Emotions aren’t always your friend when it comes to investing. In fact, they can lead to trouble in some very specific ways…
Here’s today’s understatement of the year: emotion plays a major role in investing.
Whether it’s the gold rush leading to 2008’s crash, momentum trends that cause a stock to orbit its true value or the irrational exuberance of the 1990s, the stock market is filled with people who act like, well… human beings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this has its strongest expression when it comes to individual investors.
That’s not always bad. Emotions come into any big decision, and it’s important to feel good about your portfolio. Emotions dictate risk tolerance, after all. The same goes for picking companies with a strong sense of mission. Those are the decisions that help you sleep at night.
The problems start when emotions become biases. That’s when you, as an investor, can make bad choices that don’t leave you personally or financially any better off. What do those biases look like? Here are the top ten to keep an eye out for the next time you open up the portfolio…
Bias: Focusing on an actual or perceived expertise on a narrow slice of the market
Overconfidence isn’t necessarily what it sounds like. Yes, sometimes this bias is caused by an investor who knows less than he thinks. That guy who caught 15 minutes of “Mad Money” and then gives lectures at a dinner party is a classic example.
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The original article appears on BloombergView and is available here. The author is Mark Buchanan.
Humans have a terrible track record of predicting financial crises in time to fend them off. Some computer scientists think that algorithms might help.
Given the right information, some crises can be foreseen. In “The Big Short,” Michael Lewis told the story of the scattered few who saw the imbalance growing in the mortgage market and profited as a result. Over decades, academic research has shown that many banking crises come with early warning signals, such as rapidly increasing debt and leverage. Yet economists and policy makers routinely miss such danger signs, in part because the financial world is so complex.
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