These Five Cognitive Biases Hurt Investors the Most
There is no shortage of cognitive biases out there that can trip up our brains.
By the last count, there are 188 types of these fallible mental shortcuts in existence, and they constantly impede our ability to make the best decisions about our careers, our relationships, and for building wealth over time.
Biases That Plague Investors
In today’s infographic from StocksToTrade, we dive deeper into five of these cognitive biases – specifically the ones that really seem to throw investors and traders for a loop.
Next time you are about to make a major investing decision, make sure you double-check this list!
The moves that may seem instinctual for the average investor may actually be pre-loaded with cognitive biases.
These problems can even plague the most prominent investors in the world – just look at JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon!
Biases to Avoid
Here are descriptions and examples of the five cognitive biases that can impact investors the most:
The first piece of information you see or hear often ends up being an “anchor” for others that follow.
As an example, if you heard that a new stock was trading at $5.00 – that is the piece of information you may reference whenever thinking about that stock in the future. To avoid this mental mistake: analyze historical data, but don’t hold historical conclusions.
Recency bias is a tendency to overvalue the latest information available.
If you heard that a CEO is resigning from a company you own shares of, your impulse may be to overvalue this recent news and sell the stock. However, you should be careful, and instead focus on long-term trends and experience to come up with a more measured course of action.
Loss Aversion Bias
No one wants to lose money, but small losses happen all the time even for the best investors – especially on paper.
Loss aversion bias is a tendency to feel the effects of these losses more than wins of equal magnitude, and it can often result in a sub-optimal shift in investing strategy. Investors that are focused only on avoiding losses will miss out on big opportunities for gains.
Taking in information only that confirms your beliefs can be disastrous. It’s tempting, because it is satisfying to see your previous conviction in a positive light – however, it also makes it possible to miss important findings that may help to change your conviction.
No one wants to get left out, but being the last one to pile onto an opportunity can also be cataclysmic. If you’re going to be a bandwagon jumper, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
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