The Roots of Decision Making: Decision Trees

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

Health Insurance Enrollment: A Superhuman Decision

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

Can One Become Great at Decision-Making?

Our decisions, and the actions they lead to, make us who we are. In that sense, decisions are fundamental to our identities, our humanity and even the future of our planet. But what is a good decision and how do we get great at making them? I want to share with you my answers to … Continue reading Can One Become Great at Decision-Making?

Catch of the Day!

Try Decision Fish’s First Release We are proud to share our first (not even beta yet) release of our mobile website to a select group of valued supporters—like you. Please: Use this link to try our first web-app, created to help you decide how much you can afford to spend on a new home. Go ahead … Continue reading Catch of the Day!

My Most Embarrassing Financial Failures

So this is embarrassing: I’ve been advising institutions and individuals about financial decisions for nearly three decades and yet I’ve failed many times to make good choices myself. I want to share a list of my failures with you both so you can avoid them and as a commitment device, so I don’t keep failing … Continue reading My Most Embarrassing Financial Failures

How a Finance Guy Looks at Exercising, Inoculations and Fruit for Dessert

When I exercise, get a check-up, get my flu shot or skip dessert (too rarely), I do it because I’m supposed to. I have a vague impression that the cost, pain or other inconvenience I experience today should be more than offset by savings or other benefits in the future. One thing I’ve never done, which … Continue reading How a Finance Guy Looks at Exercising, Inoculations and Fruit for Dessert

Framing 1, Facts 0?

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?

Hide Your Clothes: How to Coerce Your Future Self

Yesterday, I was 15 minutes late for an appointment, notwithstanding my New Year’s vow (repeated—and failed—annually) to be more prompt. Last week, I published on my blog and social media my intention to create a web site that will apply best practices in decision science to help people make better financial decisions. Just the thought … Continue reading Hide Your Clothes: How to Coerce Your Future Self

The Myth of Financial Literacy Education

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

Decisions into Old Age: The Forecast is Partly Cloudy

Here’s a question that just about everyone approaching (and passing) middle age will feel ambivalent about: how does getting older affect our ability to make rational decisions? On the one hand, it’s common knowledge that our cognitive abilities begin to decline in our fifties. On the other, as I’ve written before, the accumulation of experience … Continue reading Decisions into Old Age: The Forecast is Partly Cloudy