Why is it so hard to fix our mistakes? Sometimes, decisions are not black and white – especially when it comes to our finances. We have many decisions to make when it comes to our financial future – but we get things wrong sometimes. The second part of our ‘biases’ mini-series explores our mistakes and why they can be hard to fix.
This is the first in a 4-part series about human biases.
Human beings are funny creatures who do some strange things, including making mistakes. But there is some consistency around the mistakes we make. We have several biases that are obvious when it comes to our decision-making. And we want to discuss these biases in relation to financial decisions.
We recently attended a 3-day business course about diversity and how it affects decision-making. But before we explain the relationship between those two, let’s look at a different relationship: that of a young Michael Hogue, back in 2011, when he was courting his now-wife Suzie.
What do we mean by that? We mean that people in general have difficulty saying “no” to events. And not only that, they feel compelled to give a reason when they do.
What is a financial planner? It’s the most common question I’m asked. If you ask Wikipedia, a financial planner is ‘a professional who prepares financial plans for people’, which is akin to saying a concreter is a ‘professional who prepares concrete for people’. Not particularly informative.
I heard a great quote recently: bad things come suddenly, good things take time. When I thought about it, I realised how much it applies to everything in life. In so many areas of our life, it’s hard to stay motivated to keep sticking to a plan because it can take so long to see the effects. We start a new exercise regime, and the first week is mostly just pain without feeling as though we’ve actually achieved anything. It’s only after we string a couple of months together that we finally see some results. Good things, by their nature, are rare and hard to achieve, and in most cases are only possible with the compounding effects of time.
Many people think of retirement planning in the same way as a preflight checklist. That is, as a rigid set of specific actions we take at certain points along a timeline. This is a great way to plan for how to get an aeroplane in the air, given that the rules of physics aren’t likely to change as we’re going down the runway.
Dallas Davison, Michael Hogue and Ali Hogue.