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Could watching The Bachelor make you smarter?

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Whether you love it or hate it, there are lessons about both love and money to be learned from the hit show.

Our favourite guilty-pleasure television series is  over, with Matty K and  Laura heading off into the sunset (and a bunch of paparazzi).

Like previous seasons, it has been a rollercoaster of love, heartbreak and  drama (we’re looking at you Leah). But what does any of this have to with your finances?

You might be surprised to fnd that even as the course of true love runs anything but smoothly, the Bachie and his lady-loves are full of helpful insights.

1. Information is key

The key to good decision-making is information. Whether you’re choosing your first home loan or the love of your life on national TV, being properly informed will help you decide what’s right for your situation. But what can you do to acquire that information?

It’s all about asking the right questions. What is the right product right for my circumstances? Can I afford this loan? Does he like pugs? How many marshmallows can you fit in your mouth?

But like Matty J and his bevy of beauties, we’re surrounded by so many options that we may not have enough time to investigate them all – and this makes it difficult  to make a decision. So, what can we do?

For starters, make sure you’re taking advice from a reliable and credible source. Getting tips from a friend or article you read online might set you on the right track, but they won’t understand your needs or situation to the extent that a qualified adviser will. Nor will they have the wealth of experience and technical knowledge.

So, when it comes to making financial decisions, don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own – speak to an adviser if you’re going to take a big step.

2. Know your odds

The bigger the return, the better the investment right? Not always. When it comes to making good investing decisions, it’s all about understanding your odds – what’s your risk?

The general rule of thumb is that the higher returns, the higher the risk of losing money, especially if you’re thinking of investing in the short term.

Take a look at The Bachelor.  For each woman there is only a 1 in 24 chance of finding true love, which translates to only 4%. That’s incredibly low, especially when you consider that they have to give up in order to go on the show: work, kids, dignity (e.g. a pie to the face). So, what can you take away from this?

First things first, think about your financial goals – what do you want to achieve by investing? Then look at the level of risk you can tolerate. This is what a financial adviser calls your ‘risk appetite’, and it’s based on your investment timeframe, goals and comfort levels.

Then they will recommend an investment approach that’s aligned to this appetite, including assets like shares, property, cash or fixed income.

3. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Love might be blind, but when it comes to finances it can also be blinding. Most of us don’t go into a new relationship planning for it to fail, but we all should be prepared in  case it does. If the last few seasons of The Bachelor have taught us anything, it’s that even the most picture-perfect relationships can end.

And if you’re not prepared, it can be financially damaging. So, what can you do?

While it’s convenient to have some expenses shared in joint accounts, having some separate finances can help you maintain some control over your money.

If you’re buying a house, you may want to look at the difference between being Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common, as that affects how the asset is treated in a legal sense.

Communication is key, so make time to sit down and talk about money, and ensure you both have a handle on the household budget.

Take the first step

4. Make the best of a bad situation

Sometimes things just don’t work out. Maybe you made a bad investment, borrowed a little more than you can handle or just haven’t achieved the financial targets you set – we’ve all been there.

However, the trick is not to focus solely on what you’ve lost, but rather what you can improve, given the cards you have. The almost-winner of Season 2, Sam Frost, knows this feeling too well. We all were shocked when Blake decided to have a last minute, post-proposal switcheroo, (rudely) dumping our TV favourite after a flashy proposal in Africa.

Nobody would ever want to be in her shoes, let alone on national television. Fortunately for Sam, when it came to the ring, take-backsies didn’t apply. So despite the heartbreak, she got to walk away with a $58,000 ring. Then landed a gig as The Bachelorette in a later season.

So, what can you do to make the best of your situation?

Well, first realise not all is lost. Then speak to a financial adviser to get an accurate assessment of your situation and some advice on what your options are.

6. You don’t have to spend a lot to make a good impression

Finally, if you don’t take any other lesson from the Bachelor, take this: you don’t need to drop a lot of dosh to find love. We might have seen chocolate baths, romantic dinners suspended above water, sky diving and lush harbour cruises these last few years, but when it comes to true love Elora proves that a cold beach walk is all you need.

Many of us think we need to spend serious money to impress those around us, and guess what? You don’t. At the end of the day, if she doesn’t love you for your “dirty street pie”, find someone else who does.

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