August 31, 2020 by Dymphna

T-Bomb: A warning for every investor

Truth Bomb Tuesday: More and more Australians are finding themselves in crisis. I’ve got one piece of advice:

I feel like I want to throw out a public warning here.

Be careful about the choices you make right now.

These are challenging times. It’s actually super hard right now. Like, it is literally a crisis.

Sure, that word gets bandied about a lot, but this is genuinely a crisis.

And a lot of people right now are in crisis at the personal level. Maybe their finances have become a massive pain point. Maybe they’re struggling with the reality of lockdown.

I get it. It’s ok. You can totally own the fact that you’re in crisis. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

The nation is literally with you.

And in many ways, the most important thing you can do right now is acknowledge that you’re in crisis.

And specifically, acknowledge the way that being in crisis is going to affect your decision making.

Because this is the real challenge in navigating a crisis. It’s not just the challenges that the crisis itself presents. It also in the pressure a crisis puts on you, and the way that it impacts your ability to make good decisions.

It’s the reason why people in the armed forces run drills that simulate the intensity of battle situations.

They know that even the best-trained soldiers can flip out and do unpredictable things when stuff really hits the fan.

And so we need to watch for the way that crisis pressure influences our thinking.

For example, there’s something called the “Hail Mary” bias. That is, when things are going bad, the human becomes much more attracted to moon-shot, all or nothing strategies.

You probably never thought that tipping whatever’s left of your life-savings into some unknown crypto-currency would ever seem like a good idea, but now that you’re just a few weeks away from losing your house, you’re thinking, “why not”?

“What have I got to lose?”

This is a bias that emerges in a crisis, and there are people out there who will want to take advantage of that – people who will offer you a stake in a moon-shot crypto currency or whatever snake-oil financial product it is.

Keep calm, and make slow and steady decisions.

Don’t let the panic drive you.

Breathe through it. Sleep a night or two on any big decisions. Talk it over with people.

And ideally, talk it over with someone who is not in crisis and get their perspective.

I mean, if you talk to your husband or wife, they’re in the exact same crisis you are, and they’re going to be influenced by the exact same biases.

Get feedback on your strategy from someone who is not in crisis.

So this is all I want to say.

Australia, be careful about the decisions that you’re making right now.

We can do funny things when we’re under pressure. We can do unpredictable things.

And that means we can make mistakes that can take years to undo.

So I know things are getting tough for some people. It might get tough for others soon.

As much as you can, slow down, and go for those slow and steady decisions.

And trust that we’ll get through this.