The Number 8

I think I should wear a shirt with the number eight on it when I go to China in a month. To the Chinese the number eight is symbolic of fortune and wealth, and has a large influence on all parts of their life. For example, they will often invest in stocks with ticker codes with an eight or multiple eights. The Beijing Olympics will start at 8pm on 8-8-2008.

Contrary to the number eight’s goodwill is the number four, which is symbilic of death.

More in this WSJ article:

The 6, 8 and 9 keys on ATMs made by Diebold Inc. wear out first because those “are considered lucky numbers in China”…

Investing is likened to what we (Americans) would consider gabling…

Brokerages are set up like casinos. Investors drink tea, smoke and chat as they make trades on computers lined up like slot machines. Instead of dropping in coins, they swipe bank cards to pay for shares…

In China, individuals, often with little understanding of financial concepts, make up 60% to 80% of trading, unlike U.S. markets dominated by financial giant (firms).

There is no free press in China, which means that information can be misleading, their stock market is largely comprised of personal investors that view it as a high risk endeavor based on lucky numbers, and their GDP growth is ridiculously high. Is it a matter of if or when their economy implodes?

Proximity to Family

Paraphrasing The View’s Joy Behar:

Wealthy families and poor families tend to stick together, while middle class families tend to disperse geographically.

There are a few ways to take this. Rich and poor children tend to be more dependent on their families than middle class children. Although I don’t have data, it would make sense that poor children would work with their parents to support a larger family unit, while children of wealthy parents are likely to remain under the family “umbrella” for a longer period of time. Conversely, middle class children seem to strive for more financial independence from their families.

I moved away from my family for college, but I stayed in-state. After college, I moved further away from home because I was eager to work and prove my independence. I think as many 20 to 25 year olds will agree, proving your independence is easier said than done. After working for a couple of years, I opted to return to school and chose a law school further, rather than closer, to home.

My motivation has been necessity, independence, and a desire to explore. I have not strived to be away from my parents, but rather followed what I thought to be the most enriching opportunity available.

From being away from home, I’ve learned to appreciate my home town. My attitude has evolved from thinking there wasn’t much going on there to recognizing it is as busy and fulfilling as anywhere else I have lived or traveled.