How Losing $4600 Inspired Me To Start Lyfe Happens
It’s not easy owning up to a mistake you made, and I am certainly no exception. Years ago, I wasn’t who I am today. I was selfish, constantly thinking about how everything can benefit me, and me only. That type of mindset was detrimental to my relationships with my friends and my family and it resulted in me losing contact with a lot of people that I actually cherished. At one point, I could barely speak to my brothers because we didn’t see eye to eye and I look back and realize how stupid I was for not trying to understand them and their points of view. I’ve changed a lot since then and I am glad you are all here to join me on this incredible journey and pathway to self improvement. We’ll begin with a little anecdote:
Thomas and Jimmy were childhood friends who grew up together since the age of 2. They experienced nearly everything together – rollercoasters, waterparks, bike rides, fort building, and slaying the ultimate fairy tale monster, the dragon.
Thomas and Jimmy were both “Type A” personalities, so you can just imagine how often they would argue if they didn’t agree on a particular topic:
“No Tom, your idea is stupid and ridiculous. We should do what I said instead. It makes more sense!”
“Oh yeah Jim? How about I show you what makes sense!” – [POW right in the kisser]
“What the f*** Thomas?! You broke my tooth.”
Okay, it may not have went like that exactly, but I think you get the point. You're probably thinking, "What does this have to do with losing $4600?" A lot. Always watch your back. Even those you trust can turn on you in an instant.
My name is Jiel Selmanovski and the above anecdote has a lot to do with a personal experience of mine that occurred just this year (2015). In the beginning of frigid Toronto January I was approached by a person I trusted. Often times he would talk to me about personal loans that he gave out and how he made a great return of “15-20% in 30 days”, and it got me thinking how great it would be to make some extra cash to improve my financial situation so I bluntly asked him to take me for a test run (NOTE: THIS WAS NOT AN ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE INVESTMENT). He promptly agreed. Now you might be thinking, “You didn’t have him sign any paperwork?” Yes, I did. It was a meager document stating that he was solely responsible should the investment go sour and that he would pay me back in full, with the accumulated interest.
The beginning of February approached and like clockwork, he paid me back $2400. I was impressed and hooked. A couple of days later, he brought me another opportunity, except this time it required a $4600 principle. It was going to pay 15% in 30 days. I was a little hesitant because it was much more and I didn’t want to get greedy. After mulling it over for two days, I justified the investment to myself as an opportunity to have my money work for me better than any other short term investment. We signed the paperwork and he was on his way.
This is where it gets tricky. 15 days later I gave him a call and he answered the phone:
“Hey Jiel, I’m a little busy right now, I’ll call you later.”
He was a small business owner, so I understood that he could get busy during the day, but I never had him speak to me like that before, nor disrespect me so blatantly. I knew something was wrong. He never called back. A few more days went by and I didn’t hear from him, so I called him. No answer. I did what basically anyone would do, call our mutual friends and associates and ask if anyone had heard from him. Everyone stated the same thing for the most part – they’ve been busy or simply, no. At this moment, I became worried. I thought for sure I had been taken for a ride, but unexpectedly, I received a text message and it was from him.
“Sorry Jiel, been crazy busy. I’ll give you a call when I can.”
I soon discovered that text message was easier to use as he would respond quite frequently and it was a great way to record our “conversations.”
March 1st, 2015 came and went like any other day, except for the fact I didn’t get paid. Days would turn into weeks, weeks would turn into months and all I was getting were excuses. Now, I am in the midst of small claims court and guess what?! I will most likely never see my money. The judicial system is slow and I have come to realize that the money I invested, is gone entirely. I will never see 46 handsome faces of Robert Borden in quick concession come from the hands of this person that I “trusted.” I didn’t even have the chance to kiss it goodbye.
Key Lesson: There is no such thing (I repeat, NOTHING) as a get-rich-quick scheme and when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
However, I can’t be the only one. This scenario has happened to a lot of people (including my awesome co-founder) who had the money, and even to those who didn’t have the money and borrowed it (even bigger mistake). It kick started my motivation to use my financial prowess to inform others on the lessons that I have learned in my 20’s about personal finance, and in this case, street finance.