Customer Reviews for

Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons From the New Science of Behavioral Economics

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Watch Out for Rules of Thumb That Raid Your Wallet!

    This book is one of the 10 best investing books of 1999 and 2000. People don't act like computers when making economic decisions. Our minds act much more like broken-down wheels stuck in muddy ruts, instead. This book is full of examples that show why people make miseconomic decisions. The basic point is that we have rules of thumb learned in daily life that we apply to economic decisions, whether these are good rules or not, and the results are costly to us. This book reminds me of Robert Cialdini's excellent book, Influence, that explains the psychological biases that harm us as consumers and how to protect ourselves against unethical sellers. If you read and apply both books, you will have much more prosperity in your life. Here are some examples: We are all more careful about saving money in some areas than in others. For instance, I'll go to great lengths to save money on air travel, but frequently buy expensive wines in restaurants (not a great value). I could drink better wines at home for less money. Now, how dumb is that? Most of us are more concerned about avoiding losses than in making gains. This often translates into holding stocks with losses, rather than selling them, even if there is not much chance of a rebound. I know I'm guilty of this. Another example is assuming that we have knowledge that we really don't have. Someone who is good in math may not take the time to mathematically evaluate the choices. For instance, a 15 year mortage on your home is only a little more costly per month than a 30 year mortgage. The different in the cost of the total interest you pay is enormous, yet almost everyone gets a 30 year mortgage. Almost everyone has the skill to compare the two choices, but few take the time to do so. This kind of stalled thinking can be irresistible, and your wallet will inevitably be lighter as a result. When you discover that you have a weakness in one of these areas, you can then be more cautious in avoiding your biases in the future. This book is very helpful in this regard because each chapter explore one bias and begins with a question to test your instincts. In answering that question, you will probably find (if you are like me) that you make the wrong choice. This book will return its cost in time and money hundreds of times over the rest of your life. Be sure to read and apply it! I also suggest that you examine where you have rules of thumb in noneconomic areas. When you are busy and someone in the family wnats your attention, what do you do? Your choices may be costing you closer relationships and effectiveness. Take the time to make good decisions and at least adopt better rules of thumb! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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    Posted December 10, 2008

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