Author: Taking Care Of My Own Business

Neglect of prior base rates effect

This is the tendency to fail to incorporate prior known probabilities which are pertinent to the decision at hand. Caution: Don’t read on if you are 40 years of age and above! Here’s an interesting question for the rest of you: Why aren’t more young people investing in the stock market? Could it be that you/they are neglecting prior base rates and focusing too much on recent media hyped news about stock market corrections, which are actually insignificant in the long run? And by that ignoring the long term upwards trajectory of all stock markets? Have a look at these statistics: Whoever held shares for a minimum of...

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My Dopamine determines risks of mine

Have you ever wondered why you can become revved up and an exuberant risk taker, when flying high, or hesitant and risk-adverse, when cowering from your losses in the stock market? We have the impression that it is our deliberative mind that makes the most important decisions in our life: where we work, where we live, whom we marry. But contrary to this, biological evidence points toward a decision process in our brain system—the basal ganglia—brain circuits that consciousness cannot access. For a better understanding of this, let’s dive deep into the biology of risky behavior (money, food, and sex). Dopamine the pleasure molecule Buried deep in our mid-brain...

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Why do I blog so much about the brain, biases and thinking errors in context with money and investing?

I am very glad that more and more of you are stopping by the Tacomob-website and I feel specially encouraged by all your positive E-mails. One of the more frequent questions asked has formed the header to this post and there are dozens of answers to it. Here are a few: Because you who reads my blog already know that investing for the long-term is the best thing that you can do with your money. Because there are so many experts out there to explain the technicalities of investing.  And they are much better at it than I ever could be. Because being a genius on paper (after listening...

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ad verecundiam

Have you noticed that we are social creatures who devote a lot of our time to thinking about social ranking? And that a by-product of this obsession is a tendency to blindly trust the claims and ideas of people who rank above us? Perceptions of authority and superiority impress us, they also influence us—whether they are valid or not. Do people in authority in one field, however, have an innate authority to talk about everything they feel like taking about? On top of that, we don’t even require authority to influence us, because as social creatures, we have the tendency to conform with...

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NOW

I realise now that NOW is the only time that exists, although that truth about time took me a while to comprehend. Our life, you see, is about a series of moments in time, but we often live these moments hoping to improve a future moment—to have a better job, to make more money, to be important, to be happy- instead of just enjoying them. I had that plan. But the fact is that this moment—right NOW—is where we create what we call our “future”. All our hopes for the future, and even our memories of the past, can happen only in the present moment.  The NOW is that one point...

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Do you want to predict the future?

I beg your pardon? Did you just answer with a Yes? That is great, because that proves that you are human and/or a human being. Did you know that the human being is the only animal that thinks about the future? We—human beings—think about the future in a way that no other animal can, does, or even has, and this simple ordinary act is a defining feature of our humanity. Our human brain is an “anticipation machine” and “making the future” is the most important thing that it does—our brain was made for “nexting” and that’s what it would do. About 12% of our daily thoughts are about the...

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Extreme Discounting

When we are presented with distant commitments, we tend to stumble on the difficulty that our brain has in placing us in the future with any degree of accuracy. Why is that? Because our brain evolved to make determinations about our existing environments and to predict immediate threats and rewards, it’s a stretch to gain perspective even a few weeks into the future. Our brain is always happy to capitalize on an immediate reward. When combined with the challenge to gain future perspective, this desire for immediate rewards nevertheless sets us up for a range of problems. Economists call this tendency Extreme or Hyperbolic...

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Book: ‘Mind Power’ by James Borg – Key Statements

Chapter 1: You are What You Think “You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you.” — Blaise Pascal We can’t change other people and our particular life situation.  At least we can do things within our control.  We can use mind power—we can change the way we think, which in turn changes the way we feel about a situation. Thinking is not something that happens to you.  It’s something that you do about 60,000 to 80,000 times a day. Your brain is like a...

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This-time-is-different-bias or why we don’t learn from our mistakes

Did you know that it is the default settings of our brain that often drive us—despite past experiences—to do things that make no logical sense, though they make perfect emotional sense? That, however, does not make us completely irrational; it makes us human. As consumers, for example, we routinely escalate our purchases, hoping that new stuff would make us happier because “This time it would be different.”  But sadly the feeling is—the same as before—only temporary. Still, we expect the next car, the next house, or the next promotion to make us happy—even though the last ones didn’t, and even though others keep telling us that...

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Finally an investment idea

Some of you have contacted me (although commenting on my blog posts would be an alternative way, besides e-mail, to communicate with me) and shared your disappointment that I have yet to share an investment tip on Tacomob. There is reason for that and I have shared it here. I hear you (despite my hearing deteriorating—at least that’s what my wife claims) and as I am here to please—you my loyal readers—here is an investment idea that I would like to share. Don’t be disappointed (again) though, because it’s a very long-term investment and isn’t something for those of you who shun a bit...

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Unpredictability Ignorance

It’s not so easy to be active in the stock market. Because when people I meet learn that I make my money predominantly from the abundant stock market, they—more often than not—flood me with questions on my prediction of the future trends and also, to share one ‘hot tip’. I have to say that the latter—the sharing of the one ‘hot tip’—is easier to comply: I simply don’t give out tips! Not because I am egoistic, or that I am reluctant to share my knowledge, in truth, it’s because of these practical reasons: 1) I neither know their risk tolerance, nor their investment horizon, nor their emotional state, nor their fundamental financial situation, nor… ...

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Employ your brain to save money, or 10.5 safe ways to safely save you money

1) Next Tuesday: Before a purchase, take the time to consider what you’ll be doing, from morning to night, this coming Tuesday.  How will this purchase affect you on Tuesday? This simple exercise—thinking about time used on a specific day (you can choose your favourite weekday)—helps us make less biased predictions about how much any one thing will influence our happiness. If those thoughts about next Tuesday don’t make you happy, don’t buy what you impulsively so much desired. 2) The Spillover Effect: Avoid special offers.  Chain stores love to make you feel like you are getting a great deal...

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Wanna be a trillionaire?

Sounds great, doesn’t it? And you would be the first on this planet, provided that you measure your wealth in the current USD, since I am quite certain that there would already be existent trillionaires when measured in Vietnamese Dong or Indonesian Rupiah. Trillions are flung around in the news nowadays to keep us informed or to scare us off.  Are they successful in that?  I sincerely doubt it.  Abstract numbers, like trillions, really just roll off the tongue with no true meaning in everyday terms. How much is a trillion, anyway? 10 to the power of 12 or quite a lot.  And how many seconds are there in a lifetime?...

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Others are just like me

We have the tendency to overestimate the degree to which others agree with us; therein making this—tendency—just another of those predictable patterns of thought and behavior that lead us to draw incorrect conclusions. Psychologists call this the False Consensus Bias. Let me ask you: “Is agreeing with the masses the best course of action when it comes to investing in the stock markets?” As Carl Jung said, “Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics.” Hence, expert investors would answer that question with a ‘No’ and claim that they stray from the herd. That, however, is easier said than done. That said, think carefully for a moment about your sources of...

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Book: ‘Antifragile’ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Key Statements

Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them.  Some things are fragile—they don’t like chaos, while others are robust—they don’t care if things are crazy. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.  Antifragile things get better and stronger when the world is falling apart.  Everything that has more upside than downside from random events (or certain shocks) is antifragile; the reverse is fragile. If antifragility is the property of all those natural (and complex) systems that have survived till now, depriving these systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors...

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