We are wired to be lousy investors, says guest Dan Egan, the Director of Behavioral Finance and Investments at Betterment. Dan explained that the very cognitive behaviors that distinguish human beings from other forms of life, can lead us astray. Unlike traditional economists, who believe that incentives, along with logical thought processes, will ultimately dominate our decisions, behavioral economists acknowledge that human beings are not always rational and want to help people make better decisions by using their emotions to their advantage.
Behavioral economists want to make it easier for us to do virtuous things, like saving for retirement and harder to do harmful things, like blowing our paychecks on fleeting, short-term pleasures.And if you ever wondered why it's so hard to stay on your diet, go to the gym or adhere to a financial plan, it is because willpower is actually a deplete-able resource - and making virtuous decisions can actually cause fatigue. The answer is to automate as much as possible. “Doing the right thing should be effortless,” says Egan, which is why Betterment uses behavioral science concepts to help people overcome their very natures.
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