Notes From the Fieldby Martin Weil

November 8, 2013

Quote of the Week

There is no problem so bad, that you can’t make it worse.

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield in this interview with Fresh Air’s Terri Gross.

A simple but powerful insight that is applicable to many of life’s undertakings in addition to space travel, but without a doubt to investing. I’d call it the equivalent of the medical profession’s “first, do no harm.

There is an incredible urge to activity by investors. In the face of a falling market, or of a portfolio that is lagging in a rising market, the temptation to do something, to do anything, is often overwhelming, when generally the best course is to do nothing. This urge to activity is a well-documented behavioral trap that professionals are as susceptible to as non-professionals. I liken over-activity in investing to frequent lane changing on a crowded and fast-moving freeway. You think you are getting ahead, when actually all you are doing is greatly increasing your odds of having an accident.


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