Q: I saw a sign at the airport in Calgary offering 18-per-cent return on a mortgage investment in Northern Alberta. What do you think?

A: Greece two-year bonds also pay 21 per cent (as of April 18). But note: The safest investment today is a Treasury Bill.

It will pay you 1.6 per cent. A savings bond at 2.25 per cent is next, a corporate bond pays around 3.5 per cent. A corporate bond has 50 per cent more risk to the investor than a Treasury Bill.

Get a pencil and figure out how much more risk is there at an offer of 18 per cent.

If it sounds too good to be true, it always is. Anything that offers 12 per cent to 18 per cent has a commensurate risk.

People always say to me: “Yeah, but Ozzie, a GIC only pays three per cent.”

My answer: “No, it does not. It returns 103 per cent … you get your money back!”

In today’s uncertain world, protecting what you have has to be No. 1.

Ozzie Jurock is a senior real estate adviser at www.jurock.com. He can be reached by email at oz@jurock.com