As human beings, we can often react to events or experiences in an instinctual rather than logical or practical way. It is in our very nature and can, in many cases, not be avoided. That being said, having awareness of our natural behaviors towards experiences can help protect us from the consequences of acting on our emotions. Behavioral Finance emerged I the 1970’s with research from Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and it is a “relatively new field that seeks to combine behavioral and cognitive psychological theory with conventional economic theory in order to propose explanations as to why people might make irrational financial decisions.”[i] In this article we identify some common behavioral biases that many investors possess in the effort to bring awareness of how your perceptions can affect your investment choices.Read More
It can be confusing when government bureaucrats and the media offer wildly different perspectives on the intent and ramifications of a new controversial policy. This was plainly evident in December regarding the issue of net neutrality.
According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the new “Restoring Internet Freedom Order”1 is meant to:
- Reverse the previous “heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire internet ecosystem” in order to “protect consumers at far less cost to investment than the prior rigid and wide-ranging utility rules”
- Restore the “longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid internet growth, openness and freedom for nearly 20 years”
- Restore “a favorable climate for network investment,” which is the “key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers”2
If we look at society and societal norms, a lot of weight is given to success when it comes to defining happiness. If we see a person who is successful, it is often assumed that they are happy. On an existential level we should consider what it all means. In reality, we actually have no idea whether or not that person is either happy or successful; for a couple of reasons: First of all, we can only measure someone else’s success or happiness by what we know about them. Secondly, and more importantly, we can only measure someone else’s success or happiness by how we define success and happiness. There is really no way of knowing whether their measures are even similar to our own.
It is on this concept that we are then able to shift our focus to identifying our own unique definition of success and happiness. Once we identify those things, then we can work on building a plan and setting the goals to achieve them.
When it comes to financial success, the same case can be made as above. Identifying what financial success is, is different for everyone. The following are considerations to make when developing your own unique financial success plan.Read More
There are many different approaches to investing in the stock market, but most fall under two categories: exclusive and inclusive. Exclusive means conducting thorough research on prospective companies and investing in a portfolio of select, thoroughly vetted securities. One of the advantages of this approach is that if an investor’s research pans out, he could have quite a cache of high-performing “winners.”
An unfortunate disadvantage is that most big “winners” in the market have at some point suffered declines of up to 50, 60 or even 90 percent on their way to success. That type of risk can be difficult for the average investor to stomach.Read More
Numbers guide much of our daily lives. From the price of a gallon of gas at the tank to the cost of our morning coffee as we scurry off to another day of work, numbers are solidly submerged in our collective consciousness. Numbers are absolute. Even though the cost of a gallon or milk may go up or go down, what the numbers involved mean stay static and absolute. Prices may fluctuate, but a dollar is still four quarters, ten dimes, twenty nickles or one hundred pennies (as unwieldy and impractical counting all of them out at the coffee shop cash register might be). Numbers are logical and predictable. Three times seven will always add up to twenty-one (a number that has much significance at the blackjack table and equal importance for college students looking to embrace their new-found adulthood with a pint or two at the local watering hole). Numbers are practical and unemotional. Numbers know no sympathy – just ask anyone who has ever gotten a costly ticket for exceeding a posted speed limit. Numbers are a lot of things but one thing they are certainly not: numbers are not people.Read More
Perhaps you are familiar with an annuity. The basic premise is that you convert a lump sum of money into a stream of income. Unlike an investment, once you commit a fixed amount of money to the insurance company, that company is contractually obligated to provide you a minimum level of income with the option to continue receiving it as long as you live. All guarantees are backed by the financial strength of the issuing insurance company.
There are different formulas for launching highly successful companies. First, create a product that solves a problem that no one knew they had — for instance, how online search engines replaced encyclopedias. Then, there are ideas that help solve problems that plague millions of people.
Back pain, for example. Not only do approximately eight in 10 adults experience low-back pain at some point in their lifetime, but it’s also the most common cause of job-related disability.
One individual who suffered severe back pain while sitting at work all day decided to invent a new kind of desk. This desk would allow him to stand while he worked, alleviating his back pain. This man was a co-founder of VARIDESK, a new type of office furniture manufacturer. But this new company didn’t just enter the office supply industry; it introduced a new sales model that was key to its rampant success: Selling online direct to consumers.
In 1985, only 10 percent of people aged 65 and older were either in the workforce or job hunting. Today, that share has doubled, for a couple of reasons. First, fewer 65-year-olds have enough money to retire. Second, the number of people in this demographic with a college degree has more than doubled (53 percent today vs. 25 percent in 1985).
Financial literacy has always been a challenge. However, now that much of the burden of retirement income has shifted to employees instead of employers, it is all the more important that we begin teaching the principles of saving and investing to people as early as possible.
When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, the hope was companies would spend their influx of money on expansion and increased jobs and wages. Instead, public companies’ most popular way to spend the excess capital has been to buy back their own stock.