My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 28-year-old POS operator who lost about ₦3 million to betting while repaying a loan. He tells us about the circumstances that led to the loss, why he no longer bets, and the lessons he learnt from that experience.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
In 2019, I worked as a filling station manager. Someone came to the filling station I worked at to buy diesel, but they didn’t pay before leaving. It was a lot of money, so to retain my job and that of the attendant who sold the diesel, I had to pay it. I took a high-interest loan from a POS operator, and I had to refund ₦2,500 or ₦3,000 daily.
Within a month or two, I was on my way to pay back about ₦150k to cover the loan. But the repayment was draining my finances very quickly, and I had to take another loan from a friend to survive. One of my friends recommended betting as a way to get quick money to offset all my current debts and get back on my feet.
And I agreed.
It was actually good when I started. My first bet was with about ₦20k, and I got a payout of ₦100k. That win made me happy, so I increased my stakes and got another payout. I should have stopped there, but I was convinced that if I increased my stakes again, I could get really rich.
That was when I started losing. At that point, I was trying to recoup the money I was owing and also recoup the one I was losing to bet. So I bet some more. Eventually, I stopped.
How much did you lose?
₦3 million. I did the calculation, and I was so scared; it wasn’t even my money. As you remember, I started betting to pay off a loan. I got even more loans from that POS operator and from friends and family.
Have you been able to pay back the debt?
No, I still have about ₦450k left, and I hope to finish paying this year.
Wow. It’s been years. How’s that been?
It’s not a story to remember. I almost took my own life after it happened. It was a sad experience.
How’s work going?
I lost my job. The debt led me to start taking money from work.
What do you do now?
I now operate a POS stand.
Some days are good, some days are bad.
Do you still bet?
No. After losing all that money, I can’t bring myself to gamble.
What did you learn from that experience?
I learnt a lot o! First, I learnt that you have to be content with what you have. Any promise of quick money is usually a lie. Also, we’re usually too optimistic about how much money we can make from a venture, but that’s not always the case.
It may be attractive initially, but it’s usually difficult to get out. If I had lost from the beginning, I wouldn’t have gotten involved at all.