“Forewarned is forearmed.”

Simply put, knowledge is not just power but also protection.

Thus, in light of recent pyramiding scams, I find it interesting that 3 out of the 10 bestselling-books at Church Strengthening Ministry are all about money matters: “Till Debt Do Us Part: Practical Steps to Financial Freedom” (#5), “How I Made My 1st Million in Direct Selling and How You Can Too!” (#7), and “For Richer, For Poorer: Why the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer” (#10).

(My friend, wealth and life coach Chinkee Tan, wrote all these three smash hits. He even graciously gave me signed copies. I read through “Till Debt Do Us Part” in one sitting. It’s really a page-turner!)

To keep ourselves from falling into the trap of those “double-your-money” scams, I believe we need to read (and heed) what Chinkee’s books are teaching.

For example, Chinkee cautioned, “Never invest in something you do not understand, no matter how profitable it may be.” (“How I Made My 1st Million,” p. 29) Had the victims of those get-rich-quick schemes done a little research, they would have found out that not even banks could offer 30% to 40% ROI for their supposed “investment” in just 8 days. Even people who invest in legitimate businesses also fail when they don’t follow that advice. “This may sound repetitive and basic, but unfortunately it’s the most neglected rule of all. Emotions and excitement can often overrule logic. When you see a business opportunity and you feel this is an opportunity of a lifetime, WAIT. Take a quick step back, relax and think! (Ibid, p. 33)

Sadly, we read of people borrowing money from loan sharks because they wanted “to invest” more. But Chinkee discourages such practice. Getting into debt is easier than getting out. … It is easier to borrow money, but it is hard to pay it back. Debt is like quicksand that is constantly trying to pull you down. Unfortunately, many people simply never escape it.” (“Till Debt Do Us Part,” p. 121) Thankfully, he also outlined in his book steps on how to get out of debt. One practical way to get out of debt is to stay out of debt. “Don’t ever commit the mistake of borrowing money from another person to pay your original debt and then go through the same process. … Simply put, if you borrow money to pay off the debt of another debt, the cycle will never stop. Don’t incur more debts while you are trying to pay them off. (Ibid, pp. 131-132)

Picture from The Express Tribune
 With what they went through, the victims of the scam must be feeling so crushed. But, Chinkee offers them hope. “Your past does not define you. It’s what you do with the present that matters!” (“For Richer, For Poorer,” p. 13) Even if we crumple or step on or spat on a thousand-peso bill its value remains the same. So also with those of us who made grave mistakes. “Remember this: we are still valuable, no matter how messed up our life may have been, no matter what we have gone through in the past, no matter what our limitations may be or the excuse we might be making to ourselves and others, we are still of great value, we still have potential. So never give up on our dreams.” (Ibid, p. 14)

Ultimately, he points us back to the One Who can still rescue us from this dire strait. “Let us not put our hope in our business. Not in our connections, not in our relatives or parents, not in our friends. Let us put our hope on someone who will never leave us nor forsake us, who will never abandon us in times of need, and who will take care of us and protect us at all times. There is only one person I can think of who can really help us get out of this situation, and the person is no other than God. (“Till Debt Do Us Part,” p. 153)

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