I write this article in between two events that make me look back at our 28.5-year-old marriage. Last week, two interesting young female authors Marianne Mencias and Riva Galvestan interviewed Marvin and me regarding our marriage, for their upcoming book. This weekend will be our talk in Laoag City where we will share our FQ couple tips for the family. And today is Valentine’s Day. So I can’t help but realize how lucky I am to be happily married to my favorite person in the world!
And you know what, we are where we are because of some factors which are very similar to the ingredients of a good investment.
1. It is for the long-term. When we said “I do” in 1989 we had forever as our time horizon. It wasn’t going to be “until I find a better one” or “as long as I’m fond of you” or “until further notice.” We do not “sell” at the slightest sign of conflict, but just continue investing year after year. We are thankful that both of us had good role models in our respective set of parents.
2. It is a decision. And because it is forever, we made a decision to make it not just a puede na kind of relationship but the best union we can possibly have. We know that emotions come and go and so we constantly remind ourselves about our commitment. When you invest, you have to make your decision firm and commit to doing it, no excuses.
3. Full disclosure. Because Marvin and I started off as friends with no romantic inclinations, we were able to get to know each other without having to always “put our best foot forward.” Today this full disclosure is still very much in practice in the way we deal with money, how we feel towards each other and in the other aspects of our union because trust is a very important ingredient of a successful relationship. It is the same thing when you invest in companies, choose the ones with trustworthy management teams.
4. Easy to understand model. Our relationship was straightforward from the start. We went from good friends to boyfriend/girlfriend to married couple. We didn’t go through vague relationship status such as MU (Mutual Understanding), friends with benefits, in an open relationship, it’s complicated, live-in, etc.
I think getting into such difficult to understand relationships is no different from getting into investments that you don’t’ understand – nakiki-uso lang or following the mob. It is no different from CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligations) and other mutated instruments that people got into that brought about the financial crisis in 2008. The initial model was asset-backed security, an instrument that aimed to pool mortgages, etc. in order to increase the quality and liquidity of the asset. But it morphed into dangerous derivatives that nobody could really understand anymore; however, they kept trading them actively because a lot of people were making money. Huge piles of money were made that nobody dared to call out that the “emperor had no clothes!”
This is what concerns me about the ongoing craze on cryptocurrencies as investment without really understanding the model. I honestly think that it may be a good medium of exchange because it eliminates some costs charged by traditional platforms. So there you go, the initial model may be noble, just like the asset-backed securities, but I am alarmed with the derivatives that are now proliferating in the market. They are being sold similar to multilevel marketing scams. Somehow, they are also a way to go around established rules of investments because their novelty has caught the regulators off-guard.
And just like all those “derivative relationships” mentioned above, there seems to be no one held liable when the music stops. I still cannot see the underlying value, but a lot of people get into it for investment, some even aware of the dangers, but hoping against hope that they will get out of it with a gain or at the very least scot-free before the music stops. Unfortunately, most of the time, they get hurt in the end
5. Good dividends. Good investments yield good dividends. When it comes to our union, I consider our three sons Martin, Enrique and Anton our best “dividends.” I call them God’s greatest gifts to us and our greatest gifts to the world.
6. Good design that makes things easier. Marvin and I are aware that we’re only humans so we design our marriage to make it easy for us to keep the “fire burning.” We have FriDates, which give us that opportunity to see each other in a still romantic way on a regular basis, and give us the opportunity to have good conversations away from home. We also celebrate our anniversaries, Valentine and other milestones in order to honor our union. We even incorporate our asset allocation meeting during our anniversaries. J
Designing your investing such that you have an automatic and regular contribution that increases as you increase your earnings is very much like our FriDates. It happens regularly, no questions asked, and it makes your wealth accumulation automatic.
7. Patience. Oh you have to have a lot of this in order to have a good marriage. You have to go through the mundane aspects of family life, a little bit of drama, frustrations and other challenges. Just be patient. In the same way with your investment, you will get bored, get crazy and panicky at times, but just be patient.
8. Go for blue chips. In investing we always recommend blue chips. The same goes with marriage. We consider each other as blue chips, not in the boastful sense of being perfect individuals or belonging to de buena familia (high net worth families) although I consider both our families to be lucky to have been both stable while we were growing up, so that’s muy bien for me! When I say blue chips, it’s more of knowing our worth as individuals, as children of God who deserve to love and be loved. We were both complete (but still improving) individuals before we said, “I do.”
9. With clear goals. Investing needs clear goals in order to sustain the discipline and fulfillment in the regular setting aside and staying steadfast. We try to be as clear in our couple and family goals on a regular basis, and that has helped us get to where we are now.
10. Smart risk taking. Any form of investment entails risks. No risks taken, no gain expected. It’s as simple as that. Even if you consider yourself risk-averse or with low risk appetite, you have to realize that you have to take some smart risks in order to protect your money from purchasing power erosion due to inflation.
When we got married, I was only 24 turning 25, and Marvin had just turned 28. We were earning decent, but far from high, salaries in our respective jobs, we both had our respective idiosyncrasies and we knew that there were uncertainties involved, but we took that very smart risk when we said “I do.” We continue to take smart risks – when we built our house, had our children, when I left my job to be a full-time homemaker, when I wrote my first book, when he took his early retirement, when we put up IFE (Investing For Everyone) Management Advisers Inc., and many more.
And you know why we are brave enough to take all these risks? Because somehow, we know that we are not just counting on ourselves when we do all these. Yes, we do our risk-benefit analysis (we can’t help it, we were both analysts in our first job), but ultimately, it’s our belief in God that propels us to take leaps here and there. We both know that this thing called marriage has big demands that humans cannot achieve on their own, but can only do so with His grace.
I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. Go hug your Valentine today, be it your spouse, your partner, your children, your parents, or siblings, and remember to keep investing in your relationship with your loved ones.
And here’s an addition to the 10 items above:
11. Frugal. In investing, look for companies that are frugal in the use of their resources. This same quality is very important in a marriage. So today, I am practicing it once more, here’s my Valentine gift to my honey, Happy Valentine’s Day Marvin! I love you.
1. Have you planned for your Valentine weekend? Calling all my “ka-ilians!” My husband Marvin and I will give a talk in Laoag City on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. I hope to see you there. There are only limited slots, here’s the link to reserve bit.ly/COLilocosfeb17. Should the online reservations be closed, kindly email me at FQMomm@gmail.com.
2. Want to know your FQ score? Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://rebrand.ly/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books “Raising Pinoy Boys” and “The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon” (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose. She is a behavioral economist, a certified gallup strengths coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.