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7 Life-Saving Lessons on Investing from a Happy Marriage

Disclaimer: Some ideas discussed in this post may not be applicable to the author. 🙂

As I complete 10 years of my marriage, I can say that a marriage, no matter how good, can be made better.

My experience also tells me that a good marriage has some basic qualities. One, for instance, is that both partners are fully devoted to the relationship. They are willing to invest time and energy to make it grow and flourish.

They also communicate effectively with each other and know how to resolve their differences.

And they learn to be flexible with each other’s behaviour and choices.

You see, there is no right way to be married. Many marriages just work out great. However, there is a wrong way to be married. And it is when you don’t invest in the relationship.

Anyways, a happy marriage can serve a very good example for an investor in stock markets.

“What’s the relation?” you may wonder, like my wife did.

Well, I’ll let the rest of the post to do the talking. So let’s get on with it.

1. Know your partner
I remember seeing a show on television a few years back, wherein one partner went behind a soundproof screen whilst the host asked the other partner questions about the former’s life and interests.

For example: “Where in the world would your husband most like to travel?” or “What dessert would your wife most likely order in a restaurant?”

The idea was that the more the answers correlated, the stronger the relationship.

Knowing your investment – your stock or mutual fund – is equally important for you to have a fulfilling career as an investor.

It’s very important to understand the business behind the stock. The idea of buying a stock without understanding the business – the growth drivers, challenges, opportunities, and risks – is risky and thus unacceptable.

2. Keep your expectations realistic
As wonderful as it is to be romantic and see the best in your partner, you need to be able to accept some imperfections in your spouse.

For the marriage to last, we need to see beyond personal failings and faults – after all, no one is perfect.

Expecting it all to be perfect and effortless creates disappointment (as unrealistic expectations always do).

Unrealistic expectations can also play havoc with your investments. The greed to earn more (and fast) money from stocks can lead you to buy dud stocks, thus leading to big losses.

Investors during the 2008 crisis must have learnt this from experience.

So, have realistic expectations. Don’t let hype cloud your perspective.

Of course, the temptation to follow the crowd may be great. But you will be better off sticking to a plan based on your personal financial goals and ability to handle risk.

3. Learn to say no
‘Yes’, and a lot of it, is what makes a marriage go bad. We don’t know how to say ‘no’, simply because we find it hard to do.

It is always important to listen to your spouse, but that does not mean you will always agree with each other. Compromising and agreeing to disagree relieves a lot of stress.

Not saying ‘no’ also ruins an investor’s wealth.

  • Yes, one more stock…and I know this one will certainly multiply 5 times in 2 years.
  • Yes, one more IPO…and I’ll borrow to apply since it can give me huge listing gains.
  • Yes, one more mutual fund…this one has been the best performer over the past 1 year.

“No, I won’t!” or “No, I can’t.” is a simple way to lead a happy married life.

Just remove those barriers in your mind to saying ‘no’. Most of the times (in fact, all of the times), these barriers are created to impress your spouse and show that nothing’s impossible for you. And this is what causes tensions to build up.

So, learn to say no.

In investing, learn to say ‘no’ to investment advice that doesn’t meet your needs. Once you do that, you’ll find how easy it actually is.

4. Don’t always criticize, learn to take the blame
Critical partners risk irreparable damage to their relationship. This doesn’t mean you should never complain if your spouse upsets you (though you must do it at your own risk), but it’s always important to first look inward and assess where the blame really lies.

If it lies in your partner, it’s safer for you to forgive and forget. And if it lies within you, swallow your pride and accept it.

Like in investing, it’s good to complain when a friend or broker suggests you a bad stock and you end up making substantial losses on the same. But before criticizing the other person, look inward.

Who forced you to accept the bad investing advice? And if you personally thought the advice was good when you first acted on it, why lay the blame now when things have turned out bad?

Instead of telling your financial advisor, “You ruined my happiness!” say to yourself, “I made a mistake of listening to you without doing my own homework. So I must take the entire blame, and promise myself that I won’t listen to you in the future.”

5. Maintain a 5:1 good to bad ratio
As per a leading researcher on marriages, John Gottman, stable marriages experience five good interactions for every not-so-good one.

A ‘good’ interaction might be spending a fun afternoon together, or a pleasant chat about a movie, or anything else that’s positive.

‘Bad’ interactions include fights, disagreements, or disappointments. For a happy marriage, it becomes important that you honour the 5:1 rule.

This is also true of investing. Expecting all your stocks to be multi-baggers will lead you to frustration when a few of them don’t perform as expected. Also, expecting every stock to make you good amount of money will lead you to make hasty decisions.

So, to achieve success as an investor, maintain a 5:1 ratio. Expect to be wrong sometimes.

Expect 1 stock to go bad for every 4 or 5 that can go good. When you keep this in mind, you will be more aware of the risks you are taking and therefore more careful in your stock selection.

6. Know that things could change
A good marriage is constantly growing and changing.

Throughout your lives, there will always be new joys and new challenges. A good partnership will accommodate these changes.

This is also true of investing. Stocks change…good stocks go bad…bad stocks become good. You must expect such changes to come by.

‘Buy and hold’ doesn’t mean ‘buy and forget’. So, constantly review your investments to identify any changes in fundamentals, and then act accordingly.

Knowing that things could change is good for a happy married life, and also for success in investing.

7. Put in the effort
Marriage is a marathon – not a 100-meter dash.

Are you in it for the long haul, or do you have the tendency to “bail out” when the going gets tough?

Perseverance is what sustains us through the trials of life (and trials are what make any marriage real).

The more effort you put into your marriage, the happier you both will be.

Successful investing is also a lot about the effort – the hard work that you put into identifying the right stock, the right mutual fund, or the right advisor plays a very important role in how you perform as an investor.

Just don’t give up on your effort to become a better investor, like you do each day to become a better spouse.

Live happily ever after…
Nurturing a happy marriage is a wonderful way to ensure long-lasting contentment for you and your partner.

People in happy marriages feel appreciated, loved, and respected.

When it comes to investing in stock markets, these seven rules of a happy marriage can work wonders for your wealth…at least till the time you splurge to make your spouse happier.

After all, that’s what you promised to each other while getting married…

  • We promise that we will take care of each other and pray for abundant blessings and prosperity in our lives.
  • We promise to protect and increase our wealth by proper means.
  • We promise to be responsible and care for our children.
  • We promise to be truthful and trustworthy to each other and pledge to be united always in friendship and harmony.

Here’s to your happy marriage and wealth creation!

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. i must say that was an excellent “two birds with one stone” effort…. 😉

  2. Vishal Khandelwal says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Vipin. Yeah, you can say that 🙂

  3. Vidhyashankar says:

    Good one with a lot of insight.

    Regards,
    Vidhyashankar

  4. A beautiful analogy..!!.I have been following your posts and its just getting better…I look forward for more write ups from you ..thanks

  5. Nice analogy Vishal !

    BTW, not sure if this is ironical – when i click the link “Expect to be wrong” under #5 from the email message – it showed “Page not found ” 🙂 However, from this site, it works fine ! 🙂 🙂

  6. hello,
    m getting married soon…m sure dis is gonna help..:P..lol…
    thanks!

    jugal.

  7. Excellent analogies!Now i now what makes a happy married life too! 😉

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