As rare as a second hand coffin, you are about to read a very serious column indeed. It has never been more serious and we mean serious as we speak of your hard earned cash which is about to be whisked away from you as payment for your basic needs.

Sure, something has to be done but it is a vicious circle and if gambling were legal, go for the kill, bet your entire life’s savings that your boss will not increase your salary to compensate. Oh my God! Within a few months, there might be no expatriates here to read this column. Don’t worry; you would not have missed anything, because the writer of the same will be two perk cheeks going yonder. Gonski! Most of us having no choice but to saddle up.

We can’t win can we? Some survey banded about on the news channels during January, stated that about 10 people in the world possess more wealth than the combined amount held by the rest of us plebs in their billions with sod all and piggy banks which echo louder than the Grand Canyon; add it all up and still it doesn’t match the pile that some like George Soros and his cocktail friends have stashed in Swiss banks. Digging Karl Marx up is looking ever more favorable.

Well ahead of its time, a new joke was posted on-line early last year and goes something like:
The phones are ringing across Arabia – this French-accented lady can be heard to say; ‘Your days of reckless spending on all and sundry and gadgets made by others are over’!
‘Who is this’?
‘Christine’. Then completely to the contrary, France 24 and the BBC slip in a report that the IMF has stated that low oil prices are a blight on the world. Are we all mere pawns in this big game? Conspiracy – how very dare you?

Let’s go back a few decades. Allegedly crime didn’t happen much and because there were vastly less people the odds of winning the ‘football pools’ much greater. Now it is the lottery and you have two chances of winning that; a dog’s chance and no chance at all! It is the very same with endowment and insurance policies with benefits. When oil prices were very low, most of us could bank on good returns with our investments. Are they related – who knows?

Do not get confused with financial institutions which handle billionaire’s funds. They NEVER LOSE! For the past couple of decades, well-known names with huge assets send out their ‘commission based’, well suited robots to court us the plebs, bombarding us with smooth talk, having plied Linkedin and any other social media to gain a ‘first name’ and telephone number to call, ever hopeful of securing a punter to invest in managed funds with massive returns. These days, they are as fictitious as a Nigerian scam, but we are all so desperate to survive so try what we believe to be honest and legitimate channels to enhance our own small spoils. However, those managing your personal funds are shameless. It is a vile culture that has spread through financial institutions, some of which have been bailed out only to repeat their sins all over.

After faithfully investing for 20 or 25 years many are presented with the cruel reality that the return is far less than deposited. You are hoping for a pension or nest egg reasonable enough to live on. To your surprise, you find that had you put your money in an old mattress and thrown it on a land-fill, you would have gained more. You would not have paid gross amounts of commissions to highfalutin suits parading around expensive offices claiming film star salaries each of which has done absolutely zero for you. During the 90s this behaviour was rife with people losing half their savings or more and no recourse to the law. The British government stepped in and under duress ordered a pittance in compensation (but were sparse with the publicity), which the banks and insurance companies challenged as if hard done by, but had to pay out as they sniggered at the penance. Isn’t this why we pay those commissions for them to ‘manage’ our money?

It should be a law and strict law at that, that investment, insurance, banks and the like who offer these endowment policies should clearly state by audit, exactly how much they made during your 20 odd year slog, compared to your own payout and match it. They might state their commissions if asked, but they never reveal how they used ‘YOUR’ money to make far more than you get in return.
One might even be inclined to call it ‘fraud’, but we couldn’t possibly say that could we?
See now! You were warned that the column was serious this month!