Heartland Trust Company Brings Responsible Investing to Our Clients
This is a topic that has been flying under the radar for a bit too long. What does “responsible investing” mean and why would someone allocate their assets towards it?
In industry talk, we refer to this as environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. Responsible portfolios are centered on these three criteria. Until recently, the problem with many of the funds in this space was that one fund’s ESG criteria could differ from another’s. It was awfully hard to distinguish if funds were simply using it as a marketing moniker or if they actually meant what they said.
We didn’t want to put our client’s hard-earned assets into funds that didn’t represent their values. Finally, a coherent set of principles started to gain traction a few years ago.
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:
Don’t Let Emotions Swing with the Markets
It’s no secret that investing is an emotional process. Markets swing and news organizations take full advantage to pump their ratings and incite fear, oftentimes without fully understanding the economy or how markets work.
Even veteran investors can act impulsively and lose perspective when markets correct or become volatile.
All of this said, volatility is normal.
That’s why it’s essential for all of us to consider the big picture during periods of market stress. If you’re contemplating a change to your portfolio, there are two important questions you should ask: 1) have my goals changed, and 2) has my time horizon changed?