Oregon State Treasury


Guaranteed Returns

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Although there are some investments that function as "fixed income" (that is, paying out at a particular rate), these investments -- such as bonds or Certificates of Deposit -- generally pay a lower rate that other investments.  There is no such thing as an investment that is guaranteed to pay big returns every year. If somebody is marketing such a thing, it could be a Ponzi scheme, which relies on money from new entrants to pay for the fabulous returns.  But eventually, there are more participants in the scheme than there is money.  Oftentimes, the person running the scheme gets fabulously rich in the process, like disgraced New York investor Bernie Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 after stealing billions of dollars from clients.


College is expensive enough, so don’t fall into traps in your search for scholarships. Some unscrupulous businesses ask you to pay money up front to get connected with "guaranteed" college scholarship money. Don’t learn the hard way:  Read the fine print. 


Ever wonder how those gold resellers have enough money to run so many commercials? Be careful to get many independent estimates before selling any jewelry or gold, and get appraisals in person. Investigations have found vast disparities in the prices resellers will offer for the same jewelry, and some unscrupulous businesses will pay you only a small fraction of the actual value.  By searching the Better Business Bureau's review​ of some of these companies, you can see that, mysteriously, many consumers' packages never made it to the dealer.​