The cognitive bias that describes our common tendency to place too much emphasis on one trait or piece of information when making a decision is called anchoring. This occurs during the normal decision making process when we rely too heavily on a specific piece of information which governs our thought process.
Once the anchor is stamped in our mind there is a bias set towards adjusting all information to reflect the anchored information. This cognitive bias is often developed at a young age when it is reinforced through our learning process.
Anchoring has a strong impact on our beliefs about money. The financial decision making process an individual moves through is reflective of their perception of money. For example, a person looks at investing in a company they may focus excessively on a certain element of fundamental analysis and use those criteria as a basis for evaluating the value of the investment, rather than considering all the proper elements of complete due diligence. The bias will cause the investor to view all future information in a manner that reinforces their decision.
These decision traps commonly lead to investors staying too long with an investment as well as developing a very large blind spot with regards to the initial investment decision.
Understanding the psychology of your decision making process will allow you to eliminate pre-conditioned bias’ which reduce your probability of making successful financial decisions. Awareness will also help you develop an objective decision making process.
Scam and fraud victims are manipulated through the knowledge and experience their perpetrators have in the field of psychology. In order to insulate and inoculate yourself fully you must understand the psychology behind your financial decision making process. You don’t stand a chance if you haven’t gained full awareness of your anchors. Believe me when I tell you that the professional scammers and fraudsters will find your anchors very quickly and devise a strategy to use to their best interests.
Your focus points for this concept are simple; return to your journal and review your last 5 investment decisions. Take the time to reflect on the answers to several questions:
1. What is the most important aspect of an investment for me?
2. What is my due diligence process?
3. What must an investment not have that makes me decide to say no?
4. What must an investment have for me to say yes?
5. Why do I want to invest?