These include: Attention Bias: There is evidence suggesting that people will invest in companies that are in the headlines, even if lesser known companies offer the promise of better returns. Who among us hasn’t invested in Apple or Amazon, simply because we know all about them? National Bias: An American is going to invest in American companies, even if stocks overseas offer better returns. Underdiversification: There is a tendency for investors to feel more comfortable holding a relatively small number of stocks in their portfolio, even if wider diversification would make them more money.
If you’ve ever bought or sold stocks, there’s a chance you may have done so based on feelings and emotions rather than cold, hard evidence. You may want to believe you trade based on objective information, keeping an eye focused intently on your investment goals. But you’re human. You buy a stock because you saw a pundit talk about it on television. You sell a stock because it’s lost some value and you’re freaked out. You’ve probably bought or sold stocks simply because it feels good to make a transaction.
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Best for Debt Payoff: You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget. Courtesy of You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget is a personal finance app that’s built around YNAB’s Four Rules. The rules – Give every dollar a job, Embrace your true expenses, Roll with the punches and Age your money – not only help you build a better budget but also help you gain control of your spending. Import transactions from your checking account and apply them to each budget category to get an accurate picture of your spending. Keep a balanced budget by adjusting budget categories if you accidentally overspend (or if you underbudgeted for a certain category). Detailed reports show you how your spending is progressing throughout the month and help you spot places that you can improve your spending. According to YNAB, the average new user saves $600 in the first to months and more than $6,000 in the first year. You can try the app for free for the first 34 days.
The Millionaire Next Door. In this newly updated book, authors Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. attempt to debunk the myth that most American millionaires have inherited their wealth. They even go as far as to identify seven common traits that are shared among many of those who have accumulated significant wealth. By demonstrating how hard work and smart investing have made millionaires out of average Americans, this book shows us that we too can be among the ranks of the wealthy. The book makes for a very interesting and motivating read.
Consider a Robo-Advisor, One of the latest trends in investing is the use of robo-advisors, in which a company manages your investments with very little human intervention. Money is instead managed through mathematical instructions and algorithms. Some major discount brokerages including Vanguard, E-Trade and Charles Schwab have robo-advisors services, and there are a number of newer companies including Betterment and Personal Capital. The jury is still out on whether robo-advisors offer above-average returns. But in theory, using a robo-advisor will enhance your chances of making optimal and rational investing decisions. Moreover, as more investors turn to this automated approach, we may see the conventional finance models become more accurate as human behavior plays less of a role in how markets perform.