The most frustrating part of investing is how long it takes. When you invest, you’re committing to leaving your money alone for a few years, no matter what happens to it. No one who tells you they can make you loads of money in a few days, weeks or even months should be trusted. Not unless they’ve got something dodgy planned, in which case, STAY AWAY!
Here are our best tips for avoiding scams.
If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS.
If it’s a friend telling you they’ve stumbled onto a brilliant idea but won’t go into detail, or an “investor’s” promise to double your money in a week, or an opportunity to own your business and make millions (provided you buy a lot of stock to sell first, and recruit all your friends too). Just because it’s not called a pyramid scheme, doesn’t mean it isn’t one!
Don’t get dazzled.
Do your research, no matter how trustworthy the source seems. Look at all the paperwork, talk to your financial advisor, check their credentials, do some googling and ask anyone that can offer insight. It’s your money - don’t give it away unless you’re sure.
Get it in writing.
Leave a paper trail, and make sure every decision and agreement is written down somewhere so that you can refer back to it. Take the time to read the fine print, and if you can, show your lawyer or financial advisor. Do not sign anything you don’t understand 100%.
This means you need to get involved with an accredited financial planner or investment broker. They should be open to you checking their credentials, which you can do online at the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa. If they won’t let you check their details, that’s a BIG red flag.
Don’t invest money you don’t have, don’t invest money you can’t live without, don’t invest instead of paying off your debts first, don’t invest if you don’t have all your finances in order, and don’t invest if you don’t have a fallback plan. Even the best investments can take a hit, and if it’s money you rely on, it’s not a good idea to take on risk. We know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but talk to a financial advisor first.
Also make sure you deal with a regulated entity that has a Financial Services Provider license. Unregulated businesses are a major red flag.
You work hard for your money, and you work hard to build a solid future for yourself. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Be informed, and go nice and slow. Remember who won that race in the end. 🐢