Do Our Biases Affect Our Financial Choices?

   “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”   (Proverbs 21:5).

   Investors are routinely warned about allowing their emotions to influence their decisions. However, they are less routinely cautioned about their preconceptions and biases that may color their financial choices.

   In a battle between the facts and biases, our biases may win. If we acknowledge this tendency, we may be able to avoid some unexamined choices when it comes to personal finance.  It may actually “pay” to recognize blind spots and biases with investing. Here are some common examples of bias creeping into our financial lives.

   Letting emotions run the show. An investor thinks, “I got a great return from that decision,” instead of thinking, “that was a good decision because ______.”1

   “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”  (Proverbs 15:22).

   How many investment decisions do we make that have a predictable outcome? Hardly any. In retrospect, it is all too easy to prize the gain from a decision over the wisdom of the decision, and to, therefore, believe that the findings with the best outcomes were the best decisions (not necessarily true). Putting some distance between your impulse to make a change and the a ...

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