4 Ways to Avoid Common Investor Biases
It may stun some folks, but successful investing often relies more on managing emotions than on managing the market. I’m emphasizing this even after analyzing fund and macroeconomic data for the last three hours. Our biases and emotions play a strong role in our investment decision-making, often to our detriment.
Let’s start with recency bias, also known as, “markets are falling and they will continue to fall because they just fell.” It also happens to be my girlfriend’s bias toward my cooking. Just because I burned spaghetti 10 times in the past doesn’t mean I will burn spaghetti 10 times in the future. (Okay, I might.) However, it does apply to investing and the markets. This is also called zoom theory. It’s the tendency to overweigh recent experiences when forming a view of the future. It’s why folks think they can tolerate risk when returns are strong, only to sell when asset prices fall. They zoom in. Let’s zoom in on the most recent sell off for an example:
Meet Kayla Kranda
Kayla Kranda is an Operations Associate at HTC. She oversees our trust accounting software and makes sure everything balances. Kayla enjoys spending time with her family and friends and is an avid football fan.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Tappen, North Dakota, and graduated from Minot State University with a bachelor of science degree in finance. I have been in the financial services and banking industry for over 15 years. Currently, I live in West Fargo with my husband, Kyle, son Karson (2 1/2), and daughter Kora, who was born at the end of January.
Patience Is a Virtue
Everyone has heard the saying “good things come to those who wait” or maybe you’ve heard of the marshmallow test given to children. Likewise, delayed gratification is a major part of investing. Chasing an asset class that just had a winning period or selling one that experienced a losing streak can wreak havoc on a portfolio.
The current volatility in the stock markets reminds me the value of having a game plan and sticking to it. No asset will go up forever; almost everything is cyclical. If you are patient and stick it out, however, odds are the outcome will be positive. If you go back 10 years ago, the unpredictable asset class was housing and, eventually, the entire stock market. About 20 years ago it was the technology sector. At those points in time, if you got out at the bottom and didn’t get back in in a timely fashion, you may still be feeling the effects.
Updating Our Software to Serve You Better
Technology is always changing. To keep clients and employees satisfied, businesses need to strike a balance between staying up-to-date without constantly changing the way business is done. At Heartland Trust Company, we are always looking for ways to improve our technological footprint while keeping your information secure.
In 2018, we transitioned to new trust accounting software. Our entire team took on hours of extra training to learn the new software before the conversion. So far, the transition has been very successful. Our clients have access to a secure, user-friendly, and robust program with many new and exciting features. Our staff has new tools to streamline processes and serve you better.
Tips for Protecting Your Identity
Data breaches seem to be inevitable these days. When they happen, your personal and financial information can be compromised leaving you feeling vulnerable. While you can’t control the manner in which your personal data is safeguarded by others, you can make it more difficult for criminals to use your personal information to cause you harm.
Most companies must first view your credit report prior to extending credit. With that in mind, freezing your credit may be one of the easiest ways to protect yourself against identity theft. By putting a freeze on your credit, you restrict access to your personal information thereby preventing thieves from opening new accounts in your name.
Famous People Who Failed to Plan Properly
It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of taking the time to plan your estate. However, a 2017 survey from Caring.com estimates only 42 percent of American adults have a will or estate plan. Over 80 percent of those 72 and older have made these preparations, but that number drops significantly with younger demographics.
You might think that those who are rich and famous would be way ahead of the curve when it comes to planning their estates properly, considering the resources and lawyers presumably available to them. Yet there are plenty of celebrities and people of note who died with inadequate (or nonexistent) estate plans.
COLA Limits for 2019
The Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration have announced the cost of living adjustments (COLA) applicable to dollar limitations for retirement accounts and the Social Security wage base for 2019. Many of the limits have changed for the 2019 plan year. Changes for 2019 are in bold in the chart below.
IRA and SIMPLE plan limits are both up $500. The annual IRA limit is now $6,000 (catch-up remains the same at $1,000 for those 50 and older) and the SIMPLE limit is $13,000 (catch-up remains at $3,000).
What’s Your Risk Tolerance?
Investing always involves a degree of risk. If you plan to buy securities such as stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, or bonds, it is important to realize you could lose some or all of the money you invest. Finding an investment profile that fits your risk tolerance while still allowing you to reach your goals can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. The first step is finding out what type of investor you are.
Meet Bre Smith
Bre Smith is an administrative associate who supports the trust administration side of HTC. She is the most recent addition to HTC, and we are excited to have her on the team.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Vermillion, South Dakota, and attended college at St. Cloud State University and South Dakota State University. My husband and our two girls just moved to Fargo from Pierre, South Dakota, this spring. Prior to joining HTC, I worked in the trust department of a bank for four years.