Your intentions were to put a money away a little bit at a time so that by retirement age you could rest easy. Unfortunately, saving for retirement hasn’t gone quite according to plan and now you are growing desperate for a decent return. Then, out of the blue, you are contacted about an opportunity to earn a high financial return. It’s an answer to your prayers. Or is it? The truth is: if an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it probably is.
You need to be wary of any investment that promises you an extremely high yield. I have yet to hear of any investment opportunity with low risk and high reward.

“Ponzi” schemes (named after its creator) are investments where someone promises you high financial returns or dividends that are not available through traditional investments. Then, instead of investing the funds of the investors in an entity, the schemer pays “dividends” to the initial investors using the funds of succeeding investors. Unfortunately, the scheme generally falls apart when the administrator either runs off with all of the money or when they are unable to find new investors to allow the continued payment of “dividends.” Either way, you are out of your entire investment. Many people have lost their entire life savings to schemes like this.

Also, watch out for deceitful investment advisers. Often they prey on the older generation – mainly because they are the ones with the money. They come across as honest, caring and considerate, with only your best interest in mind; but the truth is they often first have their own best interest in mind. They may be able to help you make a good return, but it is at your risk, not theirs. Now, it sounds innocent enough, except often they want you to invest in high-risk, high reward stock, when you are nearing retirement and should have a low-risk portfolio. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some very honest, caring advisers who are worth their salt; but they can be hard to recognize. After all, they often look and sound the same.

So who can you trust? Look for someone who has similar values as you and who truly listens to your heart and cares about your legacy. Be wary of someone who overemphasizes his trustworthiness and honesty. Avoid the
money manager who wants total control of your investments and who makes exaggerated earnings claims. Exercise due diligence in selecting investments and the people and organizations with whom you invest. In other words, do your homework before investing your money. Make sure you invest in something you can believe in. Consider talking to someone you can trust who has no interest in the matter. Get their thoughts and then both of you do research on the opportunity. If you are not sure how to do the research, then have someone help you. Ethical companies will not only share openly about the investment, but they would encourage you to do your own research as well. If they pressure you to get in now or you will miss out on the opportunity, then it’s probably best to miss out.

Lastly, pray about it. After all, it has always been His. “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.” – Leviticus 25:23

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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