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Cognitive biases and some good and bad investment habits

In my previous blogs, I walked through my portfolio history to give a feel for how I decide my allocations. I hope also that you will get out of this is a feeling for my cognitive biases and people’s generally. I have a number of observations to make about good and bad habits, some learnt from others, some from my own bad experience. For any of you who have read about behavioural finance some of this will be very familiar. ..

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My portfolio: you win some you lose some

Last time I blogged I talked about my top down approach to asset allocation and how I used the Salty Dog data www.saltydoginvestor.com.  What should your investment horizon be? The Salty approach seems to promote churning. Buy when performing, sell when not, then reinvest. I would like to emphasise that I don’t “actively trade”, I am a long-term investor. My approach is aimed at being low cost and low maintenance: I don’t churn my portfolio a lot, that increases costs and I don’t want to be active on even a monthly basis, I’m too busy and unless there is a major world event, my view isn’t going to change that quickly. That makes me a longer horizon investor. Some assets I own I bought in 2012 and 2013. ..

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Confessions of a private investor

I have been managing my own money for over 15 years: in 2000, I gave up the safety of a bank salary and non-contributory pension to lead a management buyout.  I found myself with a couple of legacy final salary entitlements and a small pension pot in “Zombie” fund manager, Phoenix Group.  My pension manager like many at the time had given up the ghost, but rather than throw out its legacy customers, they sold out to Phoenix.  I was able to choose from a range of funds managed by the company, but they all had titles like “balanced managed” and I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted more flexibility so I transferred into a SIPP I’d opened up with Hargreaves Lansdown. The game was afoot! ..

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