3 Investments Where I Lost All of My Money

Want to know a secret? Everyone makes mistakes during our investment journey. Sometimes we pay too much in fees because we didn’t know better, sometimes we try to time the market and it didn’t work, and sometimes we trust the wrong people and get sucked into some shady Ponzi scheme.

I made plenty of mistakes myself, like the many, many times I tried to time the market but it went on the opposite direction (WHEN WILL I LEARN?!?). But this article is NOT about those kinds of mistakes. I don’t mean losing money when the market is not in your favour. Fluctuations in price and value is normal and even expected for some types of investments, like properties, gold/precious metals, things like that.

This article is about the times where I lost ALL of the money in the investment. Here they are, compiled in one post. 

#1 – Gold: Gold Bar

In my early 20s, circa 2010s, there was this gold rush, this gold craze. The price went up like crazy, and naturally it generated a ton of attention. I covered this in more detail in the What You Should Know About Gold Prices In 2008-2018 article.

At the time, I bought some e-gold from a bank (and made some profit there). But I also bought something else – a gold bar. From Lelong.com.my.

Physical gold is a type of investment, yes, but because I was young and stupid, I bought a gold-plated bar, which I now know is pretty much useless as an investment. At the time, I just thought I snapped a bargain. Again, I was young and stupid.

Plus, the gold bar never arrived too. I think it was a scam seller -_- Double bodo. It wasn’t a huge amount to lose, but I might as well throw that money away.

#2 – Forex: Copy-trade platform

Have you seen the forex trading advertisement using images like these?

lost all of my money

The idea is you can use technical analysis to predict if the market is going up or down, enter a trade, and hopefully make a profit. Rather than investment, I’d say forex trading is more like a skill. Many people have lost a lot of money because they overestimated their trading skills.

I’ve kind of dabbled in forex trading, but never lost actual money… until I decided to try a copy-trade platform called 1Broker (US authorities have taken down the platform on October 2018).

How it works is (for this particular platform):

  • You fund your account
  • You copy someone else’s trading activities in the platform. When they enter a trade, you’ll automatically enter the same one as well.
  • You make a profit/loss if they make a profit/loss

In June 2017, I transferred in an amount I could afford to lose into the account (if not mistaken, around $500). I didn’t want to lose that money you know. To ‘diversify’ and reduce my risks, I copied trades from at least 3 people who had high ratings. Each of them had over 50% ROI on their own trades. I also set small entry amounts – only $10 for each trade.

I thought it would be easy money. But in just two months, my account ran out of funds. I lost everything I deposited.

#3 – Cryptocurrencies: Waves & ZCoin

Broadly speaking, there are two types of crypto wallets: the one where you have complete control and ownership, and the one where the company acts as a custodian for your cryptocurrencies. Compare it like physical gold that you keep yourself in your own password-ed vault versus e-gold that banks keep for you.

To make long story short, I’ve done a classic newbie mistake and forgotten the seeds for two crypto wallets which I have complete ownership – my Waves and ZCoin wallets. The seeds are a bunch of random words or a long alphanumeric passkey. I can’t possibly reproduce and bantai the words to gain access.

Without the seeds, I can’t access my account. And if I can’t access my account, I can’t access those cryptocurrencies. Forever. Not even the developer team can help me.

I’m not sure how much I lost exactly, but at least $500 easily, as of current rates (and now crypto market is bear-ish, too!). To my defence, I thought I saved those seeds somewhere. Maybe someday I’ll discover I did actually write it down.

Note: I still love crypto as an investment. The rest of my cryptocurrencies are safe.

Lessons from losing money

Does it hurt? Hell yeah it does. It hurts not just my finances, but my ego as well. Each time it happens, I always go ‘you should have known better, you idiot‘.

Ah, the power of hindsight ay?

But you know what? I won’t cry over the lost money. I accept these losses and will consider them as expensive mistakes instead. No investment or financial course can teach me these valuable life lessons. In fact, I’m grateful they happened:

  • I’m grateful that the amounts I lost were comparatively small. Some people have lost much more than I did
  • I’m grateful that I still have time on my side to earn money and recover these losses
  • I’m grateful that they made me super sceptical of new types of investments I come across
  • I’m grateful that I get to write about them so that YOU don’t make the same mistakes I did

Going forward, these mistakes won’t deter me from trying out new types of investment platforms and financial services (that’s kinda my hobby). But I will be more selective of what I pick from now on.

Have you lost money at any point during your investing journey? Share in the comments section, so all of us can learn and ultimately be better investors together.

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17 comments

  1. At the weight of luxury goods and watches craze in China, I bought stocks in a Hong Kong luxury watch company which went public on the Hang Seng.

    Then along came Premier Xi Jing Ping (Emperor of China) who began cracking down on senior government officials wearing expensive watches which they would not have been able to afford on their official salaries.

    Needless to say, the stocks tanked.

    I Lost about RM 4000.00 and I swore off luxury goods stocks.

    The take home lesson for me? Stick to REITS and Bank Shares

  2. Invested in a so called start up… Initially said the lost will be capped at 30%… Then said got raided by police, the staff planted drugs in this premises etc etc…All money gone.. Lost about RM15K…..

  3. Thanks for sharing your investment boo-boos, Suraya. My worst one to date is prob the time I put RM20k into a foreign currency account (I think it was AUS$). The very next day, the 2007 financial crisis made it’s grand entrance and everything basically crashed.

    The timing was just so tragic.

    Long story short, I didn’t ‘lose’ my money because I I didn’t take it out of the account, but I didn’t gain much from it either. I basically made about RM500 over the 5 years I left it there. I would’ve been better off buying stocks on the cheap.

    Ah well. Lesson learnt. How do you buy cryptos btw? I’m curious, but have no clue where to get started here in Malaysia.
    -Michele.

    1. Hi Zulhilmi!

      I do have a Ledger Nano S – most of my other crypto is stored in there 🙂 Not sure about now, but last time they don’t have support for Waves and Zcoin!

  4. Lost money in Gold (Pegasus) and Oil (Capital Asia). Total 50k. Lesson learnt, never trust any investment that sounds to good to be true. Anything more than guaranteed 10% return is bullshit!

  5. HI Suraya,

    I opened a boutique in a shopping mall in KL, and within 7 years lost all my investments as the overheads kept going up especially the exorbitant rentals at shopping malls. Plus I didn’t have the necessary skills to handle everything by myself and couldn’t get any partners in to finance the designing, manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling parts. The business idea was great at the time when the market needed such a trendy line of clothing for pregnant moms but I couldn’t sustain it. I have since cringed whenever someone asks me if they should start a retail brick and mortar business.

  6. Almost 18 years ago, fresh out of college, i used my first transaction on my first credit card to purchase membership at a pyramid scheme. I was at their event and really believed the returns promised. They flashed all their successful members and I wasn’t aware it was a ponzi scheme at the time.
    Lost RM1.2K but a very good lesson learnt indeed.

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