In short an objective decision is a just and fair one, supported by verifiable facts, with which rational and informed people will tend to agree. That said, subjectivity has its place. It’s up to us to determine mindfully the degree of objectivity is required in each case.
Do you want a simple and easy tool for making an important decision? The simplest “tool” is a heuristic. A short-cut like “take the default” or “do what everyone else is doing” may be fine for selecting a restaurant entrée or route to the grocery store. But what about more important decisions like taking a … Continue reading Taking the Red Pill: Into the Decision Matrix
On January 31st, Decision Fish led a lively session on how to Help Millennials Make Better Financial Decisions as part of Impact Hub NYC’s 100 Days of Impact program. 100 Days of Impact is a community program to find out what we can do as a community to address concerns and make an impact.
I’ve learned (and re-learned) a lot from tutoring middle-schoolers in math at Top Honors.1 For example, if a math problem is too hard to solve in your head, I counsel my student to draw a picture. That’s one of the best features of decision trees: it allows you to draw a roadmap for complicated, multi-stage … Continue reading The Roots of Decision Making: Decision Trees
Think back to the last time you had to make a hard, important decision. Were you picking an asset allocation for your 401k, selecting a health insurance plan or deciding whether it was time to refinance your mortgage? What kind of help did you seek and what kind of help was available? Were you confident … Continue reading How to Decide…How to Help People Decide
Open enrollment for health insurance began November 16 and the decision isn’t any easier than last year. On the contrary, not only are premiums higher and benefits lower, there’s greater uncertainty about the future of the Obama health care act. On a cold, cloudy Sunday afternoon, I analyzed my health insurance choices. Our choices and … Continue reading Health Insurance Enrollment: A Superhuman Decision
I recently attended the Behavioral Finance Symposium at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. The speakers were academics and practitioners speaking on the behavioral challenges to good investment and trading decisions. The crowd seemed to be mostly left-coast traders, investment managers and consultants. Many of the talks were thought provoking and left me with a … Continue reading The Behavioral Finance Symposium: Simple Fixes & Deep Challenges
I wish I had picked a different airline or maybe shelled out more money for a better seat. (I’m writing this squeezed into a coach seat near the lavatory on a six-hour flight to attend the Behavioral Finance Symposium in San Francisco.) I wish I had known six months ago that people were much more … Continue reading Six Ways to Avoid Regret
I just attended the best conference ever. And I’ve been to a lot of them. The ideas42 Behavioral Summit 2016 was billed as offering “…an inside look at the latest developments from the field of behavioral science and how these insights drive innovation in the private sector.” Indeed it went beyond that, touching on politics, … Continue reading Good Behavior? What I Learned at the Behavioral Summit (and How it Freaked Me Out a Little)
Let’s do something completely different this week. How about a photo-essay? When I began my study of decision-making, I assumed that the coldly rational, quantitatively financial-economic approach was the best. How else can you avoid making the systematic errors that our cognitive biases can cause? I’ve since learned that emotion, intuition, empathy and even unconscious … Continue reading Selling my Darlings