Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy – Part 2

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.”¹

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.

Selective Memory — Human nature is such that we tend to recast history in the 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.

  1. Quoteswise.com, 2017


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