By Dom Cioffi
Years ago (before the science started to prove the concept wrong), it was believed that carefree, creative, and emotional individuals were born with a dominating right hemisphere of the brain. These people tended to excel in artistic endeavors and language skills and often became painters, writers and designers.
Conversely, left-brained people were supposed to be quantitative and analytical and therefore better suited to math and science. These individuals also paid attention to details and were governed by logic. Left-brainers became scientists, financial analysts and soldiers.
The right-brained/left-brained theory was so popular that books were written about the subject, with one of the most successful being “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain,” which suggested that getting in touch with a certain area of your brain would make you a better artist. I owned this book, read it, and can attest to no advancement in my artistic abilities beyond.
The concept of right-brained and left-brained individuals appears to have come from some research conducted in the 1960s on split-brained patients whose brain hemispheres were separated either by disease or accident. The research revealed some interesting data points that were eventually conflated into the right-brained/left-brained theory.
Today, advanced scientific techniques and decades of study have proven that the brain is much more complex than this simplistic theory suggests.
Regardless of this revelation, I have always considered myself firmly rooted in the right side of the brain. It makes sense since I am a writer, artist and filmmaker. My wife, on the other hand, is all numbers, all the time. Her job, hobbies and interests all revolve around the quantitative aspects of life — most notably, money.
Since the day I met her, she’s had a way with money and finances, so much so that once we got together, I basically handed her my paycheck, knowing she would always make the best financial decisions for us.
Whether it’s a loan, a mortgage, insurance, or the stock market, my wife keeps her finger on the pulse of what’s happening and knows exactly when and what to do when financial climates change. When there’s a big decision to make with our money, she’ll always run things by me, but more than likely, she’s already figured out an educated plan of attack.
There’s only been one time I can remember where she blew it and that was in the late 1990s.
Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple and there was an interesting buzz floating around the graphic design industry. I had been a designer for several years and was a huge Apple fanboy. As such, I made it a point to follow all the industry gossip.
It was around this time that I read an interview with Warren Buffett who suggested only buying stocks in businesses you really understood. Since I really understood design hardware and software, I was convinced Apple was a good bet, especially since Jobs was back on the scene.
My wife acquiesced and bought some shares and that was that.
Years would pass and Steve Jobs would slowly turn Apple around, eventually releasing the iMac, iPhone, and iPad to great acclaim.
Sometime in the early 2010s, I was having a conversation with a work colleague about our 401Ks, which triggered my memory of owning Apple stock. When I mentioned it, my colleague’s jaw dropped. He then told me how valuable my stock options could be.
I immediately phoned my wife to ask her to look it up. I had visions of a new Porsche and a Caribbean cruise in my future. Unfortunately, her silence told me everything I needed to know. As it turns out, she dumped the stock just over a year after we bought it due to its initial poor performance.
I never thought about the stock market again until recently when I started to watch the five-episode mini-series “Money, Explained” on Netflix.
Covering credit card debt, get-rich quick schemes, student loans, retirement, and gambling, “Money, Explained” delves into each topic with a comprehensive overview, leaving the viewer with a clear understanding of how each sector can derail your finances if you’re not careful.
Check this mini-series out if you have any interest in keeping your financial life in order. It’s well worth the investment of time.
A prudent “B” for “Money, Explained.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]