Ariely Redux: Dollars and Sense Explains How We Make Money Mistakes

Dollars and Sense is an enjoyable, non-technical overview of some of the ways we make bad money decisions and a few ways we can get better.  The primary author, Dan Ariely, is a well-known behavioral economist who has written extensively about how predictably irrational we can be. The other author is a comedian  (with a middle-aged white-guy sensibility), which … Continue reading Ariely Redux: Dollars and Sense Explains How We Make Money Mistakes

My Super-Simple Retirement Investment Strategy

A 29-year old friend of mine asked me recently, “How do I get started investing for retirement?”* Since I prefer education and coaching to “advice”, here’s what I told him. For me, investments should be simple, cheap and take only smart risks. There are more than 9,000 mutual funds out there. How do I choose one? … Continue reading My Super-Simple Retirement Investment Strategy

The Behavioral Finance Symposium: Simple Fixes & Deep Challenges

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

Six Ways to Avoid Regret

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

Interview With a Skeptic

Decision Fish Interviews Kim Stephenson, an occupational psychologist. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the World Wide Web, is contained in the first two words. Decision Fish’s blog has readership worldwide, self-selected to be some of the most thoughtful and smartest people anywhere. Kim Stephenson, an occupational psychologist from the UK is one of those people. Here’s a … Continue reading Interview With a Skeptic

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

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