I’m Stupid When I’m Desperate

When you are desperate, you think and act stupidly. This was my story a few years ago. I was in a bad position financially. I didn’t know how to earn more, I didn’t know how to limit my expenses. I’m only left with a constant worry about my financial state.  Every thought I had was how to earn more money but never about how I got into the mess in the first place.

Desperate – Scam Experience

Then just as I wished, I was introduced to the MLM world. The standard scam, pyramid scheme, hard-selling, degrading others. (Note: Not all MLMs are scam. There are legal ones out there). It wasn’t for me, but damage had already been done by introducing my close friends into it. Anyway, as expected, it didn’t last long, and the money I invested considered burn.

Then my friend invited me to join a personal finance talk on a Saturday morning. I was hoping to find a solution to my financial problems, but the talk was mostly about how and where to invest for the coming years. Although, I didn’t get what I wanted from the talk, but it was my introductory to the personal finance field.

Desperate – Out of My Control Experience

I was still finding a solution to my problem. Next came an advertisement from one of the local banks on how to trade options in the US stock market. Mind you, I don’t know anything about stocks, markets or trading back then. As the saying goes “you need to spend money to earn more money”, I decided to swipe my credit card worth RM10,000, which I didn’t have, to join this three-day course. I was young and naive to realize the saying does not apply to financially stressed people like me. It has been nearly 5 years now, I have yet to do a single option trade or recoup my investment amount. I practically accumulated additional RM10,000 debt on top of my existing debt.

This was me, jumping from one investment opportunity to another. There are other experiences, but I think you get the picture. I hoped one of these investments will ease my financial burden, but I always end up accumulating more debt and headaches. How did I end up this way? It’s simple, I was desperate for money. When you are desperate, you think and act stupidly. If you think about it, it’s during these desperation times, you tend to take the highest risks. When it comes to personal growth, these risks might be a good thing, but when it comes to personal finance, it is the stupidest thing you can ever do.

Desperate But Within My Control

Am I free from this financial burden now? Not fully but I’m at a better position compared to a few years ago. What changed? Well, I came to realize the result of any investment is out of my control and there is a big risk element attached to it. There are too many external factors dictating the short-term and long-term return. So, instead of that, I just shift my attention to actions that are within my control. The main ones are; change of lifestyle to limit my expenses and build the habit of saving money.

I’m not saying investing is bad. On the contrary, investment is important. But if you are doing it out of desperation, then you are looking for trouble. Short term with high return also means short term with high risk. Can you handle these risks?

In a way, all these experiences are a blessing in disguise for me. I learned a lot, but it came at a very expensive cost. Debt is one thing, the mental torture that you go through is another thing altogether. It drains your energy. The reason I’m sharing my experience here is that I’m noticing others going through the same ordeal as I did previously. If you are reading this and you are financially stressed, my only advise, start paying attention to actions that are within your control. Trust me, mentally you will feel much better.