You Can’t Buy a Miracle

A new year is fast approaching, and let’s face it—we’re all hoping for a drastic reduction in weirdness for 2021 compared to…whatever that was.

One thing that remains familiar, though, is people making plans for the things they want to accomplish in the new year. It’s a timeless urge, and while plenty of big plans for 2020 were scuppered by the pandemic, that really won’t stop us resolution-making types from doing it again, however cautiously (once bitten, amiright?).

Therefore, I want to remind you that you can’t buy a miracle.

What I mean by that is, the word “miracle” has been turning up in advertising for centuries now, and it has always been a major red flag that the product or process being advertised is nothing but snake oil. Literal snake oil at one point, but figurative snake oil these days.

You want to lose weight this year? Pandemic led to panpizza a few too many times? The minute you see the word “miracle” in a weight loss product, diet plan or exercise device, run the other way immediately (and be sure to slap on your wearable fitness tracker while you’re running; might as well get credit for those steps). There is no such thing as a miracle weight loss product that you can give another person money for. There might be miracles that happen with your own motivation or discipline or mindset, but those are all free, and they all happen inside you.

You want to better your financial situation in the new year? Real investments are sold by people with licenses, are never guaranteed, and always carry risk. They work (or fail) though often-unpredictable but identifiable market forces, and are not miraculous. Anybody urging you to invest in some new miracle investment instrument is lying to you, even if they claim to be a member of some group you belong to (a scheme known as affinity fraud). Don’t lose your life savings to an unlicensed charlatan selling miracle investments. Go to a licensed broker and discuss your best options.

Even with the good news about vaccines, it’s going to be a while before the pandemic is fully in the rearview, so anxiety about this potentially-deadly virus is going to be around for a while. This means that there are going to be websites, emails, social media ads and even text messages hawking COVID-19 “miracle cures” for a long time. None of them will be legitimate, the same as every “miracle cure” for every other disease known to man throughout history. These are and will always be scams, plain and simple. Save your money.