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  • Writer's pictureKevin Shuller, CFA, CFP

Your feelings are a terrible financial advisor

Your feelings are a terrible financial advisor. They are too busy telling you which 25% of Bluey episodes should make you inexplicably start weeping or which of Tay-Tay’s exes inspired that song. They don’t have time to pay attention to financial data.

A Harris poll for The Guardian showed just how big the gap is between how Americans feel about the economy and what the data says about America’s economy. It blew my mind.

Of the 2,000+ participants in the poll:

  • 72% think inflation is going up (It’s dropped almost 2/3 )

  • 56% think the US is in a recession (GDP grew last quarter)

  • 49% think the S&P 500 is down for the year (It’s up 16%)

  • 49% think unemployment is at a 50 year high (It’s near a 50 year low)

I started investing and paying attention to the economy when I was a pre-teen. Weird flex, I know. I was paying attention to the economy while Kurt Cobain was alive. One thing that I’ve realized is that people never think the economy is doing well. Never.

I take that back. People only think the economy is doing well when their preferred political party controls the White House. Other than that, it’s all garbage.

This disconnect from reality isn’t surprising. We all have blind spots and want to twist data to fit our desired narrative. We get into trouble when we make money decisions based on emotions rather than reality.

Take a second to think about the worst two money decisions you’ve ever made. How much of that decision could be chalked up to listening to your gut? If you are like a normal human person, it was probably emotionally driven.

One benefit of working with a financial advisor is being able to put someone else’s objectivity in between your emotions and your money. Don’t get me wrong. Emotions aren’t bad. You should listen to them when they talk. You shouldn’t let them make big money decisions. There’s a very good chance they don’t know what they’re talking about.

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