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  • Writer's pictureJeran Van Alfen, CFP®

Essentials: The Cost of Emotional Investment Decisions

You are not alone when you feel concerned about investment losses. That feeling is typically felt by most people and results show that the feeling can lead to some pretty costly investment mistakes.

Consider the image below. If you have money invested, then you have most likely felt at least some of these emotions at some point.

While it is normal to feel these emotions, the differentiator is how you act based on these emotions. The image below shows the cost of making emotional decisions with your investments.

It is almost impossible to time your investment decisions perfectly. The stats below show how often good performance happens when it makes the least sense:

Instead of getting caught up in emotional decisions, here are 3 investing fundamentals that will help you see the big picture:

1 – Don’t compare yourself to others. You have unique goals. Your needs are specific, and your investment profile is matched to what your objectives are. It doesn’t make sense to compare your results to others who may not have approached investing in the same way that you have.

2- Stick with the basics of asset allocation and dollar cost averaging. When you over-allocate to one asset class or move all of your money at one time, you are making an emotional bet. This is the equivalent of swinging for the fences. It could go really well for you or could result in heartbreak. Remain balanced and invest with purpose.

3- Widen your lens- When things are tough, it is really easy to get myopic. It is important to see the big picture. Often when investments lose money, they are correcting an overvaluation. This can be dramatic if your time horizon is short, but may dissipate over a longer period of time. It is important to match your investment selection with your time horizon to meet your objectives.

“It is important for investors to focus not on where returns have been, but instead where they could be going in the months and years ahead.” -Meera Pandit, Global Market Strategist, JP Morgan Asset Management [1]

Lastly, it helps to talk through your emotions or frustrations. Make sure you have a good adviser that you can talk to when times are tough. These are the times when sound investment advice and a good relationship can be the most important.

Centered Financial, LLC is a registered investment adviser offering advisory services in the State of California, Utah, Texas and in other jurisdictions where exempted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the techniques, strategies, or investments discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. To determine which strategies or investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial adviser prior to investing. Any discussion of strategies related to tax or legal planning is general and is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult appropriate tax and legal professionals for recommendations pertaining to your specific situation.


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