Weekend Reading

Are you misbehaving with your money?

If you are of the opinion that you are behaving cordially and appropriately with your money, you are probably wrong. Given the way our brains are wired, it is impossible to not let our emotions overpower logical reasons. In the academic arena this is known as behavioural economics or behavioural finance. We can look at some routine day to day examples to prove this fallacy.

1. Neha had parked 5 lakhs Rs. in a fixed deposit at 8℅ p.a. and she is also serving a 3 year personal loan of Rs. 4 lakhs at 15℅ p.a.
Now logically it makes so much sense to close the personal loan as Neha has adequate surplus available with her. But by behaving irrationally she stands to lose. Having her money parked in fixed deposit gives Neha tremendous sense of comfort.
Wrong comfort zone, wrong investment decision.

2. Mr. Aggarwal is a so called intelligent investor. He follows Warren Buffett’s maxim, “Buy low and sell high.” He always buys stocks which have hit their 52 week lows and sells the ones that have hit 52 week highs.
However, Mr. Aggarwal has not made money. What is an issue? Choice of an arbitrary reference point. The company which has hit 52 week low may be in the downtrend due to some big problem and may go down further. Likewise, 52 week high does not stop the stock to go up as the company may have produced outstanding results and holds terrific potential due to some discovery.
Wrong reference point, wrong investment decision.

3. Wasim started Investing in ABC mutual fund via SIP 10 years ago. The fund performs exceptionally well and gives Wasim 20℅ compounded returns over 10 years. Wasim is happy as he is able to meet his goal of making down-payment for buying a house and is also able to prepay his car loan.
However, Wasim gets disappointed when he comes to know that his friend William has got 23℅ return during the same period.
Well, fund manager does not ideally aim to generate best returns but the returns should ideally be enough to meet investor’s goals. But Wasim started comparing his returns with William’s fund. However, what was the risk taken by William’s fund manager to generate extra 3℅ returns???
Wrong comparison, wrong investment decision.

4. If you analyse the stock portfolio of a large number of investors, you will notice the following.
a. There are few multibaggers.
b. There are quite a few failed stocks.
This happens because people hate losing money. They are affected by loss aversion. Similarly when the stock appreciates they are eager to book profits. Selling early denies investors huge amount of potential profits. Peter Lynch rightly said, “If you cannot imagine to see your investments going down 50℅ you should not be in the market. You are not yet ready.”
Wrong timing, wrong investment decision.

These stories amply prove that humans are emotional fools. Remember how companies shape our behaviour to make more profits.

#learningneverstops

Kaustubh Deole

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