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  • Hello, and welcome back to the Note

  • The love of money, or avarice, or greed, is a sin. That's an ancient church teaching,

  • but gods and men have always mixed awkwardly, particularly here in Wall Street, and it turns out that greed can be bad for your wealth

  • Now, State Street's Center for Applied Research, Suzanne Duncan conducted research in more than 20 countries, and that showed you'll be a more successful investor if you don't love money for its own sake

  • The more that people love money, the more money they actually lose

  • And we define love of money by asking a series of questions to test their emotional attachment to money, and that's really what it's all about

  • What matters is the modern understanding of behavioral biases. We are all of us hardwired to want to buy at the top and sell at the bottom for example

  • and it turns out that those biases are exacerbated if you love money for its own sake

  • We found through the data that these high lovers of money, they actually make worse financial decisions, and they have worse financial outcomes as a result

  • If you love money, you're more susceptible to three major behavioral bias categories that we found

  • First is you're much more susceptible to instant gratification. In case you want a cocktail party term, this is hyperbolic discounting

  • Much more susceptible to this instant gratification, so you want the money, you want the money now,

  • and you're much less willing to set enough money aside to say comfortably retire

  • The second category that we found is looking at this hyperactive sort of behavior around trading, frequency

  • They trade too often, they watch the markets, which leads to the third behavior that we saw, which is very susceptible to greed and fear-based motives

  • The tendency to buy high, sell low, depending upon what the markets are doing

  • Now, in general, there's a close link between avarice and economic development

  • In poor countries that are growing fast, people tend to care a lot about money. For example, in China or India

  • In prosperous countries that have been stable for a long time, such as the Netherlands or Switzerland, people don't care so much about money. The big outlier to all of this - the US

  • The US is in fact the one biggest outlier, and it is much higher in the scale of love of money than what we would have originally anticipated

  • We found very tight correlations with those countries that have a low level of human development and/or prosperity. They also have a high love of money

  • The US is clearly the outlier here because we don't have those problems with respect to the infrastructure that's been built out,

  • so we should've come to the point where we could realize self-actualization, but we haven't yet in this country

  • It's irrational love of money that creates opportunities for the rest of us

  • Wall Street has turned into a great financial center by exploiting the greed and avarice of others

  • So what should we do about this? Focus on the goal, the ends, not the means, and perhaps listen to some religious advice

Hello, and welcome back to the Note

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