Regret Aversion

This is the tendency to avoid taking an action due to the fear thatin hindsightit will turn out to have been less than optimal.  Like leaving money in a bank account, rather than putting the cash in an investment with a higher return!

It might help to bear in mind that someone who had invested in a lousy stock mutual fund 15 years ago—and stuck with it—is certainly better off today than someone who did not invest in stocks at all.

Ironically, it may be riskier  to leave yourself vulnerable (to the devaluing effects of inflation) by keeping your savings in those steady Fixed Deposits than it is to subject yourself to the ups and downs of the stock market.  Stocks, although volatile, are still the average person’s best bet for long-term capital appreciation.

It’s not always what you do that hurts your pocketbook, but what you choose not to do.

Everyone has regrets, but try this: Talk to some people that are beyond their 70s and who have gathered ample experience in life.  Ask them whether they have any regrets and what they could have been.

My guess—without having any empirical studies at hand—is that most people’s biggest regrets in life centre around things they have failed to do, not the things they have actually done.

As the saying goes: Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.

Or in words of Nike: “Just do it.”

Or in the words of Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”

fork-in-the-road

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