Rule 1 Investing Workshop

I heard about Phil Town’s Rule 1 workshop from a colleague who trades options pretty actively in the market. Now, I trade in the financial markets sporadically and have spent many years learning all things finance but theoretical knowledge doesn’t make you money. I wanted an easy to follow guidebook on value investing (Ben Graham/Warren Buffet’s strategy) and options trading. Rule 1 seemed like a good place to learn those things. I did a quick search online for reviews but didn’t find much except for a few Reddit posts. Phil and his daughter Danielle host a podcast about investing called InvesTed. A lot of the other attendees had learned about the Rule 1 workshop while listening to the podcast.

One of the coaches on stage

Signing up and trip planning

The main location for the 3-day workshop is Atlanta, GA although sometimes they do host it in San Diego, CA. The big sell for this workshop is that it’s absolutely free. The cynic in me got skeptical when I heard that it’s “free”. But my colleague assured me there was no up-selling. I applied for a “scholarship” on Phil’s website and received a response within 2 days approving my enrollment. The workshop is hosted at the Peachtree City hotel in Peachtree City, GA. Using the Rule 1 rate, I was offered a nightly rate of $129/night++ for a room with 2 double beds. I found it cheaper to call and book rather than do it on the Hilton website. Booking flights was fairly easy, ATL is the closest airport and I decided to not rent a car and just Uber. Ideally, you want to arrive by Thursday night and have your return flight planned for after 5 PM on Sunday.

In hindsight, given the remote location of the hotel, I’d recommend renting a car otherwise you’re at the mercy of the hotel’s sole restaurant. They do offer special buffet menus for the workshop at around $16-20/meal. Apart from the food, the hotel is adequate. Additionally – pro-tip, I discovered an app and website, that delivered food from many local restaurants, called PTC Storks that I used on two occasions. Delivery times were pretty long but the food was pretty good!

The workshop

The overall agenda of the workshop is available here. The workshop is usually a Fri-Sun event and they pack up the schedule to the brim. On Friday, we started at 9 AM and wrapped up at 11 PM. Saturday was a 12 hour day (7:30 AM -8:00 PM). Sunday ends at 3 PM. We had approximately 350 people in attendance with a few international attendees as well. Apparently, we were the largest class till date.

Phil telling us about his investment journey

The topics they cover include analyzing a company’s finances at a high level, finding undervalued companies, following and copying value investing gurus, technical analysis and trading options including basic multiple leg strategies. If you’re new to finance, it can be a little hard to keep up with the breadth of topics (tip: do the pre-work; recommend reading about options basics on our page here). If you’re familiar with the basics of options etc., you’ll likely be able to keep up. They also mix things up to keep the agenda a mix of numbers, lots of personal anecdotes, and motivational speakers. Overall, the first day and a half seemed more related to the finance basics but the intensity picked up once everyone was on the same page.

There are also many coaches, who are ex-students of Phil, that help organize and teach the workshop. Most of them claimed to be money managers (and semi/retired from their regular jobs).

Conclusion

I highly recommend the workshop for all investors. Even if you are a fairly advanced investor, unless you trade options on a daily basis you’ll still learn a lot. My only gripe is that the workshop seems a little rushed towards the end. You essentially just get a glimpse of advanced strategies. Phil and team offer 1:1 coaching as a paid follow-on offering for those that are interested. I’ve not yet made up my mind about these.

The big cost here is the flights/hotel and the opportunity cost of a weekend. For most people, the value of the workshop far outweighs the price. I’d also recommend doing this as a couple or group of friends. A lot of people were there with a friend, colleagues and significant others.

If you’re thinking of attending or have feedback from your experience, leave us a comment!

Addendum: Since attending the workshop, Phil’s team followed up and offered group coaching sessions; they wanted a commitment for 1 year and recommended that I plan to spend 8-14 hrs/week on this; there was also a fairly chunky cost associated with this but I’ll refrain from quoting numbers here. It seemed like a good idea and even my colleague (who pointed me to Phil’s workshop originally) recommended it as he had benefited greatly from it (he said he made the money back easily). However, given the choppy market conditions and a personal liquidity crunch I decided to not partake for now. If any readers sign up for this, we’d appreciate if you leave your feedback in the comments section.