Ep418: Marina Krivonossova – Never Give Anyone Money without a Contract

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Quick take

BIO: Marina Krivonossova is a Russian-American currently based in the Netherlands, pursuing a master’s degree in political science.

STORY: Marina was looking for accommodation in the Netherlands when she met a fellow Californian lady on Facebook. They decided to move in together. Marina made the mistake of leaving her in charge of the lease. One day, she came home to find the lady had canceled the lease and didn’t want to live with her anymore. Marina was left homeless and a few thousand dollars poorer.

LEARNING: Never trust anyone with your money unless you have a legal contract in place.


“Don’t trust anyone else with your money unless there’s a legal contract.”

Marina Krivonossova


Guest profile

Marina Krivonossova is a Russian-American currently based in the Netherlands. She moved there to pursue a master’s degree in political science after completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Irvine. Though her most recent work has been in marketing and writing, Marina’s ultimate goal is to work for the government in anti-human trafficking policy development and implementation. In her free time, Marina is a fan of traveling, hiking, and baking.

Worst investment ever

Marina was craving for something new, and so she decided to study in the Netherlands. She found a program that she liked and started looking for a place to stay but couldn’t find any through the websites she was using. She decided to turn to Facebook, where she found a lady who lived near her in California. The lady also wanted to do that exact same program, at the exact same time, at the exact same location. They got in touch and decided to meet up. They got along fine, and they decided to be roommates.

The lady had an Airbnb account, so they found a long-term rental and moved in together. The two ladies lived in harmony, but there was just something off about the lady. However, Marina didn’t think much about it, and she wasn’t home most of the time anyway.

Marina spent most of her free time traveling in and out of Netherlands. For her birthday, Marina went to visit a friend in London, and on getting back, her roommate informed her that she didn’t want to live with her anymore and had canceled their Airbnb lease. The lady refused to refund her the money she had paid for the lease.

As if that was not enough, they had booked a trip together to Portugal, Spain, and Morocco, and now they couldn’t go. Everything had been prebooked and was nonrefundable.

Marina was homeless and also lost thousands of dollars on a trip that she never got to take. Her biggest regret was trusting a stranger too fast and allowing her to have access to her money.

Lessons learned

  • Don’t trust anyone else with your money unless there’s a legal contract.
  • Make sure everything you book is refundable, or at least partially refundable.
  • Make sure you’re always in charge of your situation, and nobody else is influencing it.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Never lose control of your money or let another person get access to it.
  • When moving to a new location, use your friends as a reference or starting point.

Actionable advice

Do thorough research before moving to a new country. Don’t be so trusting and never let anyone take control of your money.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Marina’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to finish a book she’s been working on.


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. To join our community go to my worst investment ever.com and receive the following five free benefits first, you get the risk reduction checklist I created from the lessons I've learned from all my guests. Second, you get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return third, you get a 25% discount on all a Stotz Academy courses. Fourth, you get access to our Facebook community to get to know guests and fellow listeners. And finally, you get my curated list of the Top 10 podcast episodes. Fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guests, Marina kriva no sirva I'm trying to pronounce that right. Hopefully I did it. Okay, but you can say it even better than me. But I just want to welcome you to the show. And are you ready to rock? Yeah, let's do this. Andrew, thank you for having me. Yes. Well, it's great to have you on the show. And let me introduce you to the audience. Marina is a Russian American currently based in the Netherlands. She moved there in pursuit of a master's degree in Political Science after completing her bachelor's degree at the University of California, Irvine, though through though her most recent work has been in marketing and writing. marinas ultimate goal is to work for the government in anti human trafficking, policy development and implementation. In her free time Marina is a fan of traveling, hiking, hiking, and baking. What's the latest thing you've baked recently?

Marina Krivonossova 01:48
Most recently, I made some cookies. And I ate them all in one day. And I'm not proud of that.

Andrew Stotz 01:55
Well, at least they were tasty. Well, recently, I've been baking some bread at home and oh, yeah, it takes a few tries. I tell you, tell us a few tidbits about your life.

Marina Krivonossova 02:08
Already. So when I was little, my family and I moved from Russia to California, I grew up in San Jose. And I just absolutely love California. You know, we have desert, we have beach with we have forest we have everything possibly imaginable. But somehow it wasn't enough for me. So I decided I needed to do something else. I needed adventure. And I found myself moving to the Netherlands. I wanted to explore Europe, I just wanted to you know, get out of my comfort zone and try something new. So that's how I ended up where I am today. And I love writing. Writing is something I've done before something I'm doing now and something that I'll always continue to do. So. Yeah, just about some stuff me.

Andrew Stotz 02:45
That's exciting. My sister when I was young, studied Russian. Oh, it was kind of a surprising thing. You know, we lived in Delaware. And then when we moved to Ohio, where I kind of grew up, she there wasn't a Russian teacher there in Ohio for the high school that she was at. So the teacher back in Delaware would send her audio tapes. And she would practice and learn her Russian. And wow. Yeah, so that was kind of so I heard a lot of Russian when I was young. Yeah. And of course, in Thailand, we have a lot of Russian people that come here and you know, it's been met met definitely met a lot of Russian tourists and people that live here and work here. So. Okay, and well, you know, let me ask you about writing. I am, I would call myself an author, not a writer. And the reason why is because I authored books, but I'm not the type of person that wakes up in the morning and starts writing, I write, because I have to, okay, I got a deadline and all that. But just describe to me about your like writing process, and you know how writing is in your life.

Marina Krivonossova 03:56
I feel like writing is just something that's always come naturally to me, I've always enjoyed storytelling, I remember being little, and I don't know, like, I go to a park and I do something with my friend. And I just start using my imagination. And I'm like, Oh, we could be doing this. We could be doing that. And I take into account, you know, realistic factors, unrealistic factors. And I just have the story in my head. And I just want to write it out. And that's continued from then, and still continues now. Like, I'll be sitting and I don't know, I'll have an interview with someone. I'll talk to someone like this. And I just think, Okay, wow, I have so much to say about this. And who's going to listen, nobody's going to listen. So I have to write it. And I have to share it and maybe someone online will enjoy what I have to say,

Andrew Stotz 04:37
Hmm, interesting. And when you do that, are you taking notes and writing things by hand? Are you structuring it on a on a on the computer or you just start writing?

Marina Krivonossova 04:49
I have a horrible system. I use my email drafts. I don't know why that always just made sense to me because I have it on my phone. I have it on my computer. It's kind of the same information. So I'll write some I don't know. Some bullet points in my draft. And when I have free time, I'll sit down, I'll write out something more structured. I'll come back to it if I have more ideas, and yeah, that's really, really the system. There's nothing super intense about it. Mm hmm.

Andrew Stotz 05:13
I mean, I've always, always been kind of jealous of my friends that are just they enjoy writing. I know, my dad was a pretty good writer. But for me, I've always kind of seen it as just something that's part of the job. But I've written you know, four books and published them. And I've written, you know, and I write every day and I write every week, but maybe I have to change my mindset around writing. Hmm. Well, listen, 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 it, then tell us your story.

Marina Krivonossova 05:48
Alrighty, so I was doing my undergrad degree in California. And as I said, I needed something more I wanted to get out. So I looked at programs to study abroad in Europe. I found one in the Netherlands that worked for me, it was great. It was interesting was a prime location. And I was like, that's it. I'm going, my family was like, Okay, well, like, do you have a plan, I was like, well, I should probably think of at least a vague plan. So I started researching housing because the program did not provide housing, you had to find it yourself. And I looked through so many groups, I looked through so many Dutch websites. And it was just impossible as a foreigner, a young foreigner, especially to you know, get any housing, especially for only half a year. So I decided to turn to Facebook, and I found a girl who lived near me in Southern California where I was going to school. And she also wanted to do that exact same program, exact same time, exact same location. And we got in touch, we decided to meet up. And it was fine. I wouldn't say we were you know, the best or friends right off the bat. But she seemed normal. And that was really my standard, I just wanted someone normal to share housing with. And if we were together, we could split the rent, we could find something easier. You know, it kind of just feels like you have someone there to rely on from the beginning, as opposed to just getting on a plane by yourself and going into the unknown. So I was like, okay, we can live together in an apartment. And we found in long term Airbnb. And this is gonna sound so ridiculous. The reason why we went about this this way, but she had an Airbnb account, and I did not. And I was like, Well, you know, the best way to go about this, um, you can book our long term Airbnb, and I can just transfer you the money. For my half of the apartment, she was a cashier, that sounds fine. And I moved to the Netherlands, I met her again, it was fine. We were living there. But she was kind of weird to be around, she really valued her personal space to the point that if she saw me in the kitchen, she would just like, freak out and walk away. And I was like, What did I do? I was just existing, you know. So I don't know what to do about that. And I wasn't home very often, as I said, I love traveling and being in the Netherlands meant being near Paris, near London, you're all these amazing cities and countries. So every chance I got I was traveling, I was hardly home. And this was in January, mid January, we got there. And then for my birthday, at the beginning of March, I went to visit a friend in London. And when I came back, the girl I was living with goes, Hey, I cancelled her lease, you have to move out. And I was like, hold up, I already paid for this month. If we cancel or at least that means we still owe another month of rent. And I already paid you for all that. So you have my money. So you can basically do whatever you want. You know, there's no contract. I was just really trusting. And she said, Well, I don't care. I can't live with you anymore. I want to be out, I found myself a different place by myself. And I'm just sitting there, you know, it's like noon on a Monday, I still have to go to class, apparently, I have to find a new place to live, which was already impossible to do. And that was that. But there's a second part to it, which gets even worse. We had also planned a trip together. I really wanted to travel as I said, and she wanted to travel as well. So we had plans to go to Portugal, Spain, and to Morocco. And she said, Oh, and all these great websites for booking, you know, you just pay me half the money. I'll book everything in advance for both of us. And she did. And I had already given her my money. And it was non refundable. And it was you know, the housing was for both of us the tickets for the plane she had. And that was another thing I had to miss out on. So, you know, there I am with my three suitcases at night on the street crying. I lost so much money and I mean 1000s of dollars. And I'm just a poor college students. So there goes all my money. I'm calling our old landlord and I'm like, Hey, I don't know what happened. I was in London when she cancelled her lease. And he's like, I don't know what happened either. That was completely out of nowhere for me. So yeah, that's how I lost money on an apartment. I didn't get to finish living in and on a trip I never got to take

Andrew Stotz 09:49
and where did you sleep that night?

Marina Krivonossova 09:51
I actually made a deal with the landlord and I said hey, can I please just stay there one night like you know, I didn't do anything wrong. He's like golf course just you know, you can have one Night. But after that, he got to figure your own thing out. Because I couldn't afford the rent by myself, I couldn't even really afford half of it anymore. But I ended up talking to someone from the university like a staff member. And she connected me to some other individuals who live in dorms. But it was just the worst situation possible. These weren't the nice dorms, these weren't even like the mediocre dorms. They were out on the outskirts in the middle of nowhere broken down. It looked like a mental institution from like, the 1800s. And they had to live there.

Andrew Stotz 10:30
Right, but it was the right price. It was. I mean, at that point, it certainly was, yeah, that's a student life. And how would you summarize? How would you summarize what you learn from this experience,

Marina Krivonossova 10:42
I would really say just make sure you don't trust anyone else with your money unless there's a legal contract. And make sure everything you always book is refundable, or at least partially refundable. You know, if you're desperate, and make sure you're always in charge of your own situation, make sure nobody else is influencing it.

Andrew Stotz 10:59
Right. Maybe I'll summarize what I took away from your story. And I think I'm going to start with that. Because, you know, this is a lesson that goes on later into life, because many people get ripped off of their life savings, by giving their money to somebody else, to control, somebody that appears trustworthy, somebody that appears smart, and all that, in fact, just this morning, I woke up early in the morning, I got an email from an old friend of mine haven't talked to him in a long time. And he says, I know you're an expert in finance, I've been I've been making a lot of money. And I now you know, I'm ready to set it up for retirement. And I've got this proposal from this really qualified people. And I just wanted you to look at it, and I read it, and I went through it and I just made a video to send back to him, instead of writing I just said, Good that you sent that to me, because you're just about to get ripped off. Oh, gosh. And so he and I, you know, are planning on talking about it and going through it. But the point is, is that there's so many schemes out there, but the number one thing, never, ever lose control of your money ever, ever let another person get access to your money. And you can allow people by giving them a power of attorney to invest your money, but not withdrawing our investment accounts where you can do that. And you know, let's just say you had $100,000, and you had a friend that was good at picking stocks. And he said I'm willing to take the risk, then you can give them power of attorney, or they can tell you buy this, sell that whatever, but they don't have the right to remove money from that account. So there are some times that you could trust them, but never give the name, you know, never give the ability to withdraw money or to access money. The second thing is that, you know, I'm I left America when I was 26. And I came to Thailand, and I've traveled all around the world. And I think the one thing that I would say that right from the beginning, when you told that story, I thought to myself, you really should be communicating with a Dutch person, not another person in your same situation. That's what I thought to myself. And then it made me think about whenever I go places, I go to my network and say Who do I know there. And you know, whether that's on LinkedIn, whether that's through my friends, whether that's on Facebook, I put a post out there and I say I'm going to this country, who I know in that place of who would you know, and I use my friends as reference as a starting point. So that's a second thing, because I've seen a lot, particularly in Thailand, you know, a lot of Westerners come to Thailand, and what do they do? They hang out with other Westerners. And I just say, you know, you're missing the whole thing. But of course, anyways, those are the two things that I take away. Is there anything you would add to that?

Marina Krivonossova 13:51
What I would say there is that I did indeed get in touch with some Dutch people, again, through Facebook and whatnot, I had a Dutch pen pal. And the consensus there was you're better off with a fellow American, Dutch people are not going to want a foreign roommate. They also you know, they have their little friends, they have their bubbles. And at that point in my life, I knew the Netherlands existed but I had never planned on going there. I had no friends there, no family there, no connections, except, you know, anything to do with the internet. So I was very limited there. So I honestly don't know what I would have done differently except maybe prolong or not prolong, maybe go on my trip a little later and save up more money so I could pay for the rent myself. Or maybe, you know, I would have met more people online whom I could have roomed with later on, but I wouldn't have I maybe wouldn't have rushed into it with at least that person. Because I really want for the first person who I was like, okay, you know, she lives near me, we're doing the same program. This is perfect. I would have done my research a lot better and I wouldn't have been so trusting and I never would have let anyone take control of my money like that.

Andrew Stotz 14:53
That sounds like great advice. In fact, I don't really even need to ask you the next question, which is what one action would you recommend? To avoid suffering the same fate, I think you've answered that. Yeah. My next question is, and this is the last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Marina Krivonossova 15:08
You mentioned writing books. And I'm actually in the process of writing a book and within the next 12 months, I just want to finish it. I want to be done.

Andrew Stotz 15:16
Fantastic. What is it about? All at bats for the world to find out? Oh, exciting. Okay, well, we're gonna all follow up in 12 months, and we want to read it. Let's do it. That sounds great. That's the challenge. All right, 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 listeners reduce risk and increase return in your life. To achieve this, I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com and I look forward to seeing you there. As we conclude, Marina, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a starts 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?

Marina Krivonossova 16:02
just super excited that I get this amazing award for my failure.

Andrew Stotz 16:07
Isn't that the best way? 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 hose 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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