Dave Pimper

402.721.0809

Investment Read Time: 3 min

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

One of the most well-known investors of the 20th Century, Benjamin Graham, said that "the investor's chief problem—and even his worst enemy—is likely to be himself."

What Graham understood—and modern research is catching up to—is the idea that we all have emotions and biases that affect our decision-making. The innate wiring built to survive pre-modern times can be counterproductive in our modern world, especially when it comes to investing.

Let's take a quick look at a few of the human emotions and biases that can adversely impact sound investment decision-making.

Fear and Greed — These are the two most powerful emotions that move investors and investment markets. Each emotion clouds our capability for rational and dispassionate decision-making. They are the emotions that lead us to believe that prices may continue to rise (think the Tulip price bubble of 1636) or that everything has gone so wrong that prices may not recover (think Credit Crisis of 2008-2009).

Some investors have found a way to conquer these emotions, be brave when everyone else is fearful, and resist the temptations of a too-exuberant market.

Overconfidence — Peter Bernstein, a noted economic historian, argued that the riskiest moment may be when we feel that we are right. It is at that precise moment that we tend to disregard all information that may conflict with our beliefs, setting ourselves up for investment surprise.

Selective Memory — Human nature is such that we tend to recast history in a manner that emphasizes our successes and downplays our failures. As a result, we may not benefit from the valuable lessons failure can teach. Indeed, failure may be your most valuable asset.

Prediction Fallacy — Humans have an innate desire to recognize patterns and apply these patterns to predicting the future. We erroneously believe that because "A" occurred and "B" happened that if "A" happens again, we can profit by anticipating that "B" will repeat. Market history is littered with examples of "rules of thumb" that have worked until they no longer worked.

Financial markets are complex and unpredictable. Our endeavors to tap their opportunities to pursue our financial goals are best realized when we don't burden the enterprise by blindness to the inherent behavioral obstacles we all share.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

Replacing Your Medicare Card

Replacing Your Medicare Card

Learn how to replace your lost, stolen, or damaged Medicare card in this helpful article.

Don't Myth Out on Whole Life

Don't Myth Out on Whole Life

There are a lot of myths around whole life. Get the facts here.

5 Reasons Why Financial Spring Cleaning Should Always Be In

5 Reasons Why Financial Spring Cleaning Should Always Be In

Financial spring cleaning is an important part of being fiscally fit, but don’t limit yourself to clearing the financial clutter during a specific season: Financial spring cleaning should always be in season, keeping you focused on your short-term and long-term money goals.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Financial Hacks for Millennials: Going Back to School

As we continue to readjust our lives to a global pandemic, you may be wondering if now is the time to use that time to go back to school to pursue a higher degree, or if you can build new skills in other ways.

Pickleball in Retirement

Learn about the latest sport to sweep the nation with this informative article.

Exploring the Federal Student Grant Program

In this article, explore the benefits of the Federal Student Grant Program.

View all articles

How Much Home Can I Afford?

With a few simple inputs you can estimate how much of a mortgage you may be able to obtain.

Comparing Investments

This calculator compares the net gain of a taxable investment versus a tax-favored one.

What Is My Risk Tolerance?

This questionnaire will help determine your tolerance for investment risk.

View all calculators

5 Smart Investing Strategies

There are some smart strategies that may help you pursue your investment objectives

Protecting Those Who Matter Most

The importance of life insurance, how it works, and how much coverage you need.

Investment Strategies for Retirement

Investment tools and strategies that can enable you to pursue your retirement goals.

View all presentations

Retiring in a Post-Pandemic World

Imagine your ideal post-pandemic retirement with this animated video.

What Smart Investors Know

Savvy investors take the time to separate emotion from fact.

It May Be Time for a Financial Checkup

It’s never a bad time to speak with your financial professional about changes in your situation.

View all videos

Web site design by  Sorensen Web Design