I Was Scammed – A Guest Post

Welcome to another edition of Blog Swap a collaborative endeavor by members of the Yakezie Network, the world’s largest network of personal finance and lifestyle blogs. Each blogger writes on the same topic. Today’s question, “If you had one financial do-over, what would it be and why?” After you finish this article, stop by my site, Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance to read Melissa from Mom’s Plans take on the topic!

Charles Givens

My passion for personal finance was developed early on. I hungrily devoured all information on money management and investing. In my twenties, I received a large gift of several thousand dollars from my grandmother’s estate. As was my habit, I saved most of the money. But back then I also splurged a bit when I received a gift.

After watching a compelling money management program infomercial on television, I spent the enormous sum of $300.00 on the Charles Givens money making kit. I’m afraid to calculate the inflation adjusted amount today, as it will make me feel even worse.

Don’t get me wrong, there was some value in the kit, just not $300.00 worth. Here’s the main benefit I recall from the kit; shop around for insurance and compare prices. The kit was probably worth about $15.00 or so.

 What I Learned from this Mistake

 The pain I felt after wasting that money was real. I couldn’t get it back.

  •  I learned to be highly critical of hard sell programs.
  •  I learned to doubt the veracity of oversized claims.
  •  I learned that there is no simple “get rich path” but like most things of value, wealth building takes time and patience.

As I remember this purchase, I wouldn’t change a thing. (Well maybe I would change the price from $300.00 to $50.00 J ) Although, the long term benefit I gained from avoiding future scams is certainly of value. And the satisfaction I feel right now as I google Charles Givens and uncover allegations that he was in fact a “scam artist” who was sued many times before his death, makes that $300.00 spending a well spent investment lesson.

 Tell me about your financial missteps.

By, Barbara Friedberg, editor in chief of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance.com, where she educates, inspires, and motivates for wealth in money and life. Learn money basics from a real life portfolio manager, and visit her site for the FREE ebook, 20 Minute Guide to Investing.


  1. Thank you for sharing. I think many of us can relate to stories like this. Although not an over priced money making kit, I have made purchases in the past that seemed to be reasonable at the time, if the money was available, only to regret the decision a few weeks or months later. Now I realize that you can always spend down the road, but saving the finances in your pocket is often a rather costly lesson for those that learn the hard way. I think you hit the nail on the head with your third point; “…there is no simple “get rich path” but like most things of value, wealth building takes time…”. The best we can do is make careful and informed decisions over this time and the outcome will soon be apparent.

  2. I think that, in general, if it’s on late night TV and “not available in stores!”, it’s ridiculously overpriced! I haven’t seen the Charles Givens one but my husband has a book by him, written in the 1980’s, and it’s dated but has some interesting ideas. His book was bought for $.50 at a garage sale, though. $300? That would sting!

  3. You did end up learning something for $300 – not to spend $300!

  4. @InvestSmartGirl-Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Unfortunately, we all make mistakes, as you said. Hopefully, we don’t repeat the same ones over and over.
    @Saved Quarter-He does have some applicable ideas. $.50 is a good price for his work. Just $299.50 less than I paid 🙂

    @Robert-That is exactly what I learned. And the most I’ve spent on an investing book is about $20.00 since them.

  5. I once bought a real estate training program from an infomercial that promised me the ability to buy houses with no money down. (Boy am I glad I never bought a house in the bubble) I paid 14.95 to test it out for two weeks but ended up sending it back because I was in school at the time and didn’t have time to take advantage of the program. So I know exactly how those late night urges are 🙂

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