Sunday, May 27, 2012

Protecting money from our soft spot for beautiful women

Throughout history, there have been many great men felled by their weaknesses for seductive women. In the East, we have the 四大美女 (4 great beauties) of China. These women got their names because they were responsible for the sinking of mighty empires and the deaths of thousands of men who got drawn into wars started by these beautiful faces. The West has its share of such women too. Think of Helen of Troy, the face who launched a thousand ships which led to the destruction of Troy.

Recently, Singapore has its own version of such a woman. She is an under-aged teen prostitute who led to the downfall of 48 men. Women throughout the developed world are protected by divorce laws which force men to give half their assets in a divorce. Here, even under-aged but sophisticated prostitutes are protected. In this particular case, the prostitute was sophisticated enough to cheat 48 successful men with distinguished careers into thinking that she was legally open for business.Why does not the law protect the men who got cheated?

I am amazed that in a world where laws are mostly made by men, why do men treat themselves so unfairly? Why shower so much protection to women (get rich from divorces) and neglect protection for ourselves when history has thrown out so many examples that proves that men are weak and vulnerable to manipulation by seductive and beautiful women?

The lust for gorgeous women is programmed into our DNA. We need not be taught to lust. We just know it, feel it and manage it so that it does not run out of control as we grow up. Being a man, I am acutely aware of my built-in vulnerability. Firstly, I will talk about how I personally manage this weakness to protect my money. Secondly, I would like to suggest laws to protect the wealth of rich men who have poor self-discipline against ravishing and manipulative women with foul intentions.

It is a time-tested and effective business practice to employ attractive women to get men to part with their money. Some restaurants employ scantily-clad waitresses so that men can feast with their eyes while feasting with their mouths. Ever been to Hooters? Car shows employ sexy models because fast cars are associated with sexy female passengers. In the recent tragic Ferrari fatal accident, the rich PRC driver Ma Chi was accompanied by a sexy female companion (Wu Weiwei) who was said to be wearing a white spaghetti-strap tank top and hot pants at the time of the accident.

Most of us have been approached by bank relationship managers to buy financial products. So far, all the female managers whom I have encountered are highly attractive. Knowing that my judgment will be clouded in the presence of an attractive sales person, I never allow her to close the deal on the spot. Instead, I ask for printed materials to bring home so that I can analyze the numbers alone without her presence affecting my judgment. By keeping emotions away, I protect my money. Buy because the numbers look good, not because the face and body look good. If the presence of a gorgeous lady adversely affects your judgment, make sure that the decision-making process is done in her absence. Only the message matters, the messenger should not at all. Preferably, the message should boil down to a set of analyzable and fairly accurate numbers.

One reason I do not go to the casino is that there are too many beautiful faces and colorful lights inside the casino that distorts one's judgment. I think I stand a better chance of making money with my investments alone in front of the computer to analyze financial statements and price/volume movements without sexy distractions.

In my next article, I will make suggestions on protecting rich men's money from manipulative gold-diggers and their own poor self-discipline.

PS: Most married men who get into trouble with other women had it coming to them because of their own poor discipline and bad behavior. This post is not meant to push the blame to women. Rather, it is written by a man who is acutely aware of his own weakness and feels it is a pity to see so many potential great men who could have gone to greater heights in life be destroyed by this weakness.

Picking the right Valentine. A much more difficult task than picking the right stocks

9 years ago, I wrote about choosing your Valentine from a value investing standpoint. What I wrote then still stands today, Beauty is over...