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Behavioral Finance for Financial Planners

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A review of several behavioral economics / behavioral finance concepts and examples of how to apply the dual-self economic model to advising clients in a financial planning context.

A review of several behavioral economics / behavioral finance concepts and examples of how to apply the dual-self economic model to advising clients in a financial planning context.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/12071800@N02/2287273610/http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392252@N03/1839810842/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/12071800@N02/2287273610/http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392252@N03/1839810842/
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OFC.JPGhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/labguest/3497647067/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/macronin47/85006920/
  • Note: The Kable & Glimcher article in Nature Neuroscience proports to have falsified the hypothesis that the ventral striatum, medial prefrontal cortex, and posterior singulate cortex form a reward system that primarily values immediate reward.  However, their experiment was structured such that (1) there were no choices between two delayed rewards and (2) the immediate reward was always the same and was never presented visually.  Itappearrs that their experimental structure created an endowment effect, i.e., where the immediate $20 was already planned/known/expected/owned in every trial, and thus the only impact on immediate reward would be couched in terms of loss.  In other words, if these systems only cared about immediate reward, it is possible that the activation related to the predicted probability of loss of the endowment.
  • See Laibson, David, “Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting, Quarterly Journal ofEconomics, 112 (1997), 443–477.Robson, A. J. (2002). Evolution and human nature. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(2), 89-106.
  • D. Read (Leeds U.) & B. van Leeuwen (Leeds U.), 1998, Predicting hunger: The effects of appetite and delay on choice. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 76, 189-205.
  • From the Health and Retirement Study, Author’s data analysis
  • Note: comparison group are HRS members who were not asked the question in the 1998 survey. Linear regression on wealth.
  • Environment never stops influencing decisions
  • Environment never stops influencing decisions
  • Environment never stops influencing decisions
  • Environment never stops influencing decisions
  • Transcript

    • 1. This is your brain on finances:
      Advising imperfect humans
      Associate Professor Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP®
      Director of Online Graduate Studies in Charitable Financial Planning
      Texas Tech University
    • 2. A current example of a brain science “work in progress”
      A neuro-economic model of decision making
      Strategies for influencing financial decision making
    • 3. Brain science methods
      Behavioral
      Cognitive abilities, Mathematic abilities, Choices
      Neurological
      Lesion/stroke studies
      Other signal receiving methods
      Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
      Positron Emission Tomography (PET)*
      Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)*
      Electroencephalography (EEG)**
      Magnetoencephalography (MEG)**
      *Requires radioactive injections
      **Great at WHEN activation, weak at WHERE activation
    • 4. Graduate personal financial planning research & theory class
    • 5. In progress study…
      A sharing game: Player 1 receives $20. Any amount he gives to Player 2 is tripled. Player 2 may return any amount to player 1. The game ends. Players are anonymous and unseen.
      There is no economic reason for Player 2 to share any money. Measures generosity-attachment-reciprocity.
    • 6. A prior study found that touch (therapeutic massage) combined with receiving a larger share from Player 1 caused Player 2 to be more generous than with either element alone (Morhenn, et al 2008).
      Significantly, the generosity was driven by changes in oxytocin, a family/in-group bonding hormone.
    • 7. In our fMRI study for touch, a lab assistant takes the subject’s pulse during some blocks of the trials
      Attempting a practical analogy to a business practice such as a handshake and a small gift.
    • 8. We care about activation in the amygdala, which has been shown to respond to faces of in-group members more than out-group members following a team building exercise
    • 9. Adding touch to a high sharing scenario may increase activation
    • 10. Adding touch to an “unfair” low-sharing scenario may have a negative effect on activation
    • 11. Moving from low sharing to high sharing in a touch scenario may increase activation
    • 12. A framework for thinking about the neurological processes of human decision-making
    • 13. The “dual-self” model as an alternative to simple “utility-maximizing” rational decision-making
    • 14. Long-run (patient) self
      • This side tries to maximize utility across time
      Short-run (impulsive) selves
      • Sequential selves that exist only for a brief time
      • 15. Each cares only about immediate experience
      “Our theory proposes that many sorts of decision problems should be viewed as a game between a sequence of short-run impulsive selves and a long-run patient self.”
      Drew Fudenburg (Harvard U.) and David K. Levine (Washington U.), 2006, A dual-self model of impulse control. American Economic Review, 96(5), 1449-1476.
    • 16. “The planner
      is concerned
      with lifetime
      utility…”
      R.H. Thaler (Santa Clara) & H. M. Shefrin (Cornell), 1981, An economic theory of self-control, Journal of Political Economy, 89(2), 392-406.
    • 17. “the
      doer
      exists only for one period and is completely selfish or myopic.”
      R.H. Thaler (Santa Clara) & H. M. Shefrin (Cornell), 1981, An economic theory of self-control, Journal of Political Economy, 89(2), 392-406.
    • 18. Examples of dual-self models in behavioral economics
      Short-term/impulsive
      Doer
      Passions
      Affective/Visceral
      Hot state
      Long-term/patient
      Planner
      Impartial spectator
      Deliberative
      Cold state
      Fudenberg & Levine
      Shefrin & Thaler
      Adam Smith
      Loewenstein
      Bernheim & Rangel; Loewenstein
    • 19. Or we could look at neurology
      “A crucial fact is that the human brain is basically a mammalian brain with a larger cortex. This means human behavior will generally be a compromise between… animal emotions and instincts, and… human deliberation and foresight.”
      C. Camerer (Cal Tech), G. Loewenstein (Carnegie-Mellon), D. Prelic (MIT), 2004, Neuroeconomics: Why economics needs brains. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 106(3), 555-579.
    • 20. Can we see two systems in the brain?
      Areas of the prefrontal cortex are associated with rational, higher cognitive thought.
      The more central limbic system is the immediate reward system (“dopaminergic”).
    • 21. Watching decision-making happen
      By making decisions in an fMRI machine, we can see which areas of the brain are activated.
      BOLD signal indicates blood usage in the area.
    • 22. Limbic system reactions
      Choices between more $ later, less $ sooner.
      Earliest option: Today
      Earliest option: 2 Weeks
      Earliest option: 1 month
      S. McClure (Princeton), D. Laibson (Harvard), G. Loewenstein (Carnegie Mellon), J. Cohen (Princeton), 2004, Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science, 306, 503-507.
    • 23. Higher cognitive system reactions
      Choices between more $ later, less $ sooner.
      Earliest option: Today
      Earliest option: 2 Weeks
      Earliest option: 1 month
      S. McClure (Princeton), D. Laibson (Harvard), G. Loewenstein (Carnegie Mellon), J. Cohen (Princeton), 2004, Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science, 306, 503-507.
    • 24. Hyperbolic discounting
      Would you rather receive $100 right now or $101 in a week? Most people choose $100 right now.
      But when the choice is between $100 a year from now and $101 in a year and a week from now, most people choose $101 in a year and a week.
      This is time inconsistent, as both choices involve delaying by one week for $1.
      Note also that choosing $100 right now implies an interest rate charge of 1% per week or APR of 52%
    • 25. Dual-self example
      Read & van Leeuwen (1998). 200 participants. People who were not hungry, chose the unhealthy snack for delivery in one week
      26% of the time
      They chose the unhealthy snack for immediate consumption
      70% of the time
      ←Next Week
      Right Now ->
      26%
      70%
    • 26. Let’s use a simple analogy
      “The image that I came up with … was that I was a rider on the back of an elephant. I’m holding the reins in my hands, and by pulling one way or the other I can tell the elephant to turn, to stop, or to go. I can direct things, but only when the elephant doesn’t have desires of his own. When the elephant really wants to do something, I’m no match for him.”
      Dr. Jonathan Haidt, (University of Virginia), The Happiness Hypothesis, 2006, p. 4, Basic Books: New York.
    • 27. Elephant in charge
      If given total control, the “elephant” side makes choices detrimental to future success and happiness.
      Long-term
      Patient
      Planner
      Impartial spectator
      Deliberative
      Cold state
      Short-term
      Impulsive
      Doer
      Passions
      Affective/Visceral
      Hot state
    • 28. How can we change?
    • 29. Alter our time preference
      (develop future-orientation or patience)
      2. Pre-commitment strategies
      (change our elephant’s future environment)
    • 30. How do we work to develop more future-orientation (patience)?
      Victim of my insatiable need for instant gratification.
    • 31. Economic Theory
      Nobel prize winning economist Gary Becker and Casey Mulligan present a model of time preference for imperfect humans.
      People may be too focused on instant gratification, but they can spend effort to develop patience (future-orientation).
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758
    • 32. Economic theory: People maximize…
      A time discount factor
      (because future enjoyment is not the same as current enjoyment)
      The enjoyment of future consumption
      The enjoyment of current consumption
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758
    • 33. Becker & Mulligan say we can change it by spending effort (S) to become more future-focused.
      In standard economics, our time discount preference (β) is pre-set.
      A time discount factor
      (because future enjoyment is not the same as current enjoyment)
      The enjoyment of current consumption
      The enjoyment of future consumption
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758
    • 34. A consumer can “make future pleasures less remote by spending resources (S) on imagining them”
      A time discount factor
      (because future enjoyment is not the same as current enjoyment)
      The enjoyment of current consumption
      The enjoyment of future consumption
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758 , p. 734
    • 35. People can maximize utility “partly by
      spending time and other resources to produce
      ‘imagination capital’
      that helps them better appreciate future utilities.”
      G. Becker (Chicago), 1996, Accounting for Tastes. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, p. 11
    • 36. A Nobel prize winning economist using an economic model incorporating
      Imagination
    • 37. “How can a person improve his capacity to appreciate the future? What exactly is S? First, Sis partially determined by time and effort spent appreciating future pleasures.”
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758 , p. 734
    • 38. “While forming a mental picture of one’s future pleasures may not be incredibly difficult, the process of anticipation is not merely one of image formation but also one of scenario simulation.”
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758 , p. 734
    • 39. “Even image formation may not be cheap because images of future pleasures have to be repeatedly refreshed in one’s mind in order to compete with current pleasures.”
      G. Becker (Chicago) & C. Mulligan (Chicago), 1997, The endogenous determination of time preference. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(3), 729-758 , p. 734
    • 40. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPFA8n7goio 1:13-4:30
    • 41. Only emotional goals work
      The rider may be compelled by logic or emotion
      The elephant is purely emotional (visceral)
      To engage the elephant, the imagery of future goals must evoke emotion
    • 42. Time horizon and wealth building
      In 1998 about 5,000 people over 50 were asked:
      “In planning your saving and spending, which of the following time periods is most important to you,
      the next few months,
      the next year,
      the next few years,
      the next 5-10 years,
      or longer than 10 years?”
      Comparing people with the same starting wealth, did those with longer time horizons accumulate more wealth in the following 8 years?
    • 43. Wealth growth and time horizon
      Comparing with the wealth growth of other people with the same starting wealth:
    • 44. Other research finds:Planning ahead->wealth
      “Why do similar households
      end up with very different
      levels of wealth?”
      “We … measure each household’s ‘propensity to plan.’ We show that those with a higher such propensity spend more time developing financial plans, and that this shift in planning is associated with increased wealth.”
      Ameriks, J., Caplin, A. (NYU), Leahy, J. (NYU). 2003. Wealth accumulation and the propensity to plan. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3), 1007-1047.
    • 45. Focusing on long-term goals using imagery and emotion can change your future-orientation.
    • 46. Alter our time preference
      (develop future-orientation or patience)
      2. Pre-commitment strategies
      (change our elephant’s future environment)
    • 47. Pre-commitment gives the rider control over the elephant’s future environment.
      Few Temptations
      Many Temptations
    • 48. Pre-commitment Strategies
      1.
      Change the rewards and penalties
      2.
      Change the number of decision points
    • 49. 1. Change the rewards and penalties
      The goal is to change the environment as perceived by the elephant.
      The elephant is
      Emotional
      Focused on now
      Fears loss
      Long-term
      Patient
      Planner
      Impartial spectator
      Deliberative
      Cold state
      Short-term
      Impulsive
      Doer
      Passions
      Affective/Visceral
      Hot state
    • 50. Elephant characteristic
      Emotional
      Focused on now
      Hates loss
      Approach
      Change peer group & social rewardsto alter emotional payoffs of future choices
      Change immediate rewards of future choices
      Reframe the felt losses of future choices
    • 51. Are professors’ retirement savings affected by their peers’ savings?
      Duflo, E. (MIT) & Saez, E. (Harvard), 2002, Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues’ choices. Journal of Public Economics, 85, 121-148.
    • 52. “When participation [in a retirement savings program] increases by 1 percent in the department, one’s participation increases by 0.2 percent.”
      Duflo, E. (MIT) & Saez, E. (Harvard), 2002, Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues’ choices. Journal of Public Economics, 85, 121-148.
    • 53. Are professors’ choice of mutual fund company affected by their peers’ choice?
      Duflo, E. (MIT) & Saez, E. (Harvard), 2002, Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues’ choices. Journal of Public Economics, 85, 121-148.
    • 54. “When the average share of the contribution invested in one vendor increases by 1 percent, one’s share in this vendor increases by 0.5 percent on average.”
      Duflo, E. (MIT) & Saez, E. (Harvard), 2002, Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues’ choices. Journal of Public Economics, 85, 121-148.
    • 55. Financial peer groups – Microfinance
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMg_Lc6akos(0:00-1:45)
    • 56. 2. Focused on now
      Change immediate rewards of future choices
      3. Hates loss
      Reframe the felt losses of future choices
      Negative Choices
      Positive Choices
      Reducing the immediate payoff
      Adding Felt Losses
      Increasing the immediate payoff
      Removing Felt Losses
    • 57. Why losses hurt more
      Is there a conflict between the core “elephant” side of the brain and the rational pre-frontal cortex “rider”. Why?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGQLO_iXKlU 3:06-end
    • 58. Illiquidity may encourage wealth accumulation by reducing the temptation to consume.
      “All Illiquid assets provide a form of pre-commitment”
      D. Laibson (Harvard), 1997, Golden eggs and hyperbolic discounting. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112, p.444.
    • 59. Unavailable
      • Pension, Christmas Club Account,
      Excess tax withholding
      Penalty for withdraw
      • CDs, IRAs, 401(k)s
      Completely Unavailable
      Very High Penalty
      Current income + High transaction costs
      • Housing, farm, family business, Consumer durable
      High Penalty
      Modest
      Penalty
      Minor
      Penalty
    • 60. Adding felt losses – paying with cash
      “In studies involving genuine transactions of potentially high value we show that willingness-to-pay can be increased when customers are instructed to use a credit card rather than cash. The effect may be large (up to 100%).”
      D. Prelec (MIT) & D. Simester (MIT), 2001, Always leave home without it: A further investigation of the credit-card effect on willingness to pay. Marketing Letters ,12, 5-12
    • 61. D. Soman (U. of Toronto), 2003, The effect of payment transparency on consumption: Quasi-experiments from the field. Marketing Letters, 14, 173-183.
    • 62. Removing felt losses
      Pre-paying for the gym
      The automatic millionaire
      Save more tomorrow
      Keep the change
      Tax refund splitting
    • 63. Removing felt losses:Save more tomorrow
      People commit in advance to allocating a portion of their future salary increases toward retirement savings.
      “the average saving rates for [Save More Tomorrow] program participants increased from 3.5 percent to 13.6 percent over the course of 40 months.”
      R. Thaler (University of Chicago), S. Benartzi (UCLA), 2004, Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving. Journal of Political Economy, 112, S164-S186
    • 64. Removing felt losses:Bank of America’s Keep the Change
      “each time you buy something with your Bank of America Check Card, we’ll round up your purchase to the nearest dollar amount and transfer the difference from your checking account to your savings account.”
      http://www.bankofamerica.com/promos/jump/ktc/ downloaded 7 Nov. 2009
    • 65. Removing felt losses: Tax refund splitting
      Tax refund splitting is a pre-commitment to put a portion of the tax refund into a savings account
      In a pilot program “those that did participate saved 236% more than they said they would before hearing about the program”
      A. Chiou, S. Roe, E. Wozniak, advisor E. Luttmer (Harvard), 2005, An evaluation of tax-refund splitting as an asset-building tool for low-to-middle income individuals. http://www.d2dfund.org/system/files/publications/PAE+R2A2+FINAL.pdf
    • 66. The problem of felt losses in investing
      Investors prefer to realize gains (sell winners) but not losses (hold losers). This lowers returns as compared to “buy and hold” strategies.
      Among active traders, “Men underperformed their buy-and-hold portfolios by 2.652 percentage points annually; women underperformed their buy-and-hold portfolios by 1.716 percentage points annually.”
      B. Barber (UC-Davis) and T. Odean (UC-Davis), Nov/Dec. 1999, The courage of misguided convictions. Financial Analysts Journal, 41-55
    • 67. Pre-commitment Strategies
      NEXT
      2.
      Change the number of decision points
    • 68. Each decision point is an opportunity to change direction
      Increase decision points required for negative options
      Decrease decision points required for positive options
    • 69. Increasing decision points
      required for negative options
      Decreasing decision points
      Required for positive options
    • 70. Mental accounts(partitions)
      In standard economics a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. Money is “fungible”
      In behavioral economics, people put money into different mental categories and react differently to fluctuations in different categories
    • 71. Three broad mental accounts (partitions)
      Future income account
      • Retirement savings
      • 72. Rarely spent
      Asset account
      • Savings account, stocks & bonds
      • 73. Designated for saving
      Current income account
      • Checking account, cash
      • 74. Routinely Spent
    • “People typically show different propensities to consume from their current income (where marginal propensity to consume [MPC] is high), current assets (where it is intermediate), and future income (where it is low).”
      Asset account
      Current income account
      Future income account
      M. Bertrand (U. Chicago), S. Mullainathan (MIT), & E. Shafir (Princeton), 2004, A Behavioral-Economics View of Poverty. American Economic Review, 94, 419-423, 420
    • 75. Financial partitioning device
    • 76. A credit request freeze allows consumers to freeze their credit files. No credit applications without going through the thaw request process.
    • 77. Can you implement your own mandatory cooling off periods?
      Gold Credit Card
      0000 2222 1001 0051
      Example:Putting your credit card in a block of ice
      Other ideas?
    • 78. Increasing decision points
      required for negative options
      Decreasing decision points
      Required for positive options
    • 79. 800,000 eligible employees at 657 companies
      401(k) plans ranged from 2 to 60 investment options
      As choices increased what happened to the likelihood of investing?
      Decreased b) Increased c) Stayed the same
    • 80. S. Botti (Cornell) & S. S. Iyengar (Columbia), 2006, The dark side of choice: When choice impairs social welfare. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 25(1), 24-38.
    • 81. Our decision-making can be thought of as the outcome of a game between the “elephant” and the “rider”. The elephant is (1) emotional,
      (2) focused on now, (3) fears loss
      The elephant is stronger, but the
      rider can alter the elephant’s
      future environment by
      Emotional future
      imaging
      (2) Changing the elephant’s
      future rewards and
      penalties through
      pre-commitment
      (3) Changing the number of
      decision points
      Long-term
      Patient
      Planner
      Impartial spectator
      Deliberative
      Cold state
      Short-term
      Impulsive
      Doer
      Passions
      Affective/Visceral
      Hot state

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