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December 2, 2014

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

5 examples of people being completely irrational with money

By Morgan Housel






JewishWorldReview.com | Quick question.

A baseball and a bat cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

Quick!

Answer!

You probably said 10 cents. And you're wrong. The correct answer is 5 cents.

Don't feel bad if you got this wrong. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman says more than 50 percent of students at Harvard and MIT can't answer the bat-and-ball question correctly. I've heard it a dozen times and know the right answer, but I'm still tempted to blurt out "10 cents!" It just feels right. And what feels right is more common than what is right.

Math is hard. Money is emotional. Put the two together and you get some crazy results. In economic textbooks, consumers are portrayed as rational decision makers who calmly calculate optimal outcomes. In real life, they more often resemble a couple of drunks wandering around a bar, bumping into each other. They're sure of their decisions, but have no idea what's going on.

Take these five examples:

1. The $500 $20 bill

I have a $20 bill. I'll sell it to you for whatever you want. Bidding starts at $1 and moves in $1 increments.

But there's a catch. Other people get to bid on this $20 bill. If someone outbids you and you throw in the towel, you still have to pay me your final bid. You get nothing in return.

How much are you willing to pay for my $20 bill?

Psychologists have been conducting this experiment for years, usually on students. It always goes the same way. People get excited at first at the prospect of bidding $1, or $5, or $10, for a $20 bill. It's free money. At around $17 or $18, a bidding war arises between two players who realize they could end up having to pay a lot of money for nothing in return. Not wanting to lose, they each bid higher and higher.

Eventually, someone bids $21 for a $20 bill -- which actually makes sense, because at that price the winner loses $1 while the loser is out $20.

Things blow up from there. The bidding war becomes a fight to lose the least, rather than to win the most. And as psychologists know, people hate losing more than they enjoy winning. It's called loss aversion, and it pushes bids for a $20 bill to absurd heights.

Wharton management professor Adam Grant, who plays this game in consulting sessions, says a military officer once paid close to $500 for a $20 bill. Harvard Business School professor Max Bazerman claims to have earned $17,000 auctioning $20 bills to his students, with at least one student paying $204 for a $20 bill. Guys, I think we found the culprit of the student loan bubble.

2. Insuring your stupidity

The insurance market is a breeding ground for poor decisions because it combines money with the fear of something bad happening. Those two mix like gasoline and flames.



Take a 1993 study by four economists from Penn State, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. They asked a group of participants how much they'd be willing to pay for $100,000 of travel insurance on a trip from the United States to Thailand. Participants were given two options. One, they could buy insurance covering death caused by acts of terrorism. Two, they could buy insurance covering death for any reason.

For terrorism insurance, the average participant was willing to pay $14.12. For insurance covering all causes of death, they were willing to pay $12.03.

Yes, people were willing to pay more for insurance covering terrorism than they were for insurance covering everything ... including terrorism.

In his book, "The Science of Fear," Daniel Gardner wrote: "Logically that makes no sense, but 'terrorist acts' is a vivid phrase dripping with bad feelings, while 'all possible causes' is bland and empty." The emotions of hearing the word "terrorism" made people willing to pay more.

3. Incentivizing yourself to failure

Want someone to perform better? Logic says that if you offer a bigger reward, like a bigger potential bonus, they'll work harder and perform better.

But economist Dan Ariely showed it isn't this straightforward. It can actually be the other way around.

Ariely and a few colleagues set up a series of problem-solving games in a rural village in India. The tasks ranged from memorizing random numbers to trying to fit nine quarters into a small square.

Ariely's assistants hailed down participants off the street. Participants rolled a die that determined how much money they could earn for completing the tasks. It ranged from the equivalent of one day of the participants' regular pay to a massive five months of the participants' pay. (Ariely conducted the experiment in India so he could offer participants the equivalent of a large financial award without it costing a lot of dollars).

What do you think happened? Here's Ariely:

"Those who stood to earn the most demonstrated the lowest level of performance. Relative to those in the low- or medium-bonus conditions, they achieved good or very good performance less than a third of the time. The experience was so stressful to those in the very-large-bonus condition that they choked under the pressure."

All those who stood to make the most money could think about was their bonus, Ariely wrote in his book, "The Upside of Irrationality." Those who stood to make smaller sums had less to lose and could focus more on the task at hand. So they performed better.

4. You'd rather earn less than be poorer than your neighbor

In one famous 1995 study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health asked students and faculty which they preferred:

Earning $50,000 a year when everyone else around them makes $25,000.

Earning $100,000 a year when everyone else around them makes $200,000.

"The researchers stipulated that prices of goods and services would be the same in both cases," Arthur Brooks wrote in his book, "The Battle," "so a higher salary really meant being able to own a nicer home or buy a nicer car."

Fifty percent chose the first option, leaving $50,000 on the table just to avoid earning less than their neighbors.


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5. The Red Cross charged for doughnuts and people never forgave it

"Most of us think of the Red Cross as a pretty mom-and-apple-pie organization," economist Russ Roberts told NPR last year. But Roberts found that wasn't the case. He kept hearing stories about people, particularly veterans, not trusting and holding a grudge against the Red Cross.

Why?

Two words kept coming up: "The doughnuts."

"I swear, you could go to any VFW hall today, mention the Red Cross, they will bring up the doughnuts," Roberts said. NPR traveled to several VFW halls and found exactly that. "The doughnuts," said one veteran. "It was a disgrace."

Here's what happened:

During World War II, the Red Cross built "comfort stations" across Europe that served coffee and doughnuts to U.S. soldiers. All of it was free. The British soldiers had their own comfort stations, but had to pay for their goods. This caused animosity between ally soldiers. It caused so much jealousy that Secretary of War Henry Stimson wrote the Red Cross and asked the organization to charge U.S. soldiers for doughnuts at comfort stations. So it did. For a brief period, soldiers had to pay a few pennies for their doughnuts.

Soldiers were so outraged that the policy was soon reversed. But 70 years later, they still haven't found forgiveness.

Once you offer something for free, charging for it completely changes the relationship between the customer and the giver. If a business charges $1 and raises the price to $1.01, you might be annoyed, but you probably won't think differently about the business. But if something goes from free to $0.01, what you thought was a charity now looks like a business. And that changes everything. You suddenly question its motives and its goals. In soldiers' eyes, the Red Cross went from a caring grandmother to a profit-driven corporation. That change, some psychologists propose, made soldiers wonder whether they were in a bait-and-switch scheme. That's a bad feeling to have. And those feelings last a long time.

Here's to more rational decisions.

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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.


Previously:


8 questions you might have about the debt ceiling

An open letter to everyone under age 30

15 biases that make you do dumb things with your money

If this scares you, you shouldn't be investing

What I plan to do when the market crashes

The three most important words in investing

Monkeys and investing

Two types of risk, two types of bubbles

The secret to financial success: Use ignorance to your advantage

How to effectively fight investors' greatest enemy

Four mistakes that make everyone a bad investor

Learning from the past, and the Next Big Tren

What newspapers were saying when you should have been buying

Why you never learn from your investment mistakes

The curse of success, and why most mutual funds fail miserably

If you know only five things about investing, make it these

Why spotting bubbles is so much harder than you think

When smart investors do stupid things

The deep downside of home ownership

The biggest retirement myth ever told

He's rich, smart and old: Listen to him

Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on

Gold collapse: The start of something big?

BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!

Twitter: The carnival barker of investing

Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets

25 important things to remember as an investor

New paradigm for both drivers and car companies

Biases that make you a bad investor

Nine financial rules you should never forget

Gaining from financial destruction

How to read financial news

Housing: Partying like it's 1925

A rebuttal to student loan horror stories

CONGRATULATIONS: We just saved half a trillion dollars

End this crazy tax: It will boost the economy

Medicare: A dangerously good deal

Economic future looks bright

The Biggest Threat to Your Portfolio (It's Not What You Think)

Bond Market Bull Run dead at 30



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