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WitsMo Blog https://blog.witsmo.com Get Smarter with Your Money Sat, 10 Aug 2019 12:27:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://i0.wp.com/blog.witsmo.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-Screen-Shot-2019-05-27-at-7.50.33-PM-1.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1WitsMo Bloghttps://blog.witsmo.com 32 32 163381826 Money Behavioral Mistake #7 Representativenesshttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-7-representativeness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-mistake-7-representativeness Sun, 23 Jun 2019 08:54:02 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=532 Representativeness involves making judgments based on stereotypes. Representativeness is a method that your brain uses to classify things rapidly and

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Representativeness involves making judgments based on stereotypes.

Representativeness is a method that your brain uses to classify things rapidly and thereby creates shortcuts. You can see a classic example of this in politics. If you have two individuals, one from the right and another from the left, and have them watch the same political program, they will have different opinions of the objectivity and fairness of the program.

As applied to investments, representativeness appears when investors become overly negative about investments that have done poorly, and overly positive about ones that have done well in the past.

From this, stocks, in particular, can become undervalued and overvalued respectively. With mutual funds, the SEC tries to help mutual fund investors avoid representativeness with its prospectus-statement that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Yet the tracking of new cash flow into mutual funds almost always shows investor money chasing those funds with high rates of return during the last one, three, or five years. This tendency often results in investors buying after the funds have had their best performance. Investors form a bias and believe that a fund manager who performed well in a prior period of time has a good chance of continuing to perform well in the future.

Representativeness. Don't Make Assumptions sign

Representativeness, can be a misleading guide to future investment performance.

In addition, individuals place too much value on what they know based on their experiences—this familiarity can be confused with knowledge.

This is related to Anchoring, the tendency to hold to certain beliefs even when faced with new information. For instance, it explains why investors who have not invested in international securities are reluctant to do so. Another example is employees allocating too much of their company’s retirement plan to company stock. Obviously, they are familiar with the company so they are comfortable investing in it. While the idea of “investing in what you know” makes sense, the danger is in the difference between your actual knowledge versus what you think you know. Many employees, unfortunately, found out this difference when so many Internet and telecommunication companies went bankrupt between 2000 and 2003. This also became apparent again in 2008 when many financial institutions went into bankruptcy or were forced to merge, resulting in large losses for shareholders. Many investors were comfortable owning these banks, and had no idea of the large amount of risk these banks were taking, and how shaky the banks’ financials actually were.

While the idea of “investing in what you know” makes sense, the danger is in the difference between your actual knowledge versus what you think you know.

There Are Two Primary Types of Representativeness: Base-Rate Neglect and Sample-Size Neglect:

Base-rate neglect refers to investors attempting to determine the potential success of a new investment by comparing it to an already understood category or previously held investment. Essentially, the investor relies on stereotypes.

Sample-size neglect refers to an investor failing to accurately consider the sample size of the data used to make a judgment. The investor makes an assumption that a small sample size is representative of the larger body of data.

Next. Read about Money Mistake #6. Mental Accounting.

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Everything You Need to Know About Your Workaholic Fatherhttps://blog.witsmo.com/how-do-you-get-your-workaholic-dad-to-slow-down/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-do-you-get-your-workaholic-dad-to-slow-down https://blog.witsmo.com/how-do-you-get-your-workaholic-dad-to-slow-down/#respond Fri, 14 Jun 2019 10:28:44 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=368 Workaholism is one of the few addictions that society values and people are quick to claim Being workaholic is more than

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Workaholism is one of the few addictions that society values and people are quick to claim

Being workaholic is more than a dedication to his job. It’s a near-obsessive commitment that supersedes most, if not all, other aspects of life.  In fact, workaholism is a pattern of overindulgence in work, long work hours, working more than is expected, self-absorption in work, and compulsiveness to work, all of which can result in problems with relationships and health. Understandably, children of workaholics become resentful of their parent’s emotional and physical unavailability. Promises are broken and important activities like teacher conferences, sporting events, and music recitals are missed. Studies show that workaholics experience more marital discord, anxiety, depression, job stress, and health problems.

Lily’s dad, Tom, is a 43-year-old marketing exec. working at a Fortune 500 company. He was recently promoted to a senior vice president position at the firm. Along with new flexibilities on his work schedule, his pay has also increased dramatically. This means that Lily’s mom can now quit her part-time job in order to spend more time with the children, which is the fulfillment of a long-term family goal. After working extreme long hours for many years, Lily thought that his dad’s hard work has paid off with receiving a job promotion and is finally able to spend more time with her. However, Lily still hardly sees dad. His dad misses family dinners because he was traveling or he couldn’t make it to Lily’s orchestra play because of some work thing or another. Lily missed him when he couldn’t be there.

workaholic father. Father's day.Happy family daughter giving dad a greeting card on holiday

What are some characteristics of a workaholic father, and not just an engaged hard-working one? How could you tell the difference?

A workaholic displays symptoms similar to any other addiction. Working long hours, at the expense of his personal relationships and even his own health. One caveat is that the time he spent working is not often due to an external necessity. When not working, he is thinking about work. Work dictates his mood: when work is going well, he’s happy; when work is going less well, he may be down. It is also found in studies that workaholics may use work as a distraction from other problems or aspects of life. And relating to family financial planning, many workaholics may be delaying their planned retirement in an effort to continue the workaholic lifestyle.

Is there a link between health problems and workaholism? 

Yes, there is. Just because work itself is a respectable pursuit doesn’t mean that an addiction to it is any less damaging than other sorts of addictions. A number of studies show that workaholism has been associated with a wide range of health problems, such as insomnia, anxiety, and heart disease.

Besides from health problems, does being a workaholic bring negative effects?

Yes. For some people, working serves as a Band-Aid for other issues, a way to numb undesirable feelings or fill certain voids, much in the way that alcohol might do for an alcoholic or sex for a sex addict. What’s more, working too much can lead to lower job satisfaction. Comparing overworked employees to those who maintained a better work-life balance at a workplace, the ill effects are contagious.

What about the workaholicsm effects to the families?

In one study, adult children of workaholic fathers were reported that they have experienced more depression and anxiety and a weaker sense of self. That study appeared in the American Journal of Family Therapy.

What about the positive side? 

There are many positive aspects to working hard and to an increasing commitment to career. Hard work can reap great rewards, such as that they may be receiving job promotions, salary increases, and praise from their employer and colleagues. For some, it’s how they develop feelings of self worth and confidence and purpose. 

Since many workaholics often deny having a problem, what are the solutions?

It’s difficult to persuade a workaholic to change his behavior if he is not also motivated. But, if you have such a father in your life, besides you can point out the things he may be missing out on while at work, seek to understand why he feels the need to work so much and support him in finding a resolution is important. 

Based on research, cognitive-behavioral financial therapy that includes easy steps on goal setting, can develop one’s ability to derive enjoyment from work, techniques to create work-life balance, problem-solving skills, and time management. The key to healing workaholism, restoration of balance in a person’s life is critical. Taking a holistic approach to family life planning, including sleep, diet, exercise, relaxation, stress management, and spiritual activity.

Some researchers believe that rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) is appropriate for workaholism. REBT is founded on the premise that dysfunctional behavior is caused not only by environmental factors but also by irrational thinking. Take a Money Belief quiz to find out about yours. REBT can offer a promising intervention because it focuses on restructuring irrational beliefs to more functioning ones.

A fathers day greeting card. Happy father's day. workaholic father. dad

Lastly, consider these 3 simple techniques to help your workaholic father slow down and achieve a better healthy work-life balance:

1. Take a “rocking chair test.” Suggest to him, fast-forward to his retirement age sitting on your family front porch rocking in the chair. Looking back on life, where does he wish he had spent more time? – Would it be at the office? On the golf course? Or on vacation with your family?

2. Have him check in with others. Have him ask his friends and relatives to see if they think your father work too much. Workaholics are often unaware of how immersed they are in work and are not necessarily conscious of the negative emotional and physical consequences of workaholism. Be understanding, supportive, can help open his mind and heart to the feedback of those around.

3. Examine his family history around work. Workaholism is often a family phenomenon passed down from parent to child. For example, when one of my friend heard his 90-hour-a-week-working father talk about how lazy he felt compared to his father, it evoked my friend’s feelings of guilt for putting in less hours and that suddenly made a lot of sense. Seeing family pattern around work and becoming conscious of the consequences can open eyes and may help change the relationship with work.

Next. Read about What is Your “Money Script” ?and take a FREE Money Belief Quiz to find out about your relationship with money.

Book a Financial Therapy session now.

Resource: Klontz, B. T., Britt, S. L., & Archuleta, K. L. (2015). Financial Therapy Theory, Research, and Practice. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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To Buy or Not to Buy: Why Are We Shopaholics and How to Stop?https://blog.witsmo.com/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-why-are-we-shopaholics-and-how-to-stop/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=to-buy-or-not-to-buy-why-are-we-shopaholics-and-how-to-stop https://blog.witsmo.com/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-why-are-we-shopaholics-and-how-to-stop/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2019 18:45:52 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=350 The proliferation of online shopping has made the Internet a fertile environment for the shopaholics. You can never get enough

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The proliferation of online shopping has made the Internet a fertile environment for the shopaholics.

You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.

Meet Lauren, a 25-year-old single female. She recently started as an assistant account executive at a prominent advertising agency in New York City. The position is high-status but with a low pay scale. Lauren is intelligent, attractive; but, is also one of many shopaholics.

Lauren recently started dating John, and as the relationship is becoming more serious, she is nervous about telling John about her $11,000 credit card debt. Most of this debt is the result of her compulsive shopping on clothes and jewelry, which she views as a necessary part of being a young ad executive. But, if Lauren were to take an objective view of her financial situation, she would find her consistent overspending beyond her means for quite some time.

Lauren grew up in a relatively affluent family and became accustomed to getting whatever she desired.

Picture showing a shopaholic woman shopping for shoes.

Both of her parents frequently went on business trips and would bring home expensive gifts for Lauren. Her mother exhibited traits of a shopaholic since Lauren was a young girl.

Recently Lauren decided to give financial therapy a try after an argument she had with John about cheap tickets he purchased to a concert she had been looking forward to. The tickets were a surprise gift for Lauren’s birthday and she was disappointed and hurt by what she perceived to be his lack of caring. When she voiced this, he became angry and defensive stating that she was unappreciative. Lauren was completely shocked and confused by the intensity of the argument that ensued. After the argument, she went on a shopping spuree, bought a brand new pair of designer shoes, three pair of jeans, and $300 worth of makeup on her credit card, which she periodically does to make herself feel better.

After her first virtual financial therapy session, it was obvious that part of Lauren’s shopping addiction can be explored by using humanistic financial therapy.

For the humanist, financial therapy entails self-exploration, self-expression, and self-mastery and seeks to enable individuals to move towards independence, greater self-trust, and greater trust in one’s relationship to others and the environment. And within the “family” of humanistic psychology are several specific approaches: Person-centered Therapy originally developed by Carl Rogers, Gestalt Therapy, Experiential and Emotional-focused Therapy…etc. and each of these approaches can be adapted for use in financial therapy. The heart of humanistic therapy is providing an environment that is defined by having empathy, authenticity, and positive regard for the client. And these are the necessary and sufficient conditions for therapeutic change and growth.

In American culture, one of “competitive consumption”, in which the acquisition of consumer goods and services is associated with the attainment of happiness.

Credit Cards. Young woman holding wallet with credit cards on color background, closeup

The majority of shopaholics turn to their credit cards for “unlimited” assistance: for example, women are taught that a flattering dress or the perfect hair-care product will make them irresistible to men, while men come to believe that purchasing a sports car attests to their masculinity and their success. The false belief that goods are transformative agents becomes toxic when combined with the over-availability of credit cards. In 2005 to 2007, nearly 6 billion credit card offers went out to the American population — that means more than 20 offers per year went out to each American citizen (Synovate 2007). In 2012, the total US credit card debt was $793.1 billion; average credit card debt per family reached nearly US$16,000, 76% of college students were in possession of at least one credit card, and 56% ran an unpaid balance in the past 12 months (Credit Card Debt Statistics 2012).

As for Lauren, at her 5-session point, she had only made one small compulsive purchase; and her previous shopaholic’s “adrenalin rush” has dramatically decreased after working with her financial therapist. One of the many financial therapy techniques she learned to use is the mindful pause, it asks before she purchase an item, to ask herself six questions.

  • Why am I here?
  • How do I feel?
  • Do I need this?
  • What if I wait?
  • How will I pay for it?
  • Where will I put it?

Although this can take shopaholics some restraint, asking questions such as these along with financial therapy sessions successfully breaks Lauren’s automatic buying impulse. This can also help shopaholics realize that they have a choice to buy it, to put the item down and walk away, or to think it through even longer before buying.

And to reinforce this mindful behavior, shopaholics are encouraged to acknowledge and affirm their progress, and then reward themselves with a free or an affordable activity, which functions as both an act of self-care and a tailor-made alternative to shopping. Next. Read about What is Your “Money Script” ? and take a FREE Money Belief Quiz to find out about your relationship with money.

Book a Financial Therapy session now.

Resource: Klontz, B. T., Britt, S. L., & Archuleta, K. L. (2015). Financial Therapy Theory, Research, and Practice. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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Money Behavioral Mistake #6. Mental Accountinghttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-6-mental-accounting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-mistake-6-mental-accounting https://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-6-mental-accounting/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2019 03:15:35 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=316 Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds Bob Marley Mental accounting involves treating one dollar

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Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds

Bob Marley

Mental accounting involves treating one dollar different from another, depending on where it comes from, where it is kept, and how it is spent.

This can lead to being too quick to spend, too slow to save, and too conservative or aggressive with investing. For example, receiving a gift from a grandparent might seem more valuable than the same dollar amount earned from a job. So that gift might be invested more amount earned from a job. So that gift might be invested more conservatively than money earned because losing “grandma’s” money would be more traumatic than losing one’s own money. Mental accounting can also be affected by the amount of money involved. For example, most people would go to greater lengths to save $25 on a $100 purchase than they would to save $25 on a $1,000 purchase—the $25 seems to have more value with the $100 purchase.

mental accounting. African american woman at home showing and pointing up with fingers number nine while smiling confident and happy.

Mental accounting can lead to being too quick to spend, too slow to save…

Mental accounting is the reason investors divide their assets into different pockets, and therefore interferes with thinking of their overall portfolio.

To illustrate this concept, assume a person invests $1,000 in a speculative stock and in two months sells the investment for $4,000. With mental accounting, the investor will then be more conservative when reinvesting the $1,000 (since that was his “real” investment) and tend to take greater risks with the $3,000 profit. This is called the “house money effect,” because it is similar to a gambler thinking of the $3,000 as the “house’s money.” And if it is lost, well, it wasn’t really the gambler’s money to begin with. Of course, the $3,000 really is the investor’s (or gambler’s) money, but it is thought of differently. This compartmentalization not only distracts from considering the total portfolio, but also gets the investor to thinking of his or her investments in terms of individual winners and losers rather than in their entirety.

mental accounting, thinking

Mental accounting is the reason investors divide their assets into different pockets, and therefore interferes with them thinking of their overall portfolio.

Saving for retirement with IRA,401 K, and Roth, saving money

For example, an advisor may put together a “total portfolio” for a client who has an individual account, a 401(k) plan, and two IRA accounts. The advisor would develop an asset allocation strategy spread across all the accounts, but would view all of the accounts as just one big account as far as asset allocation was concerned. A year later the client says to the advisor “I see that most of my accounts did well, but the one IRA accounts seems to have lagged behind. Why don’t we move out of the investments in that IRA and buy more of what we have in the other accounts?” This would be an example of mental accounting. Read about Money Behavioral Mistake #5. Anchoring.

At WitsMo, you can get financial therapy/coaching on your terms from virtually anywhere, at anytime.

Book a session now.

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Money Behavioral Mistake #5. Anchoringhttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-5-anchoring/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-mistake-5-anchoring https://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-5-anchoring/#respond Sun, 09 Jun 2019 17:00:59 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=302 Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. Jonathan Swift Anchoring refers to the tendency to hold

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Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.

Jonathan Swift

Anchoring refers to the tendency to hold to certain beliefs even when faced with new information that should alter those beliefs, thereby creating, in effect, tunnel vision.

In other words, people start at an initial mental reference point based on past experience. This might lead to overweighting irrelevant past data or slowly adjusting to a correct answer or decision as they receive additional information.

People start at an initial mental reference point based on past experiences.

Anchoring. Stylish wealthy friends having fun on a luxury yacht

As applied to the announcement of a company’s earnings, anchoring results in security analysts under-reacting to unexpected earnings announcements. This does not mean there is not a reaction, because such announcements typically move the stock quickly and, in some cases, significantly. It does mean that security analysts do not revise their earnings estimates enough to reflect this new information. As a result, positive or negative earnings surprises tend to be followed by more positive or negative earnings surprises.

It does mean that security analysts do not revise their earning estimates enough to reflect this new information.

Individual investors, of course, also experience anchoring.

Achoring. woman-standing-beside-shore-holding-mirror-on-her-back

Their investment experiences create beliefs that they subsequently rely on, and then they under-react to new information. One of most vivid examples of this can be seen by examining investor conduct with technology stocks in the late 1990s. It appeared that investors could do no wrong by buying technology stocks and, no matter what prices were paid, technology stock prices would be higher in the future. However, even though valuations went to extremes and it became evident that the prospect of any earnings for many of these companies was well in the future, if ever, many investors did not react to this information. By the end of 2002, the cost of anchoring to these stocks’ prices was obvious.

Related to anchoring is the Normalcy Bias.

Which is essentially the refusal to plan for, or react to, a major event (often negative) that has never happened before. People may put blinders on because of the normalcy bias, and not want to acknowledge, much less react to, events that could be real game changers.

People may put blinders on because of the normalcy bias, and not want to acknowledge, much less react to, events that could be real game changers.

Next. Read about Money Behavioral Mistake #4. Hindsight Bias.

Book a Financial Therapy session now.

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Money Behavioral Mistake #4 Hindsight Biashttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-4-hindsight-bias/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-mistake-4-hindsight-bias https://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-mistake-4-hindsight-bias/#respond Sun, 09 Jun 2019 08:14:07 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=294 Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness James Thurber Hindsight bias

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Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness

James Thurber

Hindsight bias is the characteristic of investors, when looking back, seeing events that took place in the past as having been more predictable than they seemed before they happened.

Likewise, things that didn’t happen seem, with hindsight, much less likely to have happened than they did beforehand. In other words, there is a reconciliation of a person’s beliefs based on the outcome of events.

Hindsight Bias. Rear view shot of attractive young woman sitting on back of her boyfriend riding bike through village road.

When looking back, seeing events that took place in the past as having been more predictable…

For example, if a financial professional recommends a financial plan or portfolio that does well, an investor tends to think of that recommendation as one he or she liked from the start, even if that was not the case. With recommendations that do not turn out well, however, the investor may think that he or she had doubts to begin with about the recommendation, even when, in fact, that was not true. This thinking results in a person giving less credit to the good recommendations and more blame for recommendations that do not work out.

The stock market sell-off in 2008 can be seen as a classic example of Hindsight Bias.

Hindsight Bias. Looking at the road behind you from the front mirror.

Looking back one might think they should have been able to tell that the market was going to correct dramatically because of the subprime market and decline in real estate prices. But how was one to know the extent of the sell-off and how long it would last? How could one have predicted the credit crunch and subsequent government bailouts? Everything is always clearer in the rearview mirror.

Next. Read about Money Behavioral Mistake #3. Fear of Regret.

Book a Financial Therapy session now.

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Money Behavioral Mistake #3. Fear of Regrethttps://blog.witsmo.com/emotional-money-investment-mistake-3-fear-of-regret/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=emotional-money-investment-mistake-3-fear-of-regret https://blog.witsmo.com/emotional-money-investment-mistake-3-fear-of-regret/#respond Sun, 09 Jun 2019 06:24:26 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=264 When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that

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When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell

Fear of regret may drive someone to buy the latest “hot stock” because of the fear of missing an opportunity.

Regret, is a strong human emotion, and it can come into play with money, and how one invests. It may also keep an investor from entering the market after it has generated a series of losses, which leads to a tendency to buy high and sell low. Regret is more than experiencing the pain of a loss.

Regret involves the pain of feeling responsible for the loss.

Fear of Regret. Thoughtful business woman piggy bank with

Investors can avoid not only the loss but the feeling of regret if they can hold on to a poorly performing stock until it gets back to where he or she bought it. Of course, this may not be the best investment decision because some stocks never come back. Usually, there is more regret associated with taking an action that turns out poorly than with not taking an action that would have benefited the investor.

Regret is more than experiencing the pain of a loss. Regret involves the pain of feeling responsible for the loss.

This is why we may put off making any decision at all because of the fear of regret.

Fear of Regret. little boy and girl tired stressed exhausted with toys scattered indoors, kids bored being home

Any decisive action may prove to be less than optimal or an outright mistake. For example, regret may be experienced when a stock takes off and the investor either did not buy it or sold it before the price increase.

Another great quote from Mark Twain is

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

Next. Read about Money Behavioral Mistake #2. Overconfidence (or Optimism Bias)

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Money Behavioral Mistake #2 Overconfidencehttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-emotions-mistakes-2-overconfidence-or-optimism-bias/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-emotions-mistakes-2-overconfidence-or-optimism-bias Fri, 07 Jun 2019 09:46:34 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=189 Sometimes the worst day for your ego is the best day for your soul. Michael Bernard Beckwith Overconfidence can lead

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Sometimes the worst day for your ego is the best day for your soul.

Michael Bernard Beckwith

Overconfidence can lead to illusions of control that can lead to biased judgments.

Overconfidence. Young bearded man in glasses showing OK gesture and blinking at camera with overconfidence

Ask anyone if they are an above-average or belowaverage driver and most will say they are above-average. Other research overestimates of leadership ability, athleticism, and competence. One study of stock analysts revealed the following: If analysts forecast that a stock will increase in value with 80% confidence, they are right about 40% of the time. With investor behavior, this overconfidence can lead to illusions of control that can lead to biased judgments, investing too much in investments about which they know too little, taking undue risks, and failure to realize they are at an informational disadvantage to institutional investors. During strong bull markets, it is easy for investors to credit themselves for their strong performance and ignore the contribution of the bull market itself to that strong performance.

If investors are overconfident about the returns they expect to get, they may save and invest less than they otherwise would.

Successful investing decisions can become a source of pride and ego gratification, and the modern-day equivalent of a successful hunter during the caveman days. A consequence of this can be not meeting financial goals. If investors are overconfident about the returns they expect to get, they may save and invest less than they otherwise would. Then if those expected returns are not realized, they could very well come up short of achieving those goals. This is particularly relevant as baby boomers are approaching retirement.

Overconfidence can also mask errors investors make.

Overconfidence. Optimism Bias. Beautiful cheerful pin up girl drinking tomato juice and showing okay sign while sitting at the beach.

So instead of learning from their errors, investors attribute poor investment results not to their own mistakes, but to some other cause over which they have no control. For example, with the meltdown of technology stocks in the 2000–2002 period, some investors blamed their losses on poor recommendations from brokerage firms or a “bad market”.

Another aspect of overconfidence is “optimistic bias.”

That is the tendency for an investor to be convinced that he or she will do better than other investors. However, investing is a zerosum game in that for every seller there is a buyer, so if one made the correct decision the other did not. Overconfidence is often manifested in overtrading by investors, and especially by male investors.

Overconfidence. Confidence. Optimism Bias. A group of young cheerful businesspeople with smartphone standing in office, expressing excitement.

Individuals who traded the most had the worst performance.

A 1998 study by Brad Barber and Terrance Odean, which analyzed the trading histories of 60,000 investors over a six-year period ending in 1996, revealed that the individuals beat the value-weighted market index by 60 basis points (1% = 100 basis points), gross of trading costs. However, trading costs were 240 basis points, resulting in underperformance compared to the index. Furthermore, individuals who traded the most had the worst performance, underperforming the index by 500 basis points.

In general, there is no correlation between overly confidence and better financial performance.

Even many financial professionals become overconfident and end up underperforming the market, as was seen with the performance of many mutual funds. At WitsMo, we believe that understanding your own money values, and biases are the key to creating a sound and personalized financial plan.

Next. Read about Money Behavioral Mistakes #1.Loss Aversion.

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Money Behavioral Mistake #1 Loss Aversionhttps://blog.witsmo.com/money-behavioral-emotions-mistakes-1-loss-aversion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=money-behavioral-emotions-mistakes-1-loss-aversion Fri, 07 Jun 2019 08:15:46 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=161 Lessen your fear, because if you let it grow, it is you who will become small. Amazonian Oral Tradition Loss

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Lessen your fear, because if you let it grow, it is you who will become small.

Amazonian Oral Tradition

Loss Aversion, related to Fear of Regret, explains why many investors will not sell anything at a loss.

Most of us hate to take losses. And people generally prefer to avoid losses than to achieve gains. The degree to which investors are averse to taking losses was illuminated in a 1979 study by Kahneman and Tversky, the Nobel Prize winners in Behavioral Economic Sciences. They found that a loss has about 2.5 times the impact of a gain of the same magnitude.

A loss has about 2.5 times the impact of a gain of the same magnitude.

Instead, if required to sell something, they sell those securities in which they have a profit. This is the opposite of the “cut your losses and let profits run” strategy recommended by many savvy investors.

The tendency to keep losing investments and sell profitable investments is called Disposition Effect.

the-only-thing-scarier-than-change-is-regret

Selling at a loss not only admits a mistake, but also ends any hope of at least getting back to break even, thus the Loss Aversion.

Financial professionals often hear from clients who state that rather than selling at a loss, they will sell when the stock gets back to the price at which they bought it. This “get-even-it-is” attitude can be very harmful to investment results because some stocks never will get back to the price at which an investor bought them or, even if the price does increase, it may take a very long time. In the meantime, better investments are passed by while waiting for the stock to rebound. In this case, what an investor does not do can be as harmful as what he or she does.

Rather than selling at a loss, they will sell when the stock gets back to the price at which they bought it.

Next. Read about Money Behavioral Mistake #2. Overconfidence (or Optimism Bias)

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How to Cope With Financial Stress Among Coupleshttps://blog.witsmo.com/how-to-cope-with-financial-stress-among-couples/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-cope-with-financial-stress-among-couples Fri, 31 May 2019 04:59:43 +0000 https://blog.witsmo.com/?p=148 Give your stress wings and let it fly away. Financial stress is inevitable for most couples. To prevent that, couples

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Give your stress wings and let it fly away.

Financial stress is inevitable for most couples. To prevent that, couples usually have three options.

Life happens. Research has found that financial stress can have detrimental relational effects. To prevent that, couples usually have three options if they are to restore and maintain relational equilibrium, they can:

  • Reduce the stressors
  • Change their meanings of the situation
  • Increase their capabilities

Couples can use healthy communication to alleviate the relational impact of financial stress.

There is a study that’s focused on the third option by examining how to effectively communicate with each other in light of financial difficulties. Psychologists explored healthy couple communication as a potential mechanism couples (and those that work with couples at WitsMo) can use to alleviate the relational impact of financial stress. It was found that the negative impact of husbands’ financial anxiety on their marital quality is less severe when couples have positive communication patterns. Additionally, the negative impact of wives’ financial anxiety on the marital quality is less severe with healthy couple communication. Although financial stress may be inevitable for many, low marital quality does not have to be.

To prevent that, couples usually have three options if they are to restore and maintain relational equilibrium: they can reduce the stressors, change their meanings of the situation, or increase their capabilities.

Financial conflict is a better predictor of divorce than any other source of conflict.

Financial difficulties play an important role in both the duration and quality of marriages. It was found that financial conflict was a better predictor of divorce than any other source of conflict. Similarly, financial strain is associated with increased disagreements and decreased time together as a couple. Almost every marriage will experience some form of financial conflict, strain, or stress, much of which is unavoidable, e.g., the sudden loss of a job, serious illnesses, or economic declines. It is important to understand mechanisms by which couples can effectively cope with financial stress.

Financial strain is associated with increased disagreements and decreased time together as a couple.

Financial Therapy for couples can help improve healthy communication and relieve negative relational effects of financial stress.

Prevent Financial Stress. Couples Financial Therapy. Interracial couple with laptop. sitting at the table.

The importance of accessing to financial therapists, financial planners, or marriage & family therapists has been studied and validated by researchers. WitsMo‘s Financial Therapy virtual sessions can help improve your couple communication and relieve some of the negative relational effects of financial stress. Financial therapists can also help couples develop healthy general communication skills rather than focusing only on finance-specific communication. Alternatively, financial therapists may incorporate or consider Marriage & Relationship Education programs which have been found to improve couple communication.

Working on communication skills separate from and in addition to working through financial issues may prove to be more effective at protecting relationships from the deleterious effects of financial stress.

Finally, financial therapists strive to tailor solutions and coping mechanisms to the individual rather than to the couple as a single unit. And this approach may achieve better results.

Next. Read about Everything You Need to Know About Your Workaholic Father.

Reference: Kelley, H. H., Lebaron, A. B., & Hill, E. J. (2018). Financial Stress and Marital Quality: The Moderating Influence of Couple Communication. Journal of Financial Therapy,9(2)

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