The Ghost of August

A boy lights a candle in Kajang, Malaysia, on Aug. 17. It is believed that the gates of hell are opened during the Ghost Month and the dead ancestors return to visit their relatives.

Guest post by Edmund Lao

If the Americans have Halloween, the Chinese have the Ghost Month. In the Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, where ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. This is the counterpart of

 

It is the Chinese belief that the ghosts and the suffering spirits come out from the hell to visit their homes during the 7th lunar month (the ghost month), many things should be avoided during this month including the ghost day: A lot of Chinese refrain from investing, creating new businesses, or even getting married as they may encounter bad luck along the way.

Even the world of investing is not immune to the effect of the Ghost month. Historically, stock prices fall down during this month as investors lock in their profit and wait for the Ghost Month to leave. There are also newbie investors who join the herd and redeem at a loss just to avoid losing more when the market goes down.

Here are some beliefs:

 

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Do not buy property or make renovations. It is believed that major transactions involving land should not be done during this time, and that renovations should be delayed so as not to disrupt the spirits. There are people who delay buying until the month is over and the problem is there might be an opportunity lost. If the person really likes that property, the best solution is to leave an earnest money to the owner and pay in full when the feared month is over. With regards to renovations, it may be scheduled depending on the degree of priorities of the job.

 

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Don’t sign a contract.

It is said that ghost month can doom contracts signed at that month. It one is uncomfortable, he may postpone it for another date. If you have no choice but to sign, make sure you have studied the contract thoroughly. One must also make sure to research the other party very well before signing the contract.

 

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Do not travel. Travel during the ghost month is discouraged specially at night so as to avoid accidents. This can be one of the reasons there are less leisure travellers during this time. Since there is low demand, ticket and hotel prices are at a low. If you are not that superstitious, you may take advantage of the bargain price to have your vacation.

 

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Do not invest. A lot of Chinese has this fear of the unknown which drives people to act based on superstitious beliefs.  Fear causes investors to stay on the side until the ghost month ends.  It is the same fear that keeps them from investing in the market. This often leads to lost opportunities. Actually the fear of losing an opportunity must be greater than an unknown fear. Ghosts cannot affect our financial goals. They only affect our emotion. Whether Ghost month or not, just keep on investing.

 

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Don’t have major surgery. It is said that major surgeries should not be held at this time, since the hungry ghosts can interfere and lead to more health problems.  Surgeries that are not that critical can be delayed if the patient is superstitious. However, if the patient is in a critical condition and needs a major surgery, it is foolish to delay as it may cause death or even higher medical bills which can drain one’s pocket.

 

Here is a final thought. If you’re thinking of taking a risk, you may want to minimize it by covering your bases. Also, make sure that you are diversified so that you are not exposed to a single particular risk.  .

Also, do not forget to protect yourself against unforeseen event and risk with insurance. Whether Ghost month or not, you are sure that you will have a financially healthy life

 

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Edmund Lao is a Registered Financial Planner who has a passion to help Filipinos invest and right way and avoid being scammed.

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