The Behaviour Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money by Carl Richards
If cold logic guided financial decisions, financial responsibly and profitable portfolios might be the norm. The emotional side of our personality can often push us to act unwisely or irresponsibly leading to greater debt and poor financial returns.
Carl Richards discusses the ways our behavior negatively affects our decisions even when we know we are acting irrationally. The 24-hour financial news channels, often staffed with animated financial pundits screaming orders to buy and sell, the flood of financial magazines with suggestions for the top stocks to purchase or dump, and the large investment book section of the average bookstore can overwhelm the everyday investor and provide guidance that seems reasonable but should be ignored. In fact, the author provides insight on how to use this information, even suggesting good reasons why we might ignore it.
Addressing our personal reactions, the author identifies triggers that can engage our emotional fight-or-flight response and suggests tactics for keeping the emotional response in check. Richards also advises how to react during emotional financial waves that sweep up the media, friends, and our co-workers. Much of his guidance runs counter to the financial industry that makes its money on financial advice (not acting on that advice – an important distinction) yet when you meditate on it, it makes perfect sense.
Richards acknowledges that some will be dissatisfied that the book does not provide a concrete blueprint for how to map ones finances and if that is what you are looking for, this book is for you. However; before getting a “blueprint” book you should read The Behavior Gap to help you wisely use any planning tools.
This book reflects my philosophy that outsmarting the market is a fool’s errand and there is no “magic stock” that hours of research will unveil to make the average investor rich. Instead of throwing up our hands and being a victim of the market, we can exercise wise judgment, act on what we can control, and behave logically (and often contrarian) to achieve sensible financial success and satisfactory financial returns.
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