I was at State University for two years when I was told by my guidance counselor that I needed to pick a major before starting my junior year. I believed that most people at college already knew what degree they wanted and I had become extremely anxious because I was not able to find a major that excited me.

While my father declared me as an accounting major, it only took two semesters of accounting, Accounting 101 and Accounting 102, for me to learn that being an accountant was not for me. My counselor explained that by not having a declared major, I would not be taking the exact courses that I needed to be able to graduate in the remaining four semesters that I had the money for.

My parents divorced when I was thirteen, they stayed together just long enough for me to have my Bar Mitzvah. There was a trust fund set up to pay for my sister and I to go to college for four years.

The thought of running out of money before I would be able to graduate from college, stressed me out tremendously. So much so that I thought that taking a year off to try to figure out what I wanted to major in was a great idea. Not my dad. He knew that if I took a year off I probably wouldn’t return.

Do I Invest?

About five years later I was having a discussion with a friend that worked at an investment company.

The second half of my money for college had been sitting in a savings account, making about 10%. (Yup… 10% in a savings account!)

When that information was revealed, she immediately exclaimed “You should “INVEST” that money and turn it into even more money like “EVERYONE DOES.” You should talk to <I was going to say protect, but I really want to expose this creep> because he makes so much money for so many of our clients and you would absolutely love him… she continued pitching.

I was twenty-three and the “invest” and “everyone does” phrases were thought provoking to me. I had heard of investing but it always seemed risky to me. I kind of knew, or assumed, that everyone did it, at least the hooty tooty of the world and wondered if maybe I should be looking into it.

The Investment Sales Pitch

A few weeks later my friend set up an appointment with <unexposed liar>. My wife, girlfriend at that time, agreed to come along with me as I wanted and valued her opinion. I was very focused with my questions and extremely concerned that there would be no element of risk concerning my money.

investing salesman

I remember saying that I wanted to make sure that my children would be able to go to college with the proceeds from this money, the leftover money from my parents trust fund that was for my college education. How cool to pay it forward to another generation, I remember thinking, if I wasn’t going to be using it myself.

He asked how old my children were and was completely confused when I told him that I didn’t have any children yet. (That is when I should have left his office!).

After our preliminary discussion, his fact-finding questionnaire and more questions from the two of us, he told us that he actually had the perfect place for my money to be invested. He further explained to us that where he wanted to place my money was into an investment grade portfolio that not only would generate more than enough money for my children’s college educations by the time they needed it, but that it was also an extremely safe place to put the money because of the “diversification” of the portfolio.

He said that he himself was putting quite a bit of his own money into the portfolio.

The Bull Was Really a Bear

About four years later I received a phone call. It was <you know who>. He just wanted to let me know that he had my certificates at his office and that I probably should come down and pick them up.

Wait what?… Why???

Well, they aren’t really worth anything anymore… pennies on the dollars, he was mumbling.

I caught the general idea of what he was trying to say and the next thing I remember was pulling into their parking lot feeling grateful that I wasn’t pulled over during my 80 mph dash there. I burst through the entrance doors and my friend, who was sitting at the receptionist desk, tried to calm me down. She said that she will tell <the lying thief> that I was there, but I was already entering into his office.

You know how the adrenaline starts to make you shake when you think you are about to get into a physical altercation (a fight) with someone? I was shaking!

He babbled about how sorry he was and how he lost money too and that if funding didn’t dry up and a bunch of other things that I really didn’t understand nor care about. I couldn’t hit him, as much as I wanted to, but I did flip out on him, throwing all his words back into his face.

I thought this was a safe, secure, long term investment, I lost it… I was screaming at him!

As he gathered the “worthless papers” off of his desk and into his hands, I was made aware that the State Police had been called. I finished my verbal assault, took the papers from his hands and retreated to my vehicle, knowing that I just had to go home.

That was a long drive home. Hate and anger completely consumed me. I was so angry… first that <mr financial ‘professional’> could screw me over like that and second, virtually all my money, all the money I wanted to use to pay for college for my children was gone. How could something like this be allowed.

Could This Be Legal?

Well, I found out that it really wasn’t allowed nor legal a few months later when I received class action law suit paperwork.

I was contacted to be interviewed about how much experience I had investing and what <financial ‘professional’> had said to me about the investment/portfolio. I was extremely excited when they told me that I would be awarded the highest compensation due to the fact that I had no previous investing experience and that I was grossly mislead by <mr financial ‘professional’> and his investing firm.

My extreme excitement quickly disappeared months later when I opened the envelope containing my check from the lawsuit… pennies on the dollars again.

The Lesson

What did this expensive experience teach me?

  • I trusted someone else with my money and I will never do that again. (No one will ever care as much about your money as you)
  • I didn’t do my due diligence and research the financial “professional” nor the fund/portfolio. I am over trusting someone else with my money. I could spend my time researching and doing my due diligence if I wanted to stay in the risky investing arena, but quite honestly, I’m over even being in that arena! I found a much better place for my money and a much better way to handle my own money.
  • I expected a certain return on investment and that is an expectation you should never have when investing!
  • Investing is risky, well actually the risk is only upon the person with the money. (Me and my money) so go into it expecting to fumble.
  • It is always a possibility of losing 100%. I am NOT okay with that.
  • If everyone knew how to make 20% return, they’d all be doing it.
  • The only safe place for money is in a savings account making 0.01% That was what I was starting to think, although back then savings accounts were paying 10%, until I found a concept that makes perfect sense.

What’s The Point?

No one cares for your money as much as you do, why trust someone else with your money?

The only person that bears any risk when investing is the investor.  I’m NOT okay with that.  I want my money to grow guaranteed.  I want my money to grow without it being taxed.  I want access to my money.  I want to be able to use my money WHILE it is growing.  I want to be able to pass a lot of money on to future generations without it being taxable.

*Spoiler alert: I have since found the smartest and most amazing place to hold money that eliminates risk and taxes. Be sure to check out the “Infinite Banking” posts.

For your best,
Dad

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