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Once upon a time in Stockville - Recency Bias

Once upon a time in Stockville - Recency Bias

June 13, 2023

Once upon a time in the bustling city of Stockville, there lived a shrewd investor named Ethan. Known for his keen sense of opportunity, Ethan had amassed a considerable fortune over the years by carefully studying market trends and making well-informed investment decisions. However, he had one significant flaw: he had a tendency to fall prey to recency bias.

Recency bias is the tendency for individuals to place more importance on recent events and experiences while neglecting or downplaying historical data. This bias often clouds judgment and leads to suboptimal decision-making. Unfortunately, Ethan had developed a habit of making investment choices solely based on recent market movements, ignoring the broader context.

One day, Ethan noticed that technology stocks were performing exceptionally well. News articles, financial experts, and even his investor friends were all talking about the immense profits to be made in the technology sector. Driven by his recency bias, Ethan decided to invest the majority of his portfolio in technology stocks.

Over the next few months, Ethan's investments thrived. The technology sector continued its upward trajectory, and Ethan's net worth skyrocketed. He felt confident in his abilities as an investor and attributed his success solely to his recent choices. Ignoring the warnings from his more level-headed colleagues, he became increasingly obsessed with technology stocks.

As time went on, Ethan's recency bias became more pronounced. He grew blind to other opportunities in the market and neglected to diversify his portfolio. He dismissed potential risks and indicators that the technology sector might be reaching a peak. His investments became lopsided, with the majority of his wealth concentrated in a single sector.

Then, one fateful day, the tide turned. A major technological innovation fell short of expectations, and panic spread throughout the market. Technology stocks plummeted, wiping out a significant portion of Ethan's wealth. His recency bias had led him astray, and now he faced the consequences of his narrow focus.

As the market continued to fluctuate, Ethan struggled to recover. His confidence wavered, and he realized the dangers of his recency bias. Recognizing that he needed to make a change, he sought guidance from a seasoned mentor who emphasized the importance of long-term analysis and diversification.

With newfound humility and a fresh perspective, Ethan began to reevaluate his investment strategy. He researched historical market trends, analyzed various sectors, and focused on fundamental analysis rather than relying solely on recent performance. He diversified his portfolio, spreading his investments across different industries, including healthcare, energy, and real estate.

Over time, Ethan's investments stabilized, and he gradually rebuilt his wealth. By embracing a more balanced and informed approach to investing, he was able to withstand market volatility and mitigate the impact of recency bias on his decision-making.

From that day forward, Ethan became an advocate for spreading awareness about recency bias in the investment community. He shared his story with others, emphasizing the importance of considering both short-term trends and long-term historical data. Ethan's journey served as a cautionary tale, reminding investors to avoid the pitfalls of recency bias and instead pursue a well-rounded and informed investment strategy.

Recency bias is a common behavioral challenge that investors face.  We can have it or fall victim to it as we build a mental model to justify our decisions, on top of getting in our own way with it.  Recency bias is commonly used by marketing firms, investment firms, unaccredited / unlicensed individuals giving advice to motivate, inspire and capture the attention of investors. (See TikTok and YouTube) It helps investors override processes, plans and rules-based investment strategies in favor of the emotional dopamine hit we get from being a part of a movement. 

If you are looking for a process that can reduce your chances of falling victim to recency bias, let's find time to connect and discuss your investment and financial planning objectives in more detail. 

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named representative, broker - dealer, state - or SEC - registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss.