Behavioural patterns

Shaping the way we invest, for better or worse

Investors should keep things in perspective and not overreact to headlines. Although equities may fall more in the near term, historically market drawdowns due to past military conflicts did not last very long and were mostly buying opportunities.

But when it comes to money and investing, understandably we’re not always as rational as we may think. Every human being is driven by emotions – more than we would like to admit. Emotions are the key drivers of our behaviour, and these behavioural patterns shape our way of investing, for better or worse.

Investors know they shouldn’t let emotions or impulses drive their investment choices, but many just can’t help themselves, according to new research that has revealed half of British investors (50%) admit to having made an impulsive investment decision, with two-thirds (67%) going on to regret it.

Investment decisions
When asked what influenced their investment decisions, social media topped the list, with a third (32%) of investors citing it as a factor, closely followed by friends (31%) and the fear of missing out (30%). The research also showed separating emotions from investments is hard no matter what it is investors are feeling. A third (34%) of them have made an impulsive investment decision while excited, a fifth (21%) when feeling impatient and 16% have made a decision in fear.

More broadly, just under half (47%) of investors have admitted they often feel anxious about their investments and two-thirds often feel excited when checking on their investments. Anxiety and excitement can also lead to other bad investment habits, with 62% feeling the need to constantly monitor their investments to succeed, meaning they could be prone to react to short-term fluctuations in the market.

Market opportunities
Feeling an emotional connection to your investments doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, especially if you use it as a tool to invest in funds you feel passionate about. However, when your feelings start to cloud your decision-making, it’s time to take a step back. By understanding your emotions, it’s easier to manage them and create a diversified portfolio that does not just take advantage of market opportunities but can also weather any storms.

It’s understandable that many investors enjoy the thrill and excitement of investing. One compromise investors can make is the ‘core-satellite approach’. Investors may want to put their money into something stable and less exciting, and then add a small, satellite component of investments that give them more enjoyment, keep them engaged and give them an emotional reward – but without causing investors to make any decisions they may regret.

Source data:
[1] All data, unless otherwise specified, is taken from 2,000 respondents of a representative sample size conducted by Censuswide in September 2021. All respondents were 18+ and had previously invested money.