In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

15 biases that make you do dumb things with your money

By Morgan Housel

JewishWorldReview.com | You are your own worst enemy.

Those are the six most important words in investing. Shady financial advisors and incompetent CEOs don't harm your returns a fraction of the amount your own behavior does.

Here are 15 cognitive biases that cause people to do dumb things with their money.

1. Normalcy Bias

Assuming that because something has never happened before, it won't (or can't) happen in the future. Everything that has ever happened in history was "unprecedented" at one time. The Great Depression. The crash of 1987. Enron. Wall Street bailouts. All of these events had never happened ... until they did. When Warren Buffett announced he was looking for candidates to replace him at Berkshire Hathaway, he said he needed "someone genetically programmed to recognize and avoid serious risks, including those never before encountered." Someone who understands normalcy bias, in other words.

2. Dunning-Kruger Effect

Being so bad at a task that you lack the capacity to realize how bad you are. Markus Glaser and Martin Weber of the University of Mannheim showed that investors who earn the lowest returns are the worst at judging their own returns. They had literally no idea how bad they were. "The correlation between self-ratings and actual performance is not distinguishable from zero," they wrote.

3. Attentional Bias

Falsely thinking two events are correlated when they are random, but you just happen to be paying more attention to them. After stocks plunged 4 percent in November 1991, Investor's Business Daily blamed a failed biotech bill in the House of Representatives, while The Financial Times blamed geopolitical tension in Russia. The "cause" of the crash was whatever the editor happened to be paying attention to that day.

4. Bandwagon Effect

Believing something is true only because other people think it is. Whether politicians or stocks, people like being associated with things that are winning, so winners build momentum not because they deserve it, but because they're winning. This is the foundation of all asset bubbles.

5. Impact Bias

Overestimating how big an impact an event will have on your emotions. Most people are utterly terrible at predicting how happy they'll be after receiving a raise or getting a new job, particularly as time goes on. We get used to more (or less) money quickly, but it's extremely difficult to realize that before it happens. Your financial goals might change after coming to terms with this.

6. Frequency Illusion

Once you notice an event, it seems to keep happening over and over. But it's often not; you're just paying more attention to something you were once oblivious to. The 2008-09 market crash was such a memorable event that I think investors and the media became infatuated with today's "volatile market." But the last three years have actually had below-average market volatility. We're just more attuned to normal market swings than usual.

7. Clustering Illusion

Thinking you've found a pattern by taking a small sample out of a much larger one. For example, we know the daily movements of stocks over time are random and unpredictable, but you could take a four-day period where a stock went up, up, down, down and think you've found a trend. Day traders are attracted to clustering like bugs to bright lights.

8. Status Quo Bias

Irrationally wanting things to stay the same. People do this in part because they want to avoid costs even when they're offset by a larger gain -- a process psychologists call "loss aversion." You stick with the same bank even though it charges higher fees than another. You hold onto a stock you inherited even when you know little about it. You don't make changes to your portfolio even when it's not designed for your goals. You just want things to stay the same -- a dangerous mindset in a world that's always changing.

9. Belief Bias

Accepting or rejecting an argument based on how well it fits your predefined beliefs, rather than the objective facts of the situation. Pointing out that inflation has been low for the last five years is still met with suspicion by those who believe the Federal Reserve's actions must be causing hyperinflation.

10. Curse of Knowledge

When educated people can't comprehend that lesser-educated people think and act differently from them. Financial advisors and journalists fall for this all the time, spouting off lingo and catchphrases without realizing their customers have no idea what they're talking about (and are too afraid to ask for clarification). This also explains why there's a wide gap between academic theory and reality. Economists who understand finance wrongly assume the layperson will act in his best interest. Wall Street banks rightly assume he won't.

11. Gambler's Fallacy

The belief that future events will be shaped by past events, even when the two have no correlation. A gambler will assume a coin is due to come up heads after flipping a string of tails, but the outcome of the next flip is completely independent of the last one -- the odds are still 50/50, regardless of prior flips. Investors fall for a version of gambler's fallacy when assuming things like economic data, quarterly earnings and politics will dictate the direction of the market, when in reality the two often move independently of each other. Randomness is hard to accept.

12. Extreme Discounting

Preferring a small but immediate payoff instead of a larger payoff down the road. Some discounting is rational, but investors consistently take it to the extreme. People who have decades ahead of them to invest trade in and out of the market to avoid small, short-term losses, almost always at the expense of long-term returns.


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13. Ludic Fallacy

Coined by Nassim Taleb in "The Black Swan," the naive belief that the real world can be predicted with mathematical models and forecasts. It leads people astray, because models are purposely simplified while the real world is incomprehensibly complex. As author Dan Gardner says, "No one can foresee the consequences of trivia and accident, and for that reason alone, the future will forever be filled with surprises." Ninety percent of stock analysts and economists would disappear if we'd all just accept the ludic fallacy.

14. Restraint Bias

Overestimating your ability to control impulses. Studies show smokers in the process of quitting overestimate their ability to say no to a cigarette when tempted. Investors do the same when thinking about the temptation to do something stupid during market bubbles and busts. Most investors I know consider themselves contrarians who want to buy when there's blood in the streets. But when the blood arrives, they panic just like everyone else.

15. Bias Bias

The most important and powerful bias of them all, "bias bias" is the belief that you are less biased than you really are. If you read this article without realizing I'm talking about you, you're suffering from bias bias.

Everyone is prone to cognitive errors. Some more than others, but no one is exempt. Coming to terms with the idea that you are your own worst enemy is the single most important thing you can do to become a better investor.

Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize for his work studying cognitive psychology, once said, "I never felt I was studying the stupidity of mankind in the third person. I always felt I was studying my own mistakes." When you realize you are as biased as everyone else, you've won the game.

(Morgan Housel owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway.)

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Morgan Housel, a columnist at The Motley Fool, is a two-time winner, Best in Business award, Society of American Business Editors and Writers and Best in Business 2012, Columbia Journalism Review.


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