How to Avoid Common Investment Mistakes

As investors, each day we face triggers. Whether they manifest in our conversations with friends and colleagues, or in the barrage of daily media messaging, we are constantly surrounded by information that triggers hard-wired, internal “fight or flight” emotional responses. These responses originated as a means of survival for our ancestors who roamed the African Savannah, and have not adapted to our modern world. Most critically, they run counter to every sound investment decision we should make for long-term success.

Investment success can be distilled down to a single, simple principle: buy low and sell high. The difficulty lies in the implementation of a disciplined practice to consistently make decisions based on this principle, rather than be a victim of our counterintuitive emotional responses. So, if we apply a framework to our investment decision-making, we are more likely to remain disciplined and stick with reason over emotion.

The latest issue of The View from Burgundy was written with this approach in mind. David Vanderwood, Portfolio Manager for Canadian equities, borrows a behavioural economics framework from Richard Thaler’s new book, Misbehaving, and applies it to investing. He demonstrates how this structured approach can help us to remove ourselves from a place of emotional bias, avoid pervasive errors that hinder our investment returns and focus on sound decision-making for long-term success.


This post is presented for illustrative and discussion purposes only. It is not intended to provide investment advice and does not consider unique objectives, constraints or financial needs. Under no circumstances does this post suggest that you should time the market in any way or make investment decisions based on the content. Select securities may be used as examples to illustrate Burgundy’s investment philosophy. Burgundy funds or portfolios may or may not hold such securities for the whole demonstrated period. Investors are advised that their investments are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. This post is not intended as an offer to invest in any investment strategy presented by Burgundy. The information contained in this post is the opinion of Burgundy Asset Management and/or its employees as of the date of the post and is subject to change without notice. Please refer to the Legal section of this website for additional information.


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