Someone I know very well recently got scammed of her hard-earned money. How did it happen? She was on Facebook, saw someone familiar talking about an investment that pays 300% ROI in 24 hours by using your funds to trade forex. She checked out the quoted website and concluded it was legit. Before one could say Jack Robinson, she wired money to the “forex trader” and was jubilantly expecting her capital plus 300% ROI in 24 hours.
I’m sorry to disappoint you but I’m not here to talk about investments or how to tell if an investment is genuine or not. You can read about it by checking out my article Looming Danger. I’ll however mention that the story I narrated above can be titled “How not to be an investor”. I say that because everything my friend did flouted all the basic principles of investing. Like I told her she might as well have withdrawn the raw cash and flushed it down the toilet. (Forgive my bluntness)
Before I move on to the crux of the matter i.e. the reason for this article, let me tell you how the story ended as you may be itching to know. It turned out the Facebook account of the supposed familiar person was hacked. It makes sense that the hackers did that because hardly would anyone jump onto something based on a stranger’s recommendation. Also, within a few hours of making the transfer she was asked to invest more money as the one she invested won’t be enough to complete the trade. As if that was not enough, when she said she had no other funds to invest, the idiots went straight for the jugular by requesting for her Facebook details including her password so they can log into her account and do God knows what. All these are far fetched as far as spotting a fraudulent investment is concerned. Investment 101 tells you that a ridiculous ROI is either Ponzi or scam and even for legit investments you must inspect before you invest.
Enough said, what I really want to talk about is how you can leverage on other people’s knowledge. Hardly do you find a single individual that’s a subject matter expert on every subject. Yes, it’s possible to know everything about something (an expert) and something about everything (an informed person) but you can’t know everything about everything. You are not God. This is why King Solomon said in the multitude of counselors there is safety. You must seek counsel or get a second opinion before making an important decision. Before delving into an unfamiliar terrain discuss with someone familiar with that terrain. Resist the temptation to act like you know everything. Life is not a competition. You have a lot to gain by seeking counsel and a lot to lose by not doing so.
Please note that leveraging on other people’s knowledge does not mean you’ll always get it right or that the outcome will always be favourable. Good business deals fail, loving relationships can go south but the feeling is worse when you know you shot yourself in the foot. If you’ve ever lost money or anything important as a result of not leveraging on other people’s knowledge, the goal of this article is not to demoralize you, open your old wounds or remind you of your indiscretion. I want you to do things in a better way. Consider your losses as the cost you bore for learning or as a friend of mine put it, “You didn’t lose money, you only paid school fees to learn”.