This article was written by Jonathan Soh
Jonathan is currently a digital marketer at VIC. He joined VIC about a year ago and started to learn how to invest in March. He recently bought his first stock a few months ago.
*cue Game of Thrones theme song*
Are you having post-Game-of-Thrones-withdrawal symptoms? Especially after everything that transpired in the latest season and you’re just anxious to find out what will happen next? Well, you’re not alone!
HBO’s Game of Thrones is an award-winning fantasy drama television series adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. It is no doubt one of the most popular (and expensive) TV shows ever produced, with millions of fans all over the world. From complex and manipulative characters, to intense battle scenes and even dragons, there are many lessons you can learn from the show. And you’ll be surprised at how you can actually pick up a thing or two that can be applied to real life investments.
We’ve decided to be a bit unconventional with this article because one of our team member is a massive Game of Thrones fan and it dawned upon him that the contents of the show can be linked to investing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new or experienced investor, if you are a fan of the series as well, this article might just be right up your alley. So without further ado, let’s relive some of the moments from the show and understand how it can be related to the world of investing!
In Season 1 of Game of Thrones, we learn from then Hand-of-the-King (the King’s Right-Hand Man), Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell that the Crown was 6 million Gold Dragons (gold pieces) in debt. With the royal treasury being empty for years, the Crown owes 3 million to House Lannister, 2 million to the Iron Bank of Braavos, and 1 million to the Faith of the Seven. From lavish parties, feasts and even jousting tournaments, King Robert Baratheon was known for his frivolous spending, purely for entertainment purposes. And when the situation calls for serious investments, like funding a war, the process of borrowing keeps repeating itself.
What we can learn, investment wise, is that when it comes to investing in the stock market, don’t borrow and invest in any money that you cannot afford to lose. The idea is that even though you might be investing in some of the best and stable stocks, the market is unpredictable and you’ll never know which way a stock will go in the short term. You wouldn’t want to be in a situation where you are forced to sell your stocks because you desperately need the money to survive. In short, invest smartly and safely, don’t risk losing everything you have by borrowing, especially if you’re unable to pay it back.
With their ancestral stronghold sitting atop a major gold mine, we know that of the Great Houses in Westeros, the Lannisters are undoubtedly the wealthiest…well, at least until their mines ran out of gold. In any case, during their tenure as the richest and most powerful House, their unofficial motto “A Lannister always pays his/her debts”, although connotes a somewhat sinister and negative undertone, was mostly used in a literal sense to symbolise how they always had enough money to pay off their debts.
We’re not saying you need to literally be rich like House Lannister to be able to pay off your debts, but the important lesson you can learn here is to choose your debts wisely and be aware of your limitations. One critical thing to take note of is knowing the difference between good and bad debts.
A good debt is an investment that will grow in value or generate long-term income, such examples include home or student loans. Even low-interest debts are considered a good one.
Bad debts on the contrary are incurred to purchase things that quickly lose their value and do not generate long-term income. They usually carry a high interest rates, such as credit card debts. The general rule of thumb to avoid bad debts is: if you can’t afford it and you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
So follow the Lannister’s (unofficial) motto and always be able to repay your debts, and your financial future will surely be as bright as the gold lion on their sigil!
The Red Wedding, what a remarkably emotional experience it was for viewers all over the world. In times of war, alliances are crucial as having a strong support/army will help boost the success rate of the battle. Fans of the show know what happened when Robb Stark, the young wolf, broke the marriage pact between House Stark and House Frey. By letting his emotions get the better of him, the unintentional consequences of his marriage to Talisa Maegyr was his undoing, where it cost him a great deal: from losing his head, his loved ones and even the war he was fighting so hard for. “The Lannisters send their regards”, right?
The same principle can be applied when it comes to investing because successful investors are calm, rational and level-headed. They possess the important trait of emotional stability, meaning that they base their investment decisions on practical and calculated information. This is important because of the volatility in the stock market. Nobody, not even the most brilliant of investors can predict when the next bull run or market crash will happen in the short term. If you gamble with money you can’t afford to lose, you start to panic when a stock starts going south. So even though the stock might be a great investment in the long term, because you can’t emotionally (and financially) stomach the short-term volatility, you are forced to cut your losses.
Ahhh…the famous words of House Stark…how they’ve imprinted on us since the very beginning of the series. While it certainly has a lot to do with the weather, there’s also a deeper meaning behind the motto, where it serves as a reminder to be prepared for the worst and it’s never too soon to start planning for the future. After an extremely long summer as seen in the latest season of Game of Thrones, winter has finally arrived in the realm!
While winter is not literally here in Singapore per se, House Stark’s motto highlights an impactful message to us all: no matter how well our finances are today, we cannot escape the reality of retirement…and even the government’s upcoming plan to increase tax! With GST rate increasing to 9%, this essentially means that inflation is coming! Despite being the most expensive city to live in, cost of living will continue to be much higher and things are just going to be more expensive. Imagine the struggles of saving up for your retirement while the ensuing battle against inflation continues. It’s only a matter of time before it hits us and we can finally say “winter is here”.
Therefore, bearing the words of House Stark and the above-mentioned lessons in mind, it’s best if we start preparing for our future and learn how to start investing in Singapore today! Afterall, as Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger) once said, “knowledge is power”. So join us for our complimentary masterclass where you’ll be able to make powerful returns, generate positive cash flow and be wealthy like the Lannisters!
So sit back, relax and watch your money grow for you while waiting patiently for the release of the final season of Game of Thrones next year!
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