Learning From The Past And Starting Over
For some time now, I’ve been thinking of the Aman Futures ponzi scheme that has rocked Pagadian City. And I’ve wanted to write about it, but hesitated because I might inadvertently add insult to injury.
I don’t blame the people who were taken in by the scam. Ponzi schemes have been around for decades, perhaps centuries. People have been fooled and most probably will continue to be fooled. Although some participate knowing it’s a scam but hoping to get in and profit before the end comes.
But what’s been fascinating to me is the 12 billion pesos. An amount that huge will surely change lives, for better or worse. And what that amount represents to me is potential. And when I think how this amount came mostly from ordinary folk, what that tells me is that the potential to change lives is in their hands.
What if, bonded by their shared misfortune, they decided to unite together and use that potential to change their lives? What could they accomplish?
Barangay Kawit, has only 6,000 residents. I’m not sure how much Pagadian City has, though I’ve read that a city in the Philippines has at least 150,000 residents. Not all of them were taken in of course, and part of the 15,000 defrauded investors were from other places.
But if I assume 5,000 investors came from Pagadian City and only 20% percent of them joined together, that would mean 1,000 people pooling their funds.
If they all agreed to give 100 pesos per month, they could have 100,000 pesos to use each month to start improving their lives.
With a monthly fund that big, it could be invested in high-yield time deposits while scouting for and deciding on a better way to earn. And there are a variety of choices.
A bond fund can and get around 5% return in a year.
Or it could be invested in equity funds. Since the start of the
year, the PSEI has gained about 24%. And investing in an index fund or a
well performing equity fund should have gained at least 20%.
Or (after pooling for a while) it could be used to start a business. Maybe there’s a nearby location that would be perfect for a resort. Maybe a golf club or country club? A gas station? Maybe start a farm? A hardware store? Or an eatery perhaps? If it makes sense, maybe even a fast food franchise.
It doesn’t even have to be a big business. The fund could instead be used to start several small businesses. Office supplies store? Perhaps a franchise for a tricycle or jeepney? A nicely located sari-sari store perhaps?
In pooling such a large fund, if they show patience, they could be part owners of several thriving businesses a decade from now.
They won’t be “rich” but I would guess that their lives would at least be much improved.
I’m not writing this to say what should have been done or not done. I only want to point towards a bright future that could still be possible.