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 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)
When we make decisions, we often take the way they are presented to us at face value. Maybe a sales person offers you a menu of investment options or maybe a single recommendation; either way, you can bet a lot of thought went into the architecture of the choice presented to you. Amos Tversky and Daniel … Continue reading Framing 1, Facts 0?
The quantity, complexity and importance of the financial decisions we have to make keeps increasing. For example, as traditional defined-benefit pension plans going extinct, people increasingly have to manage their own retirement plans. There are more investment choices than ever: structured CDs, marketplace lending, crowdfunded start-ups not to mention thousands of ETFs and mutual funds. … Continue reading The Myth of Financial Literacy Education
I took my annual look at my investments this week, and boy did I get it wrong. A few years ago, I determined I should have about 70% of my investments in equities. Instead, as of yesterday, I had less than 60%. Most of the excess was in cash, earning essentially nothing and missing out on … Continue reading How to ‘Architect’ Your Investment Behavior
Rationality is supposed to be integral to our humanity. Indeed, the “sapiens” in homo sapiens is from the new Latin sapere, meaning know, learn and know how. As a matter of fact, our subspecies is actually homo sapiens sapiens. Does this mean we have twice the intellectual capacity of our extinct ancestors from the Pleistocene? … Continue reading Rationality: Our Humanity, Our Planet
Can we design decision tools to offset or even leverage the hurdles that our brains put in front the most important decisions that we face? Take planning and saving for a comfortable retirement. How much and in what one invests are two of the most important decisions any adult needs to make and take responsibility for. “Do your … Continue reading Can Robots Save Us?
A bias is an unconscious, natural and immediate prejudice or tendency to a particular action. Bias-driven decisions may or may not be consistent with that which may result from a more deliberative or thoughtful process. Biases can be harmful: think of prejudices in employment, housing and education. They can be helpful as when we slam on … Continue reading Bias Among Us: How to Influence Others & Ourselves
HBR’s recent article, Leaders as Decision Architects, is a detailed investigation of how business managers can improve employee choices by adjusting the framework, context and process in which those decisions are made. The authors draw from two of my favorite books in behavioral economics, “Thinking Fast and Slow” and “Nudge”. There’s no doubt that in the right … Continue reading Choice Architecture: Don’t be Evil