Love is like the stock market

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Love is like the stock market: fickle in the short term and gainful in the long term.

If love really is like the stock market, who better to ask about success in love than somebody who’s succeeded in the stock market? Enter David Gardner, a 1988 Morehead-Cain UNC alumnus and co-founder of The Motley Fool, an investment advisory company.

David, who spoke to a packed lecture hall at UNC last March, knows a thing or two about winning in the stock market: Since 2002, he has achieved an unbelievable 233 percent return on his stock investments (as compared with the market’s average return of 47.1 percent).

Imagine if you found a partner whom you loved 233 percent more today than 12 years ago?

If we apply Gardner’s wisdom on stock investing to love, you could find such a partner. I interviewed Gardner on how to succeed in love by applying proven stock investment tactics. First off, here’s how Gardner feels that love is like the stock market: “Once you’ve bought in, it’s all about holding from there. People who sell (love) a lot won’t get much satisfaction.”

Just like stocks don’t make us money after days, but rather after years, love does not form overnight. Day traders who buy and sell stocks willy-nilly are sure to lose their socks, while patient investors like Gardner trust each stock’s ability to generate long-term wealth. If you want a love partner, don’t keep trading around: Pick somebody and get to know him or her.

I asked Gardner why he decided to marry early out of college and how he spotted winning stocks like Netflix and Amazon in their early days — how do you find love so early?

“Usually, among the first-movers you find some big-time winners. Members of the opposite sex prized as potentially very valuable lifetime mates will be in high demand early on and like any kind of draft, will often be early picks. Similarly, in business, the first-movers — the companies that get going fast and strong early — often wind up the long-term winners.”

According to Gardner, it sounds like Beyonce was right after all: “If you liked him then you should’ve put a ring on it.” Don’t wait too long, or Mr. Right will be Mr. Taken!

Despite all this, love is not exactly like the stock market: An important part of stock investment is diversification, aka buying stocks from several companies to minimize risk. The marriage market, au contraire, hinges on non-diverse monogamy (hence the divorces).

Gardner’s take: “The better you truly know your stock — or potential spouse — the more likely you’ve got a winning long-term investment, the less likely you’re going to be surprised by bad news.” Gardner also said in stocks “you’re buying the people who run the business. The corollary in romance is that you’re not just marrying your spouse-to-be — you’re marrying his/her family. They count; it all counts.” Time to meet the parents, y’all.

Whether you’re smitten on Feb. 14 or Sept. 21, invest in long-term love.

Thanks for reading.

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