5 Investment Biases You May Not Know Are Hurting Your Financial Future


On the surface, investing appears to be all about facts and data: principles, interest rates, and so on. However, there is a human aspect to every single investment that should not be neglected, human biases. In fact, an entire branch of psychology known as behavioral finance is devoted to studying how investor actions impact market results. We are all vulnerable to biases and factors that affect our self-control, risk tolerance, and logical conduct. Below, we'll look at some of the most common investment biases and how they can be damaging your objectives, so you can overcome the bad habits and move past them for more financial success.


1. Recency Bias

The recency bias is a behavioral economics cognitive problem in which people wrongly think that recent incidents will happen again soon. This is an illogical inclination because it obscures the accurate or actual probabilities of events happening, causing individuals to make wrong judgments. Understanding recency bias is essential since recollection of recent market news or occurrences might encourage investors to feel irrational that a comparable event is more likely to happen again than its objective likelihood. For instance, after 2008 an investor may have believed that another big downturn was about to happen every time the markets were volatile, when in fact they were experiencing normal market gyrations.

The recency bias can be hard to overcome because it exploits human emotions such as fear and greed, which are significant forces. Furthermore, our minds are programmed to place the most emphasis on current issues that are fresh in our minds, whereas older events die away. The simplest method for investors to avoid recency bias is to develop an investment strategy and adhere to it, regardless of short-term market turmoil. Plan how and when you will refresh your portfolio and reassess your long-term investment balance ahead of time.


2. Loss Aversion Bias

Loss aversion is a behavioral finance characteristic in which investors are so afraid of losing money that they prioritize avoiding losses over earning money. The more losses one suffers, the more likely one will develop loss aversion. Some investors do not recognize a loss as such until it is completed. As a result, to escape the agony of a "genuine" loss, people will continue to hang onto an investment even as their losses grow. This is because they may avoid psychologically or emotionally confronting the truth of their loss as long as the deal is not yet completed. The loss doesn't really "matter" in their mind, if not conscious until the investment has ended. Of course, the unfortunate aspect of this is that investors frequently hang onto lost assets for much longer than required, resulting in far larger losses than necessary. In practice, this is what loss aversion looks like. So, how can you avoid the loss aversion bias? One practical technique to reduce your possible loss in every trade is to utilize hard stop-loss orders. This type of pre-commitment to continually minimize risk helps prevent the temptation to slip into a loss aversion trap.


3. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the urge to seek information that confirms our existing opinions while ignoring information that opposes these beliefs. Confirmation bias in investing can cause people to adhere to previous assumptions about their investments while dismissing evidence that contradicts these views. For example, a customer whose assets are focused on a certain industry or group of companies may only absorb positive news about these investments and overlook negative news. Investors may over invest in a certain stock or industry due to confirmation bias. For example, a customer dedicated to holding shares in a specific firm may choose to overlook adverse news about that business. Confirmation bias can be addressed by understanding that a market is made up of both buyers and sellers that have competing and contradictory views about the prospects of the investment. Even an investment with a seemingly bright future could have negative attributes such as valuation. Over confidence can work against your financial plans.


4. Familiarity Bias

The inclination to persist with what is familiar is known as familiarity bias. It can result in our personal experiences and loyalties playing a disproportionate impact on our judgments. In investing, familiarity bias is frequently manifested by an investor's preference for domestic companies or concentrated exposure to the stock of their workplace. Familiarity bias can cause individuals' assets to be concentrated too intensely in one place, negating the well-established benefits of diversification and increasing risk. When clients exhibit a familiarity bias, advisers can clarify the reason for diversity and how it might assist them in achieving their long-term goals. It is essential to use clear, long term data to combat the tendency to focus on the familiar.


5. Anchoring Bias

Anchoring bias occurs when our judgments are impacted instinctively by another piece of information. In the case of investing, one result of anchoring is that traders and investors with an anchoring bias tend to maintain investments that have depreciated because they have anchored their fair value estimate to the initial price rather than to facts. As a result, investors take on more risk by retaining the investment, believing that it would return to its original purchase price. Investors are frequently aware that their anchor is flawed and strive to make modifications in response to new information and research. However, these corrections frequently result in results that mirror the bias of the original anchors.


Schedule A Consultation with an Experienced Financial Advisor

Here at Fourth Avenue Financial, our first priority is your overall financial success. We want to help you develop, implement, and monitor a strategy designed to address your individual situation to ensure all your investments are setting you up for a path of financial success. If you are ready to start planning for your financial future, we are here to help. Contact us today at (304) 746 7977 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced financial advisors or schedule online: https://calendly.com/fourthavenuefinancial/introductory-zoom.


Securities are offered through J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (JWC) Member FINRA / SIPC. Advisory Services are offered through J.W. Cole Advisors, Inc. (JWCA). Fourth Avenue Financial and JWC/ JWCA are unaffiliated entities.

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