7/29/14 – Honey

Why do some of us refer to our partners (usually not a business partner) as “honey?”

Similar terms of endearment include “dear,” “darling,” “sugar,” “babe,” “love,” “precious,” “sweetie,” “cutie,” “hey,” and “hey you.” I’ve been called “dear” in my past by an old librarian, but for the most part it’s been “hey,” “hey you,” and terms that cannot be mentioned in this article.

Believe me, my “dear” wife does not refer to me as “honey” and I could never picture myself getting her attention by referring to her as “sugar,” or “honey.”

I recently heard my friend address his wife as “honey” and that got me wondering how many of my friends called their significant others “honey.” I took a survey of around 30 people and I must admit the results were surprising. Approximately 50% called their significant others honey. But, of the 50% that called spouses honey, the vast majority of the “honey people” were under the age of 60. Those of us ranging in age from 60 to 85 almost unanimously called a significant other by their first names.

I was thinking of asking him how he and his wife address each other during an argument. Do they use the term “honey” in a loud, sarcastic tone, or do they place an emphasis on the first syllable of the word? Maybe “honey people” follow the established rules of “friendly fighting” — or maybe they get down and dirty, and go at it like Jackie Gleason did in the “Honeymooners.” Or then again, maybe “honey people” replace “honey” with “dingbat,” “madwoman” or “madman,” “lunatic,” “kook,” “whack-job,” “idiot” or a variety of expletives.

Obviously this whole honey thing has me thinking. But what is “honey” anyway, and what’s the meaning behind the term “honeymoon?”

Of course, honey is made by honey bees. But how?

Bees extract nectar from flowering plants, store it in their stomach or “crop,” where it is then digested by stomach enzymes. When they return to the hive with a full belly, they regurgitate the contents of their crop into the mouths of other bees where the process begins again. Eventually the digested liquid is regurgitated into the comb, where the bees fan it in order to evaporate excess liquid. When the process is completed, they seal the honey comb with yet another type of digested material which we know as beeswax. (As an aside, honey is not an accepted vegan menu item.)

Yup, that’s how honey is made. Seriously, I do not want to be called the vomit of an insect related to an ant. And you wonder why we have a 50% divorce rate?

Okay, what’s the story behind the term “honeymoon?”

“Honeymoon” is derived from the old English term “honey moone”. “Honey” is supposed connote happiness and excitement of a couple finally living together in blissful matrimony, and “moone” refers to the cycle of the moon. Specifically, our moon evolves from being a bright light to a petered out crescent in the sky.

Yeah, the word “moon” reminds us that the excitement isn’t going to last very long, and that although you may refer to your significant other as “honey” at first, you may be calling him or her a “dingbat” in no time at all.

I’m sure you are wondering where this is going.

Think about it. When we buy an investment, we typically go through a “honeymoon” period. I’ve noticed that the excitement of owning a security can end long before the cycle of the moon. We do establish a lofty set of expectations, but investments can lose their shine in as little as a few weeks.

To paraphrase President Nixon, it’s important for me to make myself perfectly clear. I am just as excited today when I look at or think about my wife as I was the first day we met. I hardly ever dwell on her excessive spending habits.

Over time, I have discovered a close correlation between cultivating/navigating a marriage and investments. Here are some basic rules to follow:

  • · Work at understanding your spouse/investment, including his/her/its past history
  • · Realize that there is no such thing as the perfect spouse/investment
  • · A spouse/investment requires your attention
  • · Put another way, a spouse/investment requires ongoing maintenance
  • · Don’t expect too much; be realistic
  • · Keep expenses low (You see this one, Honey?)
  • · Dividends won’t hurt you
  • · Focus on the positive 
  • · Understand the ups and downs of life/markets
  • · Remind yourself why you married your spouse/purchased your investment
  • · Never get too comfortable with your spouse/investment
  • · If you think there is something wrong, don’t ignore it

And finally, there are several critical differences between working on a relationship and an investment. If an investment does not perform in line with an appropriate benchmark after several months, place it on a watch list. If the investment continues to underperform its peer group after a six month period of time, sell it.

You should never ever fall in love with or marry an investment. And, don’t overreact or hold on to an investment that has not been capable of meeting realistic expectations.

Alternatively, when it comes to a spouse…….

By | 2014-07-29T15:44:56+00:00 July 29th, 2014|Client Conversations|Comments Off on 7/29/14 – Honey