Are You Winging Your Financial Future? Ep #84

Ask yourself how you feel about your financial future? Do you feel it’s secure and well planned out or are you just winging it? Winging it is a great idea for a Sunday afternoon drive or deciding to what to eat for dinner, but winging your financial future can be a dangerous decision that puts your future stability at stake. Learn why people decide to just wing it and what you should be doing instead, on this episode of the Financial Symmetry show.

What are the numbers and why are people winging their financial future?

  • 75% of Americans are winging it when it comes to their financial future
  • Less than half of Americans cannot cover a $1000 emergency
  • Most people feel they make about $1200 worth of financial mistakes per year
  • 4 out of 10 Americans simply guess how much they will need to retire.

Why do people do this to themselves? Why do they choose to leave their financial future up to chance? I think there are 3 main reasons.

  1. They don’t want to pay for professional advice.
  2. They can’t afford professional advice (or think they can’t afford it).
  3. They think they can handle the work themselves

Are you letting overconfidence power your financial decision making?

Are you overconfident about your ability to handle your finances? 57% of adults feel more confident today than they felt 3 years ago about their finances. Do you feel a bit overconfident due to the recent success of the financial markets? Overconfidence is a villain when it comes to good decision making. Usually the more intelligent you are the more overconfident you are. Mark Twain had a powerful quote that sums up overconfidence well, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” A great way to ensure that you aren’t being too overconfident in your financial decisions is to hire a financial advisor. Having an objective 3rd party view of things can really help you keep things in perspective.

Is your confirmation bias affecting your financial future?

The internet is starting to play a major role in creating greater confirmation bias. People tend to follow their own views and they will seek out news that confirms what they already think about something. If someone has a negative worldview and they read an article about how the market will be crashing they will nod their heads and think, yes this is the truth. To combat confirmation bias think of the acronym WRAP from the book Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath.

  • Widen your options
  • Reality test your assumptions
  • Attain distance before deciding
  • Prepare to be wrong

Recency bias can affect your thinking about the future

People think they know more than they do about how the future will unfold. More often than not, the future will surprise us. Our conclusions about the future are often based on our emotions. They can also be affected by recency bias. Recency bias is a bias based on the fact that people tend to think that what happened to them recently will happen to them in the future. This can be seen frequently with finances for instance, if you have received a big bonus, or especially when it comes to stocks. Are you allowing recency bias to affect your financial future?

Outline of This Episode

  • [5:27] Overconfidence can spoil your financial decisions
  • [11:15] Are you allowing confirmation bias to affect your financial future?
  • [13:46] Recency bias affects many financial decisions

Resources & People Mentioned

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