Ep372: Almasa Alunni – Do Your Due Diligence When Someone Asks to Borrow Money

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Quick take

BIO: Almasa Alunni is a visionary global citizen, a mentor, and a seasoned consultant with a curious mind, acting as the pivotal trait d’union to align strategic alliances and cultures.

STORY: Almasa moved to Dubai, where she met a Filipino lady who became a very close friend. One day the lady borrowed a substantial amount of money which Almasa gave her without any questions. She trusted her as a friend. It turned out the lady was a con artist and never paid Almasa her money back.

LEARNING: Do your due diligence before lending anyone your money, including friends. It’s better to give than to lend, but do not give what you cannot afford to lose.


“Money comes and goes. But if you lose a friend, you lose a treasure.”

Almasa Alunni


Guest profile

Almasa Alunni is a visionary global citizen, a mentor, and a seasoned consultant with a curious mind, acting as the pivotal trait d’union to align strategic alliances and cultures.

She has a solid networking portfolio of HNWI, key players & decision-makers built over four decades of professional experience in the Luxury Lifestyle, Mega Yachts industry, Communication & Media environment.

Almasa is a multilingual elite PR advisor in brand strategy where she can connect the dots both backward and forwards. She has a real talent for human cross-cultural gathering and great knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa region’s social and economic environment.

She was appointed as UAE Humanitarian Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2018.

Worst investment ever

When Almasa moved to Dubai, she met a Filipino lady, a Catholic like her, and became close friends quickly. They become as close as a family, always celebrating stuff like Christmas together.

Helping a sister out

The Filipino lady was almost 70 years old but quite a hard worker, as Almasa thought. The lady told Almasa that she was engaged in a new business venture and needed some financial assistance.

Being the kind and generous person Almasa is, she agreed to give her the money. She transferred a considerable sum of money, the equivalent of two years of her living expenses, by bank transfer, no questions asked.

Turns out it was a scam

Months passed without Almasa getting any money back as promised. After chasing after her friend for months, she reimbursed her partially and at a plodding pace. Almasa decided to take action and went to the police station. Here, she found out that the lady had four other cases of fraud. It turns out she was a professional con artist who knows precisely how to scam people.

Abuse of trust

While losing the money was painful, what hurt Almasa most was how her friend abused their friendship and her trust. Because money comes and goes, but losing a friend is like losing a treasure.

Lessons learned

Do not give more than you can afford to lose

It is always safer to give and not expect anything in return. But even as you give, always give what you can afford to lose.

Andrew’s takeaways

Instead of lending a lot, give a little

If you are not willing to lend anyone your money, simply give the little that you can as a gift instead of lending them large amounts of money that might leave you in debt.

Ask for collateral in exchange for a loan

Before you lend money, ask the person to give you some collateral, such as a deed to a piece of land or a car deed; if they do not pay, you will have a way to recover your money.

When you do good, good will always come back to you

Life is not always a direct relationship. When you do good for someone, it does not necessarily mean that person will do good for you. But if you do good in life and to the universe, that favor eventually comes back to you.

Actionable advice

Do your due diligence before you lend anyone money, even your friends. Do not get trapped in those so-called friendships.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Almasa’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to bring her dream project off the ground. Almasa is working on her TV channel focusing on culture. She is also working on a line of jewelry based on an interfaith harmony project.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk. But to win big, you've got to reduce it. And I bet you're exposed to investment risk right now to reduce it, go to my worst investment ever.com and download the risk reduction checklist I've made specifically for you, my podcast listeners, based on the lessons I've learned from all my guests. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest amasa Looney amasa. Are you ready to rock?

Almasa Alunni 00:43
Yes. Hi, very nice to see you. And yeah,

Andrew Stotz 00:48
having me at the show. It's great to see you. And I'm really, we've already started conversation before we turn on the recorder, and I've enjoyed it. So I look forward to your story. So why don't I introduce you to the audience. And so amasa aluna is a visionary, global citizen, a mentor, and a seasoned consultant, with a curious mind, acting as a pivotal trade the union to align strategic alliances and cultures. She has a solid networking portfolio of high net worth individuals, key players and decision makers built over four decades of professional experience in luxury lifestyle, mega yachts, industry, communication, and media environment. amasa is a multilingual elite PR advisor in brand strategy, where she can connect the dots both backwards and forwards. She has a real talent for human cross cultural gathering and great knowledge of the Middle East and North Africa region's social and economic environment. And ladies and gentlemen, she was appointed as the UAE humanitarian global goodwill ambassador in 2018, amasa. Take a minute in Philly, for the tidbits about your life.

Almasa Alunni 02:14
Thank you, Andrew, for that introduction. So as you mentioned, I'm now living in Dubai. for eight years. I am a French native, and I used to live in Cannes before coming to Dubai. I used to be within the money circle in Cannes. And as you mentioned, the mega yacht is a very, very jungle industry and the cutthroat industry. I was very, very shrewd when I was in France. But moving to Dubai, I shift my mind in a different manner. Because you We live in a complete, total absolute security that completely change your mindset.

Andrew Stotz 02:54
What does it mean by total? Absolute security? Tell us more?

Almasa Alunni 02:59
Well, that's mean that you live in full trust, and you are blinded by trusts, which sometimes can be very difficult. And that Here comes the episode of my worst investment.

Andrew Stotz 03:12
Okay, well, why don't we get into that now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to and then tell us your story.

Almasa Alunni 03:25
Absolutely. Well, first of all, you know, what I've learned in life is to share, not be ashamed of sharing your failure because you can really help people to benefit out of them. Churchill said that success comes by a succession of failures. And the more you fail, the more you learn, okay, I came to Dubai and I met with a Filipino lady, Catholic like I do. And we were engaging in a very strong personal relationship, which was close to family as celebrating most of the Christmas sister and so on and so forth. And she was almost 17. And she was a very hard worker, he she engaged in a new venture, and she was asking for assistance, because she said that she even doesn't know how she's going to pay for what she was facing. And in Chevelle read gesture, I said, Don't worry, I'm here for you. And I put straight away without asking, I gave her the equivalent of two years of my living just by bank transfer, you know, without having any official credential whatsoever. And I told her, you can pay me back whenever you want, at your own pace, I would consider even equity. I tried to help her, you know, to develop the business. And what happened is that after a few months, nothing was coming. You know, she was trying to bypass me on the people I introduced and the worst is yet to come. Is that when it comes to the money to give me back the money, she was promising some reimbursement that came partially half. And at a very, very slow pace. So I took action. And I was like, you know, because I really did it out of my heart and soul, like I'm sure a lot of people can do when you see people in trouble. And what happened is that the story is very sour, because I went to the police station, and I found out she had four cases yet. And she is a pro con artist, who knows exactly how to scam people. And that was definitely the worst of the investment is not only the money I've lost, but it's the trust that has been there, and the friendship that has been abused. And I think this is the biggest class you can have in an investment, because money come and goes. But friendship is something I mean, if you lose a friend, you lose a treasure. And this is really when you see people that are here, with a double face just taking advantage on you. This is a big slap on your face.

Andrew Stotz 06:13
I wonder if you remember the day that you went to that police station, you know, I mean, when you went there, you didn't expect to find those for

Almasa Alunni 06:23
your very, very much. Because, you know, I went there at 1130 at night, I was almost on my own. And I told the officer, I've lent some money to a friend, he asked me how much he was like, you know, he was amazed by the amount. And he looked at the screen. And he said, but madam your friend, she already has four complaints against her. And he showed me the picture. He said, That's that lady, I said, That's that lady. And when I leave, you know, he said, Please, next time, don't give away so much. And I tell him, you know, I prefer to have a big heart and a small wallet. So I will keep my hearts. And he said God bless you.

Andrew Stotz 07:09
Let's try to let's try to go through like, what did you learn from that experience?

Oh, hardship?


Almasa Alunni 07:17
I mean, ever since I'm still paying for it. Because you see, this is, I mean, it's the money I've lost is really something that I do need, and that I would have invest differently. And this is something that has poisoned my life ever since. So there is a question because I'm a strong believer. And when you do things out of your heart, usually it's for good, you should collect the good. And you don't do it for collecting heat, but it should come naturally. In my case, I don't know where it What's wrong, but there is definitely a component that is not working. And this is I mean, I still have been caught again, by lending some money, because I've been there work to the point that you have no money, and where it's very humiliating to us. And I know that when people ask, you know, it's not to go and shop at Chanel, or with toys, but it's to feed themselves. And I've been to that line. So I will be caught again and again. And again. Because for me, you know, whenever I have money, money come and goes, so I will always lend some money. And most of the time I that I mean, you know, the there is the common phrase that said, always land what you can afford to lose. As simple as that.

Andrew Stotz 08:38
Yeah, well, let me maybe share a few things of what I took away from it. I've been in similar situations, many people, you know, and many times that I've given money and lent money, and it didn't come back in. In particular, one was a pretty close friend of mine. And I lent a lot of money. And it just never came back. And it never even was acknowledged. And that was hard. And, and it's difficult. I mean, you know, there's shame that we do it. We don't want to, you know, there's so many different feelings involved with it that I was thinking about, then I want to talk about another so that's I've been through similar and it was a lot of money, in my case also. So you know, but also I've been too. The other way that I've handled it in the past is when people come to me to ask to borrow money. I say, I don't lend money. But I give money away in the form of a grant or gift. And then I basically that reframes it in my mind and in their mind. And then all of a sudden, you know how much money you're going to give away as a gift. You're not going to give away $50,000 you're going to give away You know, here's $100. So one lesson I take away from it is just to remind myself and the listeners out there, if you really want to get out of it, you know, just say, Look, I don't lend money, but I'm willing to give you a little bit. And of course, they'll be mad, because they want 50,000, and you're gonna give them 50. But, you know, you still gave them a little bit, you know. So that's the first thing. The second thing, I had a trouble A while ago, in my, one of my good friends who's very, you know, pretty well off, I had to go to ask him to borrow money. And this is a while ago. And basically, I prepared a document, and I prepared a contract, I set up the interest cause the repayment schedule, and I sent him that, and he just said, I won't accept that, and I won't sign that. But I will give you the money, and you pay me back whenever you came. And, you know, that's, that was a while ago, and I've been, you know, working on that and making sure that I get that back to him. But that's the type of lending that I received. And I want to give to the people that are closest to me, but I can't do it with everybody. And so I really feel like there are times when our closest friends, me know. And I want to be there for that. But I can't be there for everybody. And so that's kind of an the hard part. The hardest part of your story is that some people are very good at getting into your heart. Exactly. And how you know, that's where the idea of saying, Oh, I don't lend money, but I can give you some


Andrew Stotz 11:46
you know, is my shortcut in that case. Now, in Thailand, one of the things I also have done, and so I'm thinking about, you know, for the listeners out there, I'm thinking about different tools that we can come up with the resolvers. So someone did come and ask me for money. And I said, the only way I'll lend you money is if you have some sort of collateral, in case you don't pay, meaning the deed to a piece of land, or the deed to a car or something like that. And then I hold that. And then as they pay, eventually they get it back. That's what every bank does, of course. And so that's another strategy to say, Well, you've got to give me something, even a friend of mine gave me a little TV that was about this big. And it was from the 50s. And it was his prized possession, he said I need to borrow, you know, $200. And here, you could sell this for $500, you know, as an antique. And later, that friend of mine did pass away. I still keep his TV right there in my room as a memory of him. But anyways, those are some ideas about how the listeners can deal with this. Do you have anything else that you would add to that?

Almasa Alunni 12:59
No, I mean, I fully agree. And as you said, you know, much better to give away and not expect the return. Because then the universe come back to you like your friend, you know, it shows this full trust. And that's the best answer. Because that's that's exactly the reward you deserve by doing well. And doing good. And then you collect the, you collect the same from the other people.

Andrew Stotz 13:24
Yeah, the other thing that I thought about was that, you know, life is not always a direct relationship. When you do good for someone, that doesn't necessarily mean that person is going to do good for you. But if you do good in life, and you do good in the universe, that eventually comes back. So the good news is that you've got a lot of goodness coming back to you.

Almasa Alunni 13:47
I hope so I'm still waiting for them actually. Really, it's a you know, it has been accumulation of very, very, very tough times. That doesn't help. And, I mean, I was also scammed online on the phone, you know, because this COVID you have a lot of these people calling you pretending they are the central bank, etc. And they cracked my bank account and emptied it. vacuumed it, you know, so, yeah, I mean, the universe has to realign the frequencies because I think the message is not coming to the right way.

Andrew Stotz 14:28
Well, I think by raising the awareness and thinking about I mean, the other thing is, you know, it's, you've got to protect your assets, you know, and I think that it's a world out there that would like to get their hands on it. And so, it's a good lesson that you know, you've got to fight for because I read a great book many years ago called your money or your life and it's, it's still sold on Amazon. I think it's a great book because it talks about when you think about buying, let's A TV, you say, okay, it's gonna cost this much money. But he said, don't think about it that way. Because how did you get that money, you got it by devoting your time and energy to a job. And in exchange for your time and energy, they gave you a pieces of paper. Now you go and trade those pieces of paper. But if we only see them as papers and paper, we, we forget the fact that that was real energy that we put into getting those pieces of paper. And all of a sudden, when you think about, you know, that TV is, you know, 16 days worth of my energy, hmm, do I really want to buy, you know, that where I want to spend that energy. And so that's another thing that I think, you know, protecting our energy, which is accumulated through money in the bank, and things like that, you know, is a great reminder for me.

Almasa Alunni 15:55
And I love the Chinese quote, which says, you know, money is the best of servants and the worst of master. So, I mean, if you spend all your life around money, you are very miserable. If you chase money all the time, you know, I mean, money without talent will never generate money, that's a lot of people forget that. And for me, I've shift to a spiritual level, of course, we need the material part, definitely. But you can be very, very happy with that. I mean, without making it turning around money, and, you know, luxury, and all that unnecessary. Stupid flu and all these things that people bother their life with, you know, it's much better to have genuine people authentic people that really are strong support moral and, and you know, that whatever you take in your coffin is your memories. It's not your work fault. So it's much better to leave after eating my own mantra, since I live here, which is past is my wealth. Present is my addiction. Future is my dream. So this, you know, this is really what I would advise people to implement in their life, because there is no bigger richness that your experience, and please share it extensively. You know, they, I mean, never keep things for yourself. That's the biggest richness, and in the present, because you never know what tomorrow will bring, you can die in a minute. You can, you know, and create your dreams for your future. Because if you don't have dreams, you'll never progress. And you should progress every day, every single day by learning by, you know, sharing your energy, sharing your experience, and that and gain out of what life has to offer.

Andrew Stotz 18:01
That's fantastic advice. And let's continue on with that. So based upon what you've learned from this story, and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate? And think about that man or woman who's listening right now? Who does have somebody who's they trust a bit and gotten to know who's asking them for money? What advice would you give them?

Almasa Alunni 18:26
do your due diligence. Don't let yourself trapped in those so called friendship? Because they've also not only were product well, Chanel and Versace and all the other designers, you know, like, do your due diligence. The most people are I mean, what came to my mind with that lady is that when she was asking me for the money, she turned to change your voice completely, like almost crying on the phone? And she was also when are you going to transfer me? You know, and I was like, come on, she's almost 70 years old. That's quite weird. And then you know, that whenever people show a double face, always be very careful.

Andrew Stotz 19:15
do your due diligence.

Almasa Alunni 19:17
Totally, totally. Brady rice, and the and forget the friendship in the due diligence, you know, totally.

Andrew Stotz 19:25
You worked hard for that money. So you have a right to do the due diligence. Absolutely. Great, great, great advice. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Almasa Alunni 19:38
Well, actually, I'm working on few projects. My dream project is to have my own TV show. So this is something that I'm really trying to put into place with a new emerging TV channel. And it will be about culture because I'm passionate about blending culture, about sharing culture and that depth. Adapting culture. So this is my number one goal, I have another legacy goal, which is my own line of jewelry based on an interfaith harmony project, building a platform community. And this one has been on for quite a while, and that COVID didn't help and don't help steel. So this is something that I am working constantly, but will take time, when definitely These are my two pillars. I mean, now the unit four have many others.

Andrew Stotz 20:35
That sounds like you got your hands full already. All right, well, listeners, there you have it, another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you, my listener, to reduce risk in your life. So go to my worst investment ever.com right now and download the risk reduction checklist to see how you measure up as we conclude Amaz amasa. I want to thank you again, for coming on the show. And on behalf of Ace Dance Academy. I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Almasa Alunni 21:19
Well, I'm very proud and honored. It's always great to receive some reward. You know, it's not to punish my ego, but it's to put the milestone in my life and to really see the recognition. It's always the best of rewards. Thank you so much for having me, Andrew, it was really a pleasure indeed.

Andrew Stotz 21:36
I appreciate your openness. And it's beautiful. So keep that up. Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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