February 27, 2021 08:27
More Koreans are becoming addicted to stock investing, with tell-tale signs of dependency like borrowing money from friends and lying about where the cash will be used or feeling nervous at weekends when the markets are closed.
The Korea Center on Gambling Problems saw a 72 percent increase on-year in requests for help with stock market addiction last year, from 1,008 to 1,732.
The increase was particularly marked among those in their 20s, whose number surged from 73 to 236.
Shin Haeng-ho at the center said, "Many people now consider stocks a good investment, but they can quickly turn into an addiction if people's preoccupation gets out of their control."
Stock investing has the same traits as other forms of gambling. Oh Eun-kyoung (51) at the center said, "People who suffer from an addiction to stocks sell their shares immediately their prices rise to achieve instant gratification and borrow money to buy more if the prices decline."
Another sign is that they suffer the opposite of the Monday blues because they are delighted that they can get their fix again when the stock markets open after the weekend.
The consequences for people's personal lives can be devastating. Divorce lawyer Hwang Sung-hyun said, "There are cases of a court siding with women who sought to divorce their husband citing his excessive stock investment. The problem wasn't the amount of money the man lost but his failure to pay attention to his wife due to his addiction."
Hwang claims to have seen a "10-fold rise" in inquiries over the last three months from people asking if excessive investment in Bitcoin or stocks could justify divorce.
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