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 26-year-old IT engineer who invested ₦465,000 with a firm that failed. He tells us why he got into the business, how it crashed and the losses he suffered.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
I made a bad investment decision which has proven to be the biggest money mistake of my life. In January 2021, I invested €1,000 (₦465,000) with a firm. It looked legit and my parents had been investing with them for two years and receiving profit, so I felt it was something I could do passively and make some money. But before I could get my first returns out, the company crashed.
Tell me more about their investment plan.
It’s a company that gets investors to invest in different agricultural products. The firm gets the products, plants them, harvests them and sells them before distributing profits back to their shareholders. The payment is usually profit plus your initial investment. You’re required to open an online account with them.
How did the business crash?
It started around Christmas of 2021, when I tried to withdraw my profit and couldn’t. They said some products got destroyed, and they asked us, the investors, to give them time to sort things out. But it’s been almost a year since and we haven’t heard anything from them.
Were there any red flags?
To be honest, I was skeptical. I felt it might be a bit shady, so I tested the waters by investing only a thousand euros. My parents had millions worth of investment with them, so I was fairly confident. I just feel bad for them because all that money is stuck in limbo with no hope of getting it back. The firm has completely ceased communication with us and I’m not in Nigeria to pursue the matter.
How much did you lose in total from this investment?
About ₦700,000. That’s capital plus projected interest.
That’s a lot of money.
It is, but I work in Dublin, so it’s not too much of a loss, but it’s the biggest amount I have ever lost at a go.
How did the loss affect you?
My confidence in investment is a bit low. I saw this as an opportunity to invest in my country and make extra income, but I’ve lost faith in the system and might stay away from investment opportunities or until I find something viable.
What’s your biggest lesson from this ?
I believe having a financial authority to speak to before making investment decisions would have helped greatly, even if it means paying for their services. Moving forward, I’d speak to an expert before investing my money. Such a figure should be able to provide insight that might lessen the risks.