Like it or not, Nigeria is fast becoming the bride of other nations. Many nations are noticing the world’s largest Black Country; from the US, who see us as it’d most supplier in terms of petroleum to China which believes in immeasurable profits from their range of standard and substandard products, the nation is turning into one big supermarket. Despite the threat of insecurity and corruption, both corporations and individuals cannot ignore the market.
Doors of opportunities and investments are opening everywhere and you need to take your portion; from local and global stocks, with the understanding of terms and platforms; MLMs, with the pyramids and down-lines and pay-offs; import businesses with the attendant customs and embassy runs; real estate, from Mowe to Lekki … the list is endless.
In our quest for alternate source of income after accumulating some money, most people fall into the hands of different schemes, scams and over-priced shares only to look back later, and begin to bite our fingers in regret at the glaringly stupid decision we had made. What was I thinking?
Most of us especially fall into this because we believe others are better than us in managing our funds, while servicing our own laziness. Because we do not understand ‘our homework’, imagine thousands who have fallen for crazy robots, believing there are robots that can trade FOREX better than we can ever try by ourselves in the market. Then why do airline companies pay millions to human pilots when there are autopilot machines? Will you ever board an airplane powered solely by an autopilot? Surely there is good money made by investment companies waiting for you to put your hard-earned money in their hands, after promising unbelievable results. Why we fall prey? – We lack the necessary financial intelligence
Without the requisite know-how, we will fall blindly for the bait, those promises that make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, those ideas that sound like a sure-fire money-maker, especially if the press is writing about successful legitimate companies in similar industries. They will then tell you they have discovered a secret banking system where the big banks make astronomical returns, and you can’t participate unless you place your money with someone who is an expert in dealing with it.
Here are some tips that will help you in making that investment decision;
While no investment is fool-proof, it’s easy for ventures promoters create the illusion of authenticity and success by hoisting a website, incorporating, renting office space and issuing partnership units or stock certificates. But it is not that easy to fake that spirit of enterprise. You can go visiting, not to pay, but to observe. This can reveal a lot of things, how the office looks, how the workers behave and if they are active investors in the business being proclaimed. Check if they are registered with the main registration bodies of their nation. I once read of an FOREX broking firm in Florida, where the business ran amok before they discovered the ‘international ’ business is not registered in the country, and operates from the kitchen of their two-room apartment. You need to do your homework.
How exactly does your money move?
Not just what they tell you they do. Some of them leverage on your investments and use it for other businesses run by them. Once your money is in their accounts, they dictate when to get your money and how. It is better to have an investment club where you people decide what to do with your money, than to fall into the laps of investment experts with multiple businesses.
Legitimate companies account for investors’ money at all times. Ask for written proof of how much of your money is going to the actual purchase or development of the opportunity and how much is going to commissions, promoters’ profits and marketing costs. If most of your financial investments are slated to cover expenses and costs, then much less will be available to make profits.
Any investment scheme, proposition you cannot monitor by yourself…DON’T
Once your money has been deposited in their account, there are about a hundred different ways for the scam artists lick it up. This has become the advice of people who have been burnt by these opportunities everywhere. Businesses that the only activity seems to be around receiving payments and verifying payments, without understanding or seeing the actual business activity…watch your steps. You may be walking on a keg of gun powder.
The tyrannies of the urgent…hurry now!
Using sales marketing techniques, these businesses create the impression that only a few shares of stock or partnership units are left. They try to convince you that you’ll miss out on a big opportunity if you don’t send them thousands of naira by overnight courier or wire transfer. Once you give your money to them, you are no more in control and it may be too late to get it back. Take your time. An investment that needs you to take a hurried decision without thinking is probably not the best for you.
Does the investment have a track record?
These investments should have been done somewhere somehow, if it has never been done, scram. How long has the company being, or was it just created solely for that single investment idea? Those are questions you ought to ask yourself. Claiming that their “opportunity” is similar to those of “hot” entrepreneurs, scam artists often use news stories about the success of legitimate companies as bait. Unfortunately, success stories of other companies in the field are irrelevant for your purposes. Call the numbers of the testimonials (some do not even have numbers!) Get the track record of the company you’re considering investing in and the background of the people promoting it. Some of them scam people in the east and then run to the west. Google them, what do you find?
Do I have an independent, knowledgeable, trustworthy person who can advise me?
Before joining the bandwagon, get an independent appraisal of the specific asset, business or venture you’re considering. Usually, when a business opportunity is in the papers, chances are that the gainers have already made their own money. An appraisal offered by the party selling the investment opportunity can be fake, but someone who will not gain from your ignorance or in that specific opportunity can offer great insights. Talk to the previous owners of an asset in the area or a business you’re acquiring for its value history. Discuss all investment ideas or plans with an accountant or an advisor you know and trust.
Do I know who I’m dealing with?
Can you find published information about the company in which you’re investing, proof that the company has registered the securities it is selling with a government agency (if required), or someone you trust who has heard of the company? Have you checked with your state securities agency to see if the promoter or sales person is licensed to sell securities in your state, if required? If not, be cautious. You’re giving your money to strangers.
Checking law enforcement agencies is prudent, but not fool-proof. It may be too soon for the company’s victims to realize they’ve been defrauded or to have lodged complaints with the authorities. In addition, fraudulent promoters can lie about their name or their business history, or even pay people to be “references.”
Do I know when something is too good to be true?
Investing is risky business. Anyone who tells you an investment is likely to turn a profit quickly should have a basis for the claim. The higher the profits promised, the higher the risks. Demand written proof of profit projections from independent sources. Be especially wary when someone tells you profits will be big enough to offset the risk of investing. Every potentially high profit investment is high risk.
They will also tell you that they or whoever they are working for has done these trades for fifteen or twenty years, and have secretly made hundreds of millions of dollars. They are allowing you to do these trades instead of doing it themselves because they have made enough money and want to help you benefit from some church, charitable, or humanitarian purpose. They will tell you that there is “NO WAY” that you money can disappear, and that it will sit in your own bank account unmolested until your hundreds of millions arrive. They will tell you that you can make astronomical interest rates, such as 20% to 80% per week, and that exponentially your profits will skyrocket.
Essentially, no investment is 100%foolproof. But any lapses should not be because you did not do your homework. These have guided me, thus far and my gains have far exceeded my losses. Have you learnt some things in your investment dealings? Share with us