Karl Domm of Clovis has certainly paid the price for his success in the marketplace.
From lawsuits for his YouTube reviews to “blowing out” his investment fund six times before finding a reliable method, Domm finally found his stride in “objectivity” and “transparency.”
A licensed financial adviser at Clovis Wealth Partners, where he’s president, Domm now uses YouTube, as well as his own financial education course, to reach people around the world.
But it took decades of experience and dozens of courses before he found a consistent model, he said. What separates him from other educators, he says, is all of his books are open to show what works.
Often, financial educators on social media rely on clever marketing to sell their financial courses, Domm says. And their success comes from selling to people who want to make it big in the marketplace.
“What really happened was there became a good marketing model that people could follow,” Domm said. “And they’re like, ‘Hey, I could market things to people whether my product’s any good or not.'”
YouTube’s outsized influence in the world of finance has only grown in recent years. World Economic Forum reports Gen Z is almost five times more likely to seek financial advice on social media than older generations.
Forbes reports that 79% of millennials and Gen Z youth have gotten financial advice from social media, with YouTube and Reddit leading the way.
In 2011, it was hard to find financial educators, Domm said. In 2014, that number started to grow.
“But then you started getting into like 2019, 2020 there’s ten times as many as there was in 2014,” Domm said.
Domm said too many educators found they could make money with the right marketing, rather than sound financial strategies.
And, without making public their profit-and-loss statements, it’s hard to tell what money came from their education courses and what came from their trades. His own YouTube page “Real P&L,” has grown to more than 18,000 subscribers.
Now he wants to change the industry of financial education by getting educators to open up their books.
“My goal is to change this industry because I’m tired of these guys going out there and telling everybody how to make money, but they can’t make money trading themselves,” Domm said.
Domm Wanted to Be a Millionaire By 30
At 19 years old, Domm wanted to find a way to make money with the least amount of effort. With planning, he thought he could achieve millionaire status by 30. That didn’t happen.
“When I hit 30, I was behind. I wasn’t close,” Domm said. He had his business degree from Fresno State, owned some real estate, and was a regional manager at a water treatment company.
He tried online trading when it first came onto the scene. He listened to financial advisers say which stocks would be hot because of a new product.
“I tried that for a while. That didn’t work for me,” Domm said. It wasn’t until he tried options trading he found something he felt he had control over.
“It’s like selling a depreciating asset and then buying it back for less,” Domm said. He found relative success, but every time he got somewhere, he would lose it all. He blew out his account six times, he said.
In 2008, TD Ameritrade called to tell him he needed $125,000 to cover his losses. After some negotiation, he paid off his debt but it cost him everything he had.
“2008 was the last time I blew out my account. The financial crisis blew out my account because I didn’t know what I was doing,” Domm said. He decided he needed to start learning from people who knew better.
Too Many Educators ‘Show Their Winners and Hide Their Losers’
“From 2008 all the way to about 2019, let’s say, I took well over 30 online courses during that timeframe,” Domm said. Having been through the peaks and valleys he had, he wanted to share his own experience with those courses.
Some courses were more sound than others, but one common feature was none of the instructors shared their profit-and-loss statements.
In 2019, he started his own YouTube channel “Real P&L.” He wanted to show his viewers how his trades fared in real-time. He uses eight objective questions to determine whether to buy or sell an option. He said he found a way to be hedged but also outperform the market.
Of the 30 courses he’s been through, about five have been successful in his experience. But what sells to consumers is charisma. If an educator can make an idea sound sophisticated, somebody might believe it. And it’s easy enough to hide what doesn’t work.
An instructor might brag about a successful trade on a Tuesday and then not post their position the rest of the week, he said.
“You just didn’t make money that day, so you couldn’t go out there and tell people. That’s what they do. They show their winners and hide their losers,” Domm said. “I’ve called them out on it. They don’t like me.”
Domm said going after educators has been “dangerous.”
He and his family have been threatened. One trading and investing expert has an active lawsuit against Domm for defamation.
Markus Heitkoetter of Rockwell Trading, author of the “PowerX Strategy” and other books, sued Domm in 2022.
He’s received other threats of lawsuits. He said because his reviews are based on facts, they have nothing to sue over.
“I’ve been threatened and I’ve been sued because I believe in the truth,” Domm said. “And if they don’t like it, then I don’t care. Truth is the truth.”
Gambling Mentality Takes Over the Investor
The reasonable person knows they’re not going to double their money every three months, Domm said. But even the most reasonable person thinks, “Maybe it could happen,” he said.
“That’s what people prey on, the people who want to gamble and take a chance,” Domm said. That’s why he created his own educational course. He also does tutorials on his YouTube channel.
“I realized I could help these people by creating courses where they could learn how to trade properly,” Domm said. “I basically doubled my account of $100,000 to $200,000 on my channel right in front of everybody.”
Domm said this is the first year he’s made more money from his education business than from his trades. The difference between him and other educators, he says, is that he still makes a significant amount of money trading.
He loves business modeling.
Providing working models for people gives him credibility as a human being,” he said.
“I believe in capitalism. I believe if you provide value for somebody, you will get value in return,” Domm said.