All too often we hear about people who have been advised to invest in schemes whose returns turn out to be dismal or in some cases the schemes are illegal and people have ended up losing their retirement savings.

There are a few reasons why people are prepared to withdraw their retirement savings and put them into a scheme offering extremely high returns, least of which is the realization that they have not saved suffieciently for retirement and see it as a way to shore up their retirement investments.

Greed is the first that comes to mind. We hear and read stories of people who lost huge sums of money by investing in a scheme only to find out later that they have been scammed and their money is gone, along with any hope of a comfortable retirement.

We must acknowledge that there are scammers out there who will develop a sales pitch and elaborate networks by appealing to the inherent greed in everyone. These are master manipulators that are out to take your retirement savings with no intention of repaying you, let alone with interest. Take a good solid look at what you are being offered, check the financial advisors credentials and be weary if it sounds too good to be true.

Never underestimate the skill of a scammer to relieve you of your retirement savings, they have been successful in getting highly educated and respected business to hand over millions of Rands in cash. The most shocking thing to hear is that once the scheme has been exposed and most or all of their retirement savings lost, that they had a feeling it was too good to be true but:

A friend had made money with the scheme
He came highly recommended
His scheme had all of the necessary accreditation (did he check)
He worked for a respected investment company before

The reasons are endless, with one common thread running through. Each time a =n investor made a payment he was shown tremendous growth and advised to leave the money in the scheme to grow and “does he have any more money to invest”

These are loudly blaring warning signs, yet people from all walks of life choose to ignore these signs.

Be aware of the signs, apply common sense and never, ever, put your retirement at risk before consulting the experts.

A simple way to check a persons credentials or the products credentials is to contact the Financial Services Board.

If you are a victim of a scammer or bad advice from a registered financial advisor, your first port of call is the Ombud for Financial Services Providers.