Make a fortune in the Chinese Year of the Dragon

From Dragon's Den to festival dragons, we give you money tips for the Year of the Dragon.

Promo: From Dragon's Den to festival dragons, we give you money tips for the Year of the Dragon

2012 is the Year of the Dragon – the water dragon. Since this form of astrology is based on the Chinese year, which can be a few weeks more or less than our own years, it officially starts on 23 January 2012 and ends on 9 February 2013. Every 12 years it's the dragon’s turn again, and every 60 years it's the water dragon, with the dragon years in between being the other four elements of wood, fire, earth and metal.

So today we have three money lessons from three completely different types of dragon, the dragon of the zodiac, a legendary dragon, and the TV dragons:

What we can learn from Chinese dragons

Astrology relies on general statements or questions such as “You'll meet a tall dark stranger” or “Although there will be happiness this week, at times you won't quite feel yourself”. These are called “cold readings”, presumably because they are done cold, with no detailed information about the victim, and yet we can very easily bend them to fit the events, particularly when we want to believe.

With the prediction buried in your sub-conscience, you will notice any tall, dark strangers that you see this week. Even if it doesn't go beyond a glance, the shock and excitement you'll experience will be enough for you to interpret the reading as true. And, since we almost invariably experience some happiness every day or two, and yet our mood doesn't stay stable, the other reading would be true in virtually any week.

Another trick is to compare two or three horoscope predictions from different sources. It’s likely they won’t make the same predictions - despite apparently being based on exactly the same information and insights.

But let's see what traits dragons are supposed to have, according to the Chinese Zodiac. As I understand it, it can get pretty complicated compared to the Western Zodiac, but I'll just take Go To Horoscope's interpretation, since it's no colder than any other.

The website claims that it's “unlikely” for someone born in the year of the dragon to take second place in a competition. Presumably, you'll usually come first, third or lose, then.

But dragons are also supposed to be good with money, so turning to the main trait that will help them with that, it is that they are apparently good organisers. I'm no dragon, but I'm sure I'm wealthier than many others with higher incomes merely because I'm organised.

Open an online calendar, perhaps with KeepandShare or through many email providers, and type in all the important appointments, such as bill-payment dates, MOT dates, tax dates and so on, and use the repeat function for recurring entries. Set up email reminders to save for these items or to pay them off.

Also, start keeping a budget and lists: I wrote about the power of the simple list in New Year goals that don’t cost a penny. And check out the MoneyTrack service to better organise all your bank accounts in one convenient place.

You can read more about your personality at the Go To Horoscope's Year of the Dragon page.

Dragons don't need special training to breathe fire

“A person born in the year of the dragon will be able to raise money for any venture and sound the trumpets far and wide,” writes Go To Horoscope.

Even so, just two of the ten businesspeople who have frightened hopeful entrepreneurs on Dragons' Den were born dragons.

What's more, just two of them have been to university, showing that reality TV stars really are uneducated. The two are Richard Farleigh from series' three and four, who studied economics, and Doug Richard from series' one and two, who studied psychology. But that didn’t stop them becoming drop-outs from the den!

Bear in mind that the dragons are probably expressly chosen for certain criteria that appeal to a mass audience. Being “pure entrepreneurs” who have risen from eating gravel or at least not come from an academic background paid for by daddy is probably one of them.

Outside of TV, we'll probably find that the vast majority of entrepreneurs on all the world's rich lists have received an education. A large number of them will have got there without dishing out harsh criticism, too, I bet.

However, this is still good news for anyone who hasn’t been to university (like me). Work hard, and keep learning and listening, and hope that one day you'll have a great insight that you can use to break the mould and boost your income. That goes for you Bachelors, Masters and Doctors, too.

Coca the dragon

Coco or Coca is a name with many meanings around the world. Mostly it is invoked to frighten children into behaving well and going to sleep, like the North American bogeyman. It's also been labelled a serpent, a sea creature, a shapeshifter and a frightening child killed by violence who is still somehow not dead.

However, Coca also has origins as a female dragon in medieval Iberia. This dragon is represented in a recreated battle with Saint George in Monção, Portugal, every year. In the Festa da Coca, if the knight doesn't defeat the dragon by cutting off her ear and tongue, there will be famine.

The crowd always cheer for the dragon, so, clearly, they are laughing at forecasts. We can learn from this wisdom, and not trust in bird entrails, dragons, or economic forecasters when making financial decisions. As I wrote in Why house price forecasts are dangerous, forecasters get it so wrong, so often, that it could cost you tens of thousands of pounds.

To take us back in a circle to astrology again, the economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” So, if that's your trade, consider swapping it for the more admirable skill of giving people a buzz with a few cold readings.

More: get a grip on your money with's Money Tracker | How to spend less and have more | When to get married


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