(Ozeme J Bonnette) Keeping Our Eyes Open For Deception: 3 Signs Of A Bad Deal

by Ozeme J Bonnette | Sept 15, 2012

In reading Genesis 27:35-36, I am reminded of the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."  We see that Esau has been caught off guard twice by his twin brother, Jacob.  Deception is clearly not a new concept.

In today's society, deception continues to run rampant.  If we are not careful, we can be misled by the very people we are trusting for advice.  Let's consider three signs that a venture we are considering may be a bad deal.

There is high profit potential

Chia-Li ChienWhile there are many business deals that have the potential to be highly profitable, we must carefully evaluate that potential relative to the specific industry.

For example, let's look at real estate.  If an opportunity comes up and the purchase price of a home is said to be listed at half of the actual market value, we should do some additional research.  We might ask the following questions:  What is the condition of the property?  How is the neighborhood?  How was the actual market value calculated?

This list of questions is nowhere near exhaustive, but the point is that this may not really be an opportunity to double our money.  It might take several thousands of dollars to get the property ready to resell.  The neighborhood may have some challenges that have driven the resale value down.  The actual market value may be based on inaccurate information.

If someone gives us a tip that investing in a business venture will provide us a 25% return on our investment in 6 months, we have to ask questions.  These numbers are unusual - not normal.  We have to dig deeper to make sure that the investment is sound.

Solomon shares with us in Proverbs 14:15, "A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps." (NIV)

We haven't considered the risks

There is risk in everything we do.  We just have to decide if the potential return is worth the risk we need to take.  If our solicitor has not outlined all of the possible risks, we should determine them for ourselves.  In the real estate example, we run the risk that homes may not be selling quickly in the area.  There is a cost to holding on to a property while waiting to rent or sell it.  There is a risk that there are unknown repairs that need to be corrected before renting or selling.  Lack of disclosure does not mean that it doesn't exist.

In the business venture example, there is a risk that the actual profits are less than 25%.  There is also a risk that the principal may never be returned.  Is the business operating both legally and ethically?  Is there any additional liability when participating as a financial contributor?  These situations should all be considered before determining whether to become involved.

We have to decide quickly

Salespersons thrive off of the pressure they throw our direction.  By creating a sense of urgency, they can often get us to make a decision that we may later come to regret.

We can all think back to at least one time where we made a decision in haste, only to later realize that it was not the best option.

Anything that is meant to be will happen.  If it's in God's plan, it will come back around.  We should never feel pressured to act so fast that we are not careful.  Proverbs 28:20 tells us, "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished." (NIV)

We have to trust God to provide for our needs.  We cannot get so eager to get rich that we act irrationally.  It will come back to bite us.

As new opportunities present themselves, let's carefully evaluate them to consider the true profit potential and the risks involved.  Let's not feel pressured to respond on someone else's time schedule, and seek God's assistance as we prayerfully consider how to proceed.

About Ozeme J Bonnette

Ozeme J. Bonnette is a financial coach, speaker, and the author of Get What Belongs to You: A Christian Guide to Managing Your Finances. She began her career at Merrill Lynch. She now teaches and speaks throughout the U.S. to increase financial literacy. She earned 3 Bachelor's degrees at Fresno State and an MBA at UCLA's Anderson School. Find her at http://www.thechristianmoneycoach.com.


About Chia-Li Chien

Chia-Li Chien

Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Chia-Li “like JOLLY!” Succession Strategies for Women Entrepreneurs. She is Chief Strategist of Value Growth Institute dedicated to helping private business owners increase the value of their firms. She is the award-winning author of Show Me The Money and faculty member of American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter was named a top small business resource by the New York Times “You’re the Boss” blog.


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