminars.

All-Tech, after ten years in business, is the granddaddy of day-trading firms. And they’re still pioneers at heart. “We’ve told the brokers, ‘I can learn to read the same screen you do,’ ” says instructor Immanuel Aponte. All-Tech’s training is a mix of lecture and simulated trading. There are people at the main office who will deny you a trade if you move too slowly – a common real-life occurrence. Would-be wealth builders with no experience should consider that All-Tech’s four-week seminar is the longest, most in-depth one available.

Fans of the best-selling book The Electronic Day Trader, by Marc Friedfertig and George West, will also approve of the weeklong training seminar at tradersedge. Students watch the market all day and do simulated trades on paper. In the evening, they listen to day traders discuss the day’s market and sit through a lecture that covers techniques as well as the psychology of loss, goal-setting, and other less-than-obvious (but practical) lessons. Fear of Friedfertig’s Socratic question-and-answer session will keep you from dozing.

Legend Trading offers a quieter, more comfortable learning atmosphere. Before the bell rings, students listen in on a market call in which Harbor Securities founder Warren Sulmasy highlights trends as well as particular stocks. During market hours, each student’s eyes remain glued to a computer just as they would if he or she were actually trading. The instructor provides a running commentary on the markets. After hours, there’s a wrap-up of the day’s events and pupils discuss their mistakes. Legend’s curriculum relies heavily on technical analysis, the belief that market trends can be discerned and plotted.

All-Tech Training Group: Classes start every other Monday; $5,000. 160 Summit Avenue, Montvale, New Jersey, a half-hour ride from the Port Authority Bus Terminal (201-782-0110).

tradersedge: Class starts September 13; $1,695. 50 Broad Street (378-4000).

Legend Trading: Next beginner class, five sessions, beginning September 13; $2,895. 5 Hanover Square (825-9700).

Money Talk