Payback Time by Phil Town

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Payback Time by Phil TownIn Payback Time, Phil Town teaches you the tenets of value investing, the same approach that Warren Buffett takes, with today’s tools. With all the value investing books out there, what separates Town’s Payback Time, and his earlier work Rule #1, from the pack? Two reasons – first, he’s not a long time investor who is very far removed from “Main Street,” he was a regular Joe just a short time ago and he’s able to explain concepts in terms most people can understand. Second, he explains these terms and walks you through the tools, like the screener from Yahoo Finance, you can use today to find good companies.

At the core, the book is about value investing and finding good companies you can understand, have a strong moat, and allow you the opportunity to accumulate, or “stockpile,” as the years pass. It’s value investing at its finest and a topic that really isn’t glamorous. Value investing is one of the best ways to accumulate wealth and it requires work, though Town makes a good point – it sounds like a lot of work to do this research but “does it sound like more work than flipping burgers all day when you’re seventy-five?” 🙂

The main title is a bit misleading because it seems to imply that we’re going to do something that “gets back” at the investment bankers and mortgage lenders that got us to where we are today. However, the subtitle is really what the book is about – “Making big money is the best revenge,” which is exactly what Town seeks to teach with his book.

A few years back, when he released Rule #1, I had a very entertaining interview with Phil Town.

The book delves deeper into value investing by talking a little about technical indicators (chapter 6 is good), like supports and ceilings. It’s a great chapter on the subject if you’ve never read about them before but my favorite part is this insight about technical indicators – “It’s just a sophisticated form of guessing, but if enough Big Guys are guessing the same way, the guesses turn out right over and over again.” (As an side, I thought it was interesting that one of the examples, Burlington Northern (BNI), was recently acquired by Buffett)

If you want to learn more about investing in a way that is very approachable, I think Town’s book is a good start.

{ 20 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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20 Responses to “Payback Time by Phil Town”

  1. jsbrendog says:

    payback to yourself by making big money and no longer feeling jealous

    • aua868s says:

      well said…good to spend time to learn to be frugal and save money but the better approach would be to spend the time on building wealth so that we can continue to lead a non-frugal life(did not mean to say foolish life)

  2. thomas says:

    I really enjoyed Rule #1. Now let’s hope my library gets this book and several copies.

  3. Chris says:

    Sounds very interesting.

  4. Bret says:

    I don’t know about Phil, but I met his brother, Skip Town.

  5. Shauna says:

    Phil Town is a scam like BetterTrades. It is a get rich scam and Phil is dishonest. I KNOW this firsthand. I have emails showing it. The man is dishonest, the “company” he is working with now is dishonest. Save your money, that is the best way to “get back” at the market and the government. Turst me when I say Phil is dirty, his company is dirty and there will be Phil Town SCAM sites soon enough.

    • Jim says:

      Can you give more details besides just saying scam over and over again? Do you have any proof?

      • Tom says:

        I can. BetterTrades has “coaches” that teach you how to trade. Quite a few of them actually got in trouble with the SEC and has forced them to leave BetterTrades because they come off as actual traders but they are only paper trading. BetterTrades recently lost about 95% of their employees because of poor management and SEC investigation and fees. Not to mention they created SeizetheDay to rival Get Motivated. That’s where Phil Town comes in. He used to be at Get Motivated and went to SeizetheDay (same company and people as BetterTrades). Long story short, SeizetheDay lost millions at their two events because Get Motivated came a week before with the same format; thus grabbing potential customers (not in ticket sales but in the sales pitch by people like Phil Town). Anyways SeizetheDay is no longer and more people got laid off.

        Don’t get me wrong, SOME people do make money using the BetterTrades system. Another reason BetterTrades failed is because the SEC came down on them regarding their infomercials. It was untruthful and misleading using words like “step-by-step” and phrasings in the line of “easy money, fast” and people just go on and sign up after Market Essentials for a rather “fair” fee of around $2000. What they don’t tell you is that you NEED the other tools that they say are optional. That’s where they get you. You have to buy the tools in order to succeed and these tools are damn expensive.

        Their CEO/Founder/Guy who lost his fortune more than 2 times, Freddie Rick is a wreckless man. Not only did he take money from unassuming customers, he also laid off the majority of his employees who are there to make an honest living. They are left without severance and left out to the curb. Most people are still struggling to find jobs and cannot support their families. Freddie Rick makes it sound like his employees are family but he only uses them. Once he gets what he needed from some employees, he lays them off.

        • Tyler Sawyer says:

          I am a student of Phil’s, and have gotten to know him personally. I have nothing but positive things to say about him and the rest of Rule #1 investing. I don’t know what the “scam” is about this, as I see people posting. I’ve been training for a few years, and may get hired by them. I have had nothing but positive experiences with them, and think everyone at Rule #1 investing is salt to the earth.

    • santo says:


      I have a hard time trusting someone who spells ‘trust’ turst. If it is a scam then I think it is great. I have read both book and found them to have lots of good information. Sounds like you have lost some money and did not follow the rules correctly. Since sticking to the rules I have come out ahead with an average RTO by 73%. The one time I thought the numbers were a lie was the one time I got bit in the end and lost money.

    • Tommy v says:

      Anyone who says this guy is a scam (shauna) has never put in the time to learn what he is teaching. I am a financial advisor, and his method of finding good companies to invest in has consistently helped me to find profitable investments for my clients and myself. Just one perfect example was CTSH. I bought this on 9/29/09 for clients at 39. Today, 2/17/11 it closed at approx 77. I used the big 5 numbers and his other techniques to figure out the intrinsic value. This company was a wonderful company at a wonderful price, just as he teaches. I also used his approach on when to exit the trade. The stock still looks great, therefore we are still in it…at approx 100% rate of return so far. This is just one example of many other similar trades. So, anyone who thinks Phil Town is a scam is an idiot. You are just too lazy to put in the small effort to practice what he preaches…and instead you just bash the guy. The SEC should ban you from trading…because you are too dumb to trade. Go buy mutual funds, because we all know they are not scams. They only charge 2% or more every year, underperform the market, and lose half your value in a crash. But Phil Town is the scammer???

      • BeenThere... says:

        Tom sounds to me like someone who has worked with Freddie Rick/Bettertrades/Phil Town. How do I know this? Because I did work with Freddie Rick/Bettertrades/Phil Town. I am also one of those who got caught up in the many round of layoffs that occurred within that company between October 2009 and late 2010.

        When I worked with the company, there were probably close to 100-150 employees working in my office alone in the Atlanta area. As of right now, my understanding is that they are down to approx. 15 employees total, for the entire office.

        And I am here to tell you that what Tom said in his post is the unvarnished truth, and his level of detail about how it went down is what leads me to believe that he, like me, worked there at some point in time and saw it first hand.

        Yeah – we were all told we were family. And just like family, that asshole Freddie Rick expected us to do all the shit details, work for free, clean toilets after these scam classes, stay late, come in early, whatever he needed doing – he expected us to do it, without so much as a thank you, compensation, or anything. Just get it done, or you will be remembered as not being a team player.

        And just so you know, I went out and started my own business about 3 months after getting laid off, and am successfully executing that business today. I was over Bettetrades and Freddie Rick by the time I was a block down the road after leaving there the day I got laid off. So, I am not hating on them, or holding a grudge, nor can I be considered a disgruntled former employee…I did my share of finding jobs for as many people as I could who were left behind and got them out of there so they could continue on with their lives and not be haunted by the day to day stress of whether Freddie Rick was going to cut more losses due to his recklessness, and make more of his “family” pay the price for it.

  6. SeeNote says:

    How can he be a scam? His book teaches you how to evaluate a company in order to stockpile. What’s he ripping people off of? Brain Cells?

    Please expound maybe you drilled down deeper than others and have found the magic ripoff bullet.

    • Chris says:

      It is a scam. The whole idea of these seminars with great speakers is not to sell tickets. They insert sales people like Phil Town who has a presentation about how you can earn money even when the market is down or up. Then after his hour long presentation, he will say “You can sign up for a seminar for just $99 and we won’t bill you now. We will only bill you when you attend.” It’s the whole “sign up now, THEN decide.” Hundreds of people line up right away at the designated tables in the arena to sign up. The packages he sold ranged from $3000 to $20,000 so they only need to convince a few people. After the seminar, the net $ made is around 150k -250k. By the way, Phil did not make his money stockpiling or the fact that some rich guy taught him how to invest (the story he tells – which is actually true). No, he made his money because the company he worked for got bought out and he owned a lot of shares.

      And FYI, the company he left – Get Motivated – is still doing the same thing, with the same presentation. The company he was with – SeizetheDay – is out of business because of Get Motivated’s clever tactics.

  7. Krien says:

    don’t think this dude is a scam artist its just not a very good investing book. who cares about if a company has meaning to you – if its a good investment its a good investment regardless of your involvement. the mutual fund stuff is just fluff to fill this book out and it serves as talking points. warren buffett would roll over in his grave if he cared enough to find out this guy was tainting his method and riding his coattails. theres some good stuff but random tidbits like 15% mar are dumb and he doesn’t bother looking at quality of earnings, just wants a good growth rate. skip it.

    • Tanmom says:


      Just a note on your comments about Phil Town….Warren Buffett is still very much alive. I got your point but to be accurate will validate your comments in the future.

      You’ve obviously studied his techniques which I found helpful. Thanks!

  8. A1graymatter says:

    Bought my copy today for $2.00!!

  9. Mark says:

    I saw Phil at a seminar in ’08. I am typically very skeptical of speakers and what they’re selling, but after a year and a half of using the tools and reading the books, I can tell you that the system works if you have the money to put into it. Currently I’m unable to play in the market with a new family and funds being tight, but when I was investing using his methods (modified somewhat to suit my lower $$$ limit) it worked like a charm. Phil has corresponded with me personally about companies I was interested in investing in, and I asked him the same question. If it’s a good deal, why should I care if the company isn’t a company I love. He said it’s a moral decision in the end, he just chooses to invest in companies he thinks are benefiting the world, not destroying it.

    Overall, an amazing guy and I thank him every day for putting me on the path to personal wealth.

  10. Jay says:

    I am on chapter 5 of rule #1 and decided to look at his website phil mentions in the book, the links to all these tools he mentions do not work, in the FAQ under invest tools there is a link to another company who is only to glad to sell in vesting tools for money i just don’t have, what pisses me off is so far in his book phil mentions free help a lot….OK, great, but where is it?

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