Personal Finance: Getting Out of Debt (2)

Greed is one major reason why many fall into financial troubles and lives are laden with debts. Many want to sow where they didn’t reap-often looking for shortcuts to prosperity.
That misnomer of ‘ise kekere, owo nla’ (small work but big rewards) has led many into avoidable headaches including scams.
Initially, I ignored all the news of people getting astronomical returns from their ‘investments’ after just week 3. I saw various testimonials all over but I resisted the pressure.
The ponzi schemes came with very fanciful names and new ones sprang up on a weekly basis with ‘investors’ waiting to put money in Week 1 so they could cycle out quickly. It was when a friend showed me proof of his investments and returns that I decided to try it out.
You’re usually encouraged to start with money that you can afford to lose but it’s a bait. Once your fish swallows the bait, you’re hooked. Most schemes started with 16k. By week 3, your reward is 32k. Many often rolls over the proceeds to get 64k by week 5.
If you roll over again, you get 127k and this is where it gets interesting. If you rollover 127k, you’ll get almost half a million in just 7 weeks. No bank or investment will pay this kind of return.
That was the situation around 2008/9 when those schemes ran amok then. There was a particular rave in Ibadan and I was introduced to the wife of the owner of the company. I asked her if the scheme was genuine. She replied in the affirmative but what was I expecting her to say?
I also asked what businesses they were investing in that gave them those crazy margins. ‘Oil and gas’ was the ready answer. I saw a particular fellow who was one of the agents cruising a ‘Tokunbo’ car. It was purchased via the proceeds of ‘investment’.
A friend also bought a plot of land. Could all these people be wrong? You would never know if you don’t find out.
I was paid an allowance at work so I took it and headed for the bank where the account of this particular company was domiciled. I paid it in and collected my teller. I can’t recall the week I joined again but I was full of expectation.
I was about to join the league of millionaires. In just a few weeks, my life will never be the same again. The countdown started. A short while after, I started hearing rumors about some kind of trouble with the company.
‘It’s not possible’, I told myself. Not when I finally decided to invest. Which ‘kain’ wahala be dis? I went to the office of the company at Adamasingba in Ibadan. It was shut. I met ‘fellow investors’ there cursing and wailing.
Anyway, I knew the wife of the owner of the company so that should offer me some form of immunity. I called her number. It was switched off. I tried that number every five minutes expecting to hear the woman’s reassuring voice. I’ve not seen the woman till date.
I got home and started plotting how I would recover from this temporary setback. The problem with many is that they don’t know when to cut their losses and call it quits. I was told about a very fresh scheme that was in its second week.
I thought that maybe the problem with the previous one was that it had already matured before I started. I borrowed some funds to invest in the new scheme. I was happy when I cycled out in two weeks and I was paid. Now, this is my Ebenezer. I rolled over immediately.
I got back the new rewards in two weeks. I thought it was Ebenezer but maybe it’s Rehoboth- open doors. Greed has a way of sucking one in.
Then, I had a thought. Why was I investing small? Why not look for money to borrow and invest big time so I can cash out big time? Little investment, little returns but a big investment will yield bigger returns. If I had invested big a few weeks ago, I would have cashed out big.
According to Lao-tzu, ‘There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontentment. And there is no greater disaster than greed’. I borrowed some more and added it to my existing investment. I was waiting for my biggest payout ever.
Mo fe ‘blow’- I wanted to blow. I started calculating all the things I would use the payout to do- my house was uncompleted then. I imagined the kind of roofing I would instruct my architect to use- state-of-the-art and very modern with beautiful finishing.
Greed would always make you spend before you earn- at least in your mind.
The payout never came. I was expecting a breakthrough but I was broken through and through. Around that time, there was another pyramid scheme where the investment amount was in dollars and part of the reward was travels around the world.
The name was carefully crafted to depict freedom and we called ourselves a club. Anyone who registered was to look for downlines to register. The more you register others under you, the more you’re able to rise and earn money. You could look up your position by logging online.
One day, we just discovered the thing had gone bust. Many were left weeping and gnashing their teeth. This was my experience and the precursor to my dabbling in forex. Many go from frying pan to fire all in the bid to solve their money troubles. I was heavily in debt.
My savings were gone and I was owing two major creditors. I was getting letters reminding me of my outstanding indebtedness.
You see, MMM, Get Help, Flip Cash, Binomo and a few others that came around recently are just recycled versions of those older ones. These schemes will keep thriving on people’s greed. There is actually nothing new under the sun.
Here’s one of the lessons I learnt during that turbulent period- When you get little, you want more. When you get more, you desire even more. But when you lose it, you realize little was enough.
Good news is I was able to resolve my indebtedness in two years. I’ve given this background so anyone who is indebted will understand that no matter how deep you are in that hole- even if you made silly money mistakes- you can get out and take control of your finances.
I’ll now show you how I got out of the hole in Part 3.

Luke 12:15 ERV- Then Jesus said to them, “Be careful and guard against all kinds of greed. People do not get life from the many things they own.”

Bayo Adeyinka

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