Lately, I’ve been seeing posts in Facebook about some people complaining in certain real estate groups about a local real estate company. The long and short of it is that these people complain that they got duped. They claim to have invested a lot of money, only to be short-changed in the end. In other words, they felt like they did not get their money’s worth. After investing their hard earned money and expecting to see something good out of it some 3 to 5 years later, they felt that the money they invested went down the drain. Why? Sub-par quality, unfinished construction, flooded area… name it, everything that will surely make your blood boil.
This type of experience is not exclusive in the real estate industry. For as long as money is involved and some form of investment is required, there will always be a spot where some people will take advantage of other people into investing their hard earned money that will only amount to nothing.
Deceived? Stories abound in the news and esp in social media where most often than not, it becomes viral. History merely repeats itself. Time again, you hear stories where people got scammed. The most recent one is from a company that lures people to invest in gold. They entrusted their money to a friend and later on, the friend-agent will disappear and you cannot recover your money anymore. It’s always a familiar story line wherever money is involved.
Why do some people still get duped in spite of the warnings given before or despite the abundance of sad stories in the past.
Here are the reasons:
1. Greed. The Bible has something to say about this:
Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows. – Proverbs 13: 11 (NLT).
Some people, in their quest to get rich quick from their small investments, are easy prey to scammers who also have one goal in mind: to get rich the easy way by scamming people. Out of their greed, people forget to apply due diligence. They do not bother to find out where their money goes (which to me is the most important thing when investing). How in the world will you earn hundreds of thousands by just putting in a small amount of money. In a way, if an investment sounds too good to be true, then it must be “too good to be true”. In other words, it’s unreal.
2. Ignorance. Again, we should always take heed what the Bible has to say on this:
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. – Proverbs 22:3 (NLT).
When you think about it, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a simple investment cannot multiply overnight like what a typical get-rich quick scheme proposes to do for your hard earned money. Sadly, the thing called “common sense” is not really common. Maybe because we will go back to Rule no. 1. When greed takes over, ignorance follows. But… if you apply due diligence, you will think many times and hard before getting “soaked” in it.
How then do we avoid getting duped?
Here are the practical things to do first before investing your hard earned money:
1. Invest in yourself first.
Get to know yourself first. What is your investment horizon? What is your level of risk tolerance? Are you a conservative, moderate or aggressive investor? Do you want to invest short term, medium term or long term? To know this, you need to attend a good education seminar related to money or investments or talk to a competent and reliable financial advisor or professional broker, depending on your requirement. This way, you will have obtained a good knowledge on your financial priorities. Things like, 1. when to invest; 2. how much to invest; and 3. where to invest (real estate, mutual funds, stocks, variable life, etc.). can be addressed when you invest in yourself.
As the saying goes, do not invest in something you do not understand. So get to know yourself first “investment-wise” and from there, it will lead you where you want to go. Just like in business. Do not get into a business you do not know or understand unless you seek the help of an expert who will guide you and help you along the way.
2. Get wisdom and knowledge from the Bible.
If I would recommend the best financial and investment book, it is none other than the Bible. You may think that the Bible is just about love, faith, prayer. But if you will read the Bible, the Bible has more to say about money than heaven and hell combined, even more to say about money than salvation. The Bible has more to say about money than any other subject except love. You can start with the book of Proverbs, written mostly by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon.
Allow to me to share one bible verse to prove my point:
On Diversification: (To diversify means you do not put all your eggs in one basket. Practical application: Do not put all your money in one company or in one type of investments. Spread your wealth to mitigate risks.)
- But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. – Ecclesiastes 11:2 (New Living Translation)
Biblical financial principles applied yesterday, still apply today, and they will apply tomorrow. God’s principles apply if you have a little or a lot, if you are single or married, if you are young or young at heart. 🙂
So, grab and read the Bible everyday. It is not passe. It is current. It addresses many contemporary issues esp. involving money matters.