Boomers, Markets & Money

A Down-to-Earth Discussion of Financial and Lifestyle Information for Baby Boomers


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Resources for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs

The over 50 set are becoming entrepreneurs

Baby Boomers Open Small Businesses (Click to Enlarge)

Many Baby Boomers are starting small businesses

  • To pursue an interest or goal they didn’t have time for when they were younger
  • For flexibility in work hours or location
  • Persistent unemployment. The 55+ age group has the longest period of unemployment before being hired. Do you think there is age discrimination involved?

One important point I came across when researching this post—Don’t lose your retirement money!

You have less time than other age groups to make up your losses, so take less risk. Don’t use funds that you need to live on in retirement.

Here are some helpful small business resources:

  • Small Business Readiness Assessment. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) online checklist forces you to examine your personality, physical and emotional health, as well as skills and experience. The main strength of the checklist is that it forces you to slow down and really consider the many different factors that are needed to run a successful business.
  •  SCORE, a volunteer resource partner of the SBA, offers free business counseling. Help is available for established businesses, start-ups, and non-profits. Chapters also offer small business workshops. I’m partial to this organization since I volunteer with the Rhode Island chapter.

 Visit the SCORE website at www.score.org to find:

A mentor. Free, confidential counseling is available face to face or by email.

Chapters near you. Type in your zip code for a map of local chapters.

Online workshops. Many live webinars are offered in English and Spanish.

Templates and Tools. Over 100 articles are available with advice on small business challenges. For example, I found an interesting article “10 Steps to Protect Your Great Idea.”


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When to Trust Your Intuition or Gut Instinct When Making Financial Decisions

How Feelings Can Affect Investment Choices

Feelings and Investment Decisions (Click to Enlarge)

Traditionally, being rational and objective was highly prized in the investment decision process. Emotions were to be controlled and repressed for fear of making bad decisions. However, early studies that combine psychology, the biology of the brain, and investment risk are beginning to challenge that view.

I recently read an article in CFA Institute’s magazine called “Sentimental Journey” that reviewed recent research. Cynthia Harrington referred to research conducted by Columbia Business School professor Michel Pham and associates published in the Journal of Consumer Research. They researched how people’s trust in their own feelings affected decision-making. The exhibit below gives a quick summary of the research.

Why It Is Important to Know How Trust in Feelings Affects Decisions

The researches are trying to figure out if gut instincts improve the accuracy of predictions in decisions in uncertain events with high stakes. This could help decisions made by professionals in many varied areas such as the Pentagon, Wall Street, weather prediction, to name a few.

Methods

Should We Pay Attention to Our Feelings When Making Decisions?

Summary of “The Emotional Oracle Effect” (Click to Enlarge)

People were divided into two groups:

  • People who had high trust in their feelings
  • People who had low trust in their feelings

Subjects were asked to make decisions in the eight studies mentioned in the Exhibit to the right. (Click to Enlarge.)

Conclusions on Whether Feelings Help us Make Better Decisions

People who had high trust in their feelings were more accurate in their predictions in all the studies.

However, this effect only occurs when people have sufficient background knowledge in the decision area.

People who trusted their feelings didn’t make rash decisions. They still took the time to carefully consider the information.

Why Feelings Can Help Us Make Better Decisions

While a more analytical approach with just a few inputs might seem more logical, it could be leaving out key information that your feelings are hinting at. Study authors speculate that when a person trusts their feelings about a subject they have experience with, they access “a vast amount of information that people learn consciously and unconsciously about their environment.” Professor Pham believes that feelings “…tap into all we know about our environment.”

Knowing how and when to trust our feelings when we are choosing an investment can help us improve our choices.

Sources

“Sentimental Journey” by Cynthia Harrington. CFA Magazine, March/April 2013.

“Feeling the Future: The Emotional Oracle Effect” by Michel Tuan Pham, Leonard Lee, Andrew T. Stephen

Related Posts

“How To Handle Emotions When Making Investment Decisions”