08 Jul 2019 03:37am IST
Neetant D Sinai Shirodkar
We live in a country where more than half of our population believes in superstition most of which simply defy logic. Some superstitions will tell you that crow shit is good for you while others will tell you to postpone or delay your tasks if a black cat crosses your path. The more we probe it, it gets weirder. India is not the only country plagued with superstitions as it’s a global epidemic. The financial sector has its own fair share of superstitions which is the subject of my column today. So, here are some of the superstitions people invariably believe in concerning money the world over.
Don’t keep your purse or wallet on the ground:
According to Chinese culture, it’s bad Feng Shui to put your purse on the floor. In fact, there is an old Chinese proverb you might have already heard: “A purse on the floor is money out of the door.” The idea behind this belief is that because people usually carry their money, credit cards, and other important items in their purse, placing their bag on the floor shows disrespect for the order of things and disregard for your money and wealth. If nothing else, keeping your purse off the ground is a great way to keep it clean.
Bird droppings are a good sign:
Are bird droppings yucky or lucky? In Turkey as well as in India, many people believe getting pooped on by a bird is a symbol of good things to come and it’s even tradition to buy a lottery ticket on the same day it happens! So, the next time a pigeon pegs you for target practice, take it as a sign that things are looking up.
Freeze your Credit Card. Literally:
This more modern technique from USA isn't really a superstition, rather a modern practice that looks exactly like it sounds: Place your credit card(s) in a container filled with water and throw it in the freezer.The idea behind this practice is that the next time you want to use your credit card, you’ll either have to wait for the ice to melt, or break it down with a hammer thus giving you time to change your mind about using your credit card to make a purchase. And don’t worry even with the new chip technology your credit card will still work after you thaw it out.
The idea that whistling inside the house will lead to a loss of money and bad luck is widely believed in Russia and the Baltic states. And, especially, don't do it if you are in someone else's house because you'll be whistling away their money. The belief is that whistling is the language of evil and by doing so you are inviting evil spirits into your home. You can whistle as much as you like outside.
Itchy Palms signify gains:
According to palmistry and hand analysis website, an itchy right palm is a good thing, because it means you are about to receive money. Don’t scratch that itch, or it will stop the money from coming into your life. An itchy left palm, on the other hand, means you are about to lose money. To relieve the itch and protect your assets, you can rub your left palm on a piece of wood. This superstition is said to have originated from the Saxons (German tribes) who settled in Great Britain during the middle ages. They believed you could cure diseased skin by rubbing silver on it.
All these examples suggest that psychological biases do affect financial decision making. Furthermore, superstition is an important part of how people make sense of randomness and form strategies for dealing with risk. Throughout history, people have believed that certain rituals, objects, or symbols can be used to influence their luck.
Writing about superstition is like stirring a hornet’s nest, especially when you link it with financial decisions. If warren Buffet had only relied on an auspicious date and time to invest in a particular stock, he would not have been the richest investor alive today, instead it was his astute understanding of the market conditions and street-smart attitude that worked for him. Festivals, auspicious days and times will come and go but in the end your success can only be achieved by the degree of hard work you put in without waiting for a supernatural approval.