Television Show: American Greed (2007 – Present). The tagline “Scams, Scoundrels, and Suckers” sets the stage for this show. Narrated by actor Stacy Keach, this CNBC original prime-time series examines the dark side of the American Dream.
The program focuses on the rise and fall of high-profile, highly successful business-people; some of the biggest corporate and white-collar crimes in recent U.S. history; and stories about common financial crimes (e.g. money laundering, Ponzi schemes, investment and real estate frauds, etc.) that affect thousands of everyday citizens.
This latter group contains the stories I find most interesting as the overarching theme is that too often, generally ordinary citizens over reach, get greedy, and get burned. The victims are typically people who invest large sums of money ($75,000, $300,000, $500,000, $1,000,000) on promises of guaranteed returns of 15%, 20%, and more.
The question I always have is, “for people who you would believe have some level of sophistication with regards to investing – after all, they were able to establish portfolios that exceed five figures in many cases and six figures in some – why would they entrust their money to people and/or small firms that are way off the radar on the promise of exorbitant guaranteed returns?”
SavvyInvestors know that there are very few true investment vehicles (e.g. savings bonds, CDs, US treasuries) that offer guaranteed rates of return and none of those will be anywhere near 15% or 20%.