Getting to ‘Emotional Neutrality’ on Investing

Feb 14, 2024 Jason Gittins Posted in Articles

Whether we are aware of it or not, emotions often wield significant influence over our personal investment decisions. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about how we respond to them emotionally. It’s one of the first topics a good financial advisor always discusses with new clients – it’s just as important that we understand our clients’ emotional comfort level as it is to know their financial capacity to take risks when it comes to their investments.

Understanding Emotional Influence

Recognizing the role your emotions play in your financial life is key. Some investors fall victim to greed, prioritizing short-term gains over long-term stability – blind to the inherent risks – in pursuit of high returns. A fearful investor might let anxiety undermine logical thinking; they may be tempted to get out of the market too early during a downturn. Alternatively, they could become paralyzed by fear, unable to think rationally while losses pile up.  

During times of market turbulence, it’s common to witness knee-jerk reactions driven by these emotions, leading to missed opportunities or hasty exits from the market. But if you can set aside the emotions, some of the best opportunities emerge as the market gets close to the bottom – not when we’re feeling the rush of excitement when the market is booming!

Don’t Let Those Emotions Get in Your Way

To succeed in investing, we have to master the art of managing our emotions. Emotional neutrality is what we’re striving for; the concept of removing greed, fear, and other human emotions from financial or investment decisions as much as possible. Logical, rational reasoning should guide our investment choices, rather than succumbing to herd mentality or emotional contagion. By staying grounded in sound principles, we can avoid the pitfalls of irrational behavior.

The Antidote to Emotional Investing

In the journey towards emotionally neutral investing, a few allies can help guide you along the way.

  • Patience allows us to resist the urge to react impulsively to market fluctuations, keeping our focus on long-term goals and off any short-term volatility.
  • Discipline ensures that we adhere to our investment strategies, trusting that they were created to survive periods of volatility. Ignore the noise and follow the plan.
  • Fortitude empowers us to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the market with resilience and determination.

Having a trusted advisor plays a pivotal role in this journey as well. An objective, fee-only investment advisor can be an invaluable partner in ensuring that you stay grounded in the face of emotions, peer pressure, media noise, or volatile markets. Their support and guidance can help you stay focused on your financial goals, steering clear of those emotional pitfalls and maintaining a disciplined investment plan.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In the ever-evolving landscape of investing, emotional neutrality emerges as one of our greatest assets. The markets will always be subject to fluctuations and uncertainties, but by mastering our emotions and adhering to disciplined investment practices, we can navigate these challenges with confidence and resilience.