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Cognitive and emotional biases can have a big impact on your financial life. Each episode of Financial Decoder looks closely at one financial decision--and the biases that might cloud your judgment and cost you money. Host Mark Riepe, head of the Schwab Center for Financial Research, decodes the behavioral and psychological factors at play and shares strategies designed to improve the way you approach financial crossroads. Other experts join Mark to provide their unique perspective on behavi ...
 
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Most people buy a stock because they think it’ll be a good investment. Nobody does so planning to lose money. But how exactly do you expect this particular stock or trade to make a profit for you? Do you have a trading plan? Most importantly, how will you guard against your own cognitive and emotional biases while trading? It’s a widely held belief…
 
In this year-end bonus episode, Schwab experts look ahead to consider what investors might expect in 2021. First, Mark talks with Liz Ann Sonders, Schwab’s chief investment strategist. Liz Ann offers her perspective on the direction of the U.S. economy and stock market. Vaccines represent a light at the end of the tunnel, but Liz Ann cautions that …
 
In Part 2 of this special two-part episode, Mark Riepe analyzes the decision of when to sell a mutual fund and an ETF. First, Mark talks with Michael Iachini. Michael is a vice president at Charles Schwab Investment Advisory and head of manager research. He and Mark discuss fund performance, the tax implications of selling, and what to do if the ma…
 
The very first episode of Financial Decoder discussed the sell decision—in part because there are so many cognitive and emotional biases that come into play with that decision. Many people are prone to something called the disposition effect, which is the tendency to sell assets that have increased in value but hold on to investments that have drop…
 
As a bonus for Financial Decoder listeners, here is a special election 2020 episode of WashingtonWise Investor. After an unprecedented election that saw both Joe Biden and Donald Trump receive more votes for president than any other candidates in history, the focus is shifting to how much of his agenda President-elect Biden will be able to enact. I…
 
It makes sense to have a certain level of familiarity with the securities we put in our portfolio. But just investing in familiar securities and products can blind us to other options that might benefit us. In this episode, Mark Riepe explores the “home bias”—or the tendency to invest in stocks from one’s home country—with Schwab’s Chief Global Inv…
 
Given the strong market rebound this year, many investors might wonder whether their performance is, in fact, good enough. And that makes sense—we all want high returns. But is shooting for the highest return really the best approach? If a portfolio lags the market indexes we see on the news, our inclination is to feel that something is wrong. Howe…
 
The coronavirus pandemic has created an enormous need for charitable giving, but there are other tax-smart reasons why donors might be encouraged to give more during this time. In fact, Schwab Charitable reports an impressive surge in giving over the past year. From January through June 2020, Schwab donors committed over $1.7 billion in 330,000 sep…
 
Schwab’s recent Modern Wealth Survey revealed that 57 percent of Americans say that they or a close family member has been financially impacted by COVID-19. There’s no doubt that 2020 has upended the plans—and financial plans—of millions of people. What can we learn from this crisis about risk planning? And are there any bright spots? In this speci…
 
Illusory correlations occur when people think a correlation between two variables exists, and that correlation, in reality, either isn’t there at all, or it’s much weaker than is commonly believed. One illusory correlation that affects investors right now is the correlation (or the lack thereof) between the performance of the economy and the perfor…
 
Leaving a job can be difficult, but understanding what to do with the 401(k) you leave behind shouldn’t add to the difficulty. In this episode, Mark Riepe explores the options available to you if you’ve left your employer but still have a 401(k). Mark Riepe talks with Nathan Voris, senior managing director at Schwab Retirement Plan Services. They d…
 
The recently passed CARES Act makes it easier for people to access money that’s locked away in their retirement accounts. In this episode, Mark Riepe explores the factors that determine whether you should use your retirement accounts to support current short-term expenses. To learn more about specific rules and strategies, Mark Riepe talks with Rob…
 
We all like low prices and big returns, but when faced with the decision of which bond to buy, should you pick the one with the higher yield? Should you, in essence, shop for a bond bargain? It could be that the yield number catches your attention because it is so salient. This decision is especially pertinent right now, given the low level of inte…
 
Imagine you’ve received a $1,000 windfall—a special bonus from work, or a gift, or even a small inheritance. Maybe you’ve never invested before, and you think now is the time to start. Or maybe you’ve already got a small portfolio, and you’re wondering what the smart thing is to do with this unexpected bit of good fortune. In this bonus episode, Ma…
 
When the market drops quickly, many investors scramble for the exits. Yet that decision is usually an emotional one rather than a rational one. In this special bonus episode, Mark Riepe discusses some tools that can help you stay the course with your plan. Mark talks with David Koenig, vice president and chief investment strategist for Schwab Intel…
 
Almost everyone has the goal of saving for retirement. But before you can do so, you face one of the most fundamental questions about investing: Which type of account should you choose? If you’re lucky enough to have a workplace retirement plan, that’s often a great place to start. But if you don’t—or even if you do and want to save more, or just w…
 
On Financial Decoder, we often emphasize the importance of taking a long-term approach to investing, but not everyone has that luxury. Some investors have bills to pay right now and need to pull money from their portfolios to make those payments. In this bonus episode, Mark Riepe discusses several approaches for selling smartly if and when you have…
 
Many people set New Year’s resolutions, but sadly, most don’t keep them. In this episode Mark Riepe offers several suggestions for keeping you on track with your resolutions, as well as proposing some specific resolutions that can help you better manage your financial life—whatever the date you choose to implement them. Mark talks with Carrie Schwa…
 
There’s clear evidence that the best way to achieve your financial goals is by starting with a plan. Unfortunately, the majority of people do not have a written plan. Why is that? In this episode, Mark Riepe and guest Jullie Strippoli discuss strategies to overcome some of the common mental barriers to getting started with a plan. Read more about S…
 
A top concern among those who are retired or about to retire is how to generate income from their portfolio. They’re leaving their primary job, need to replace the paycheck they used to get from their employer, and are looking for their portfolio to help make that happen. In this episode Mark talks with Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist at…
 
Today, many startups and most of the companies on the Fortune 500 list allow their employees to take ownership in the company through stock awards, employee stock purchase plans, stock options, or some other form of equity compensation. That’s a good thing because aligning the interests of employees and owners makes sense. But employees receiving e…
 
Throughout the holiday season, you might encounter dozens of appeals for charity. If you decide to give, or if you donate throughout the year, how can you maximize the impact of your gift? In this episode, Mark talks with Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable, a nonprofit organization established with the support of Charles Schwab & Co. to m…
 
What are your financial goals? What are your biggest concerns? Do you have a concrete plan to address your concerns and achieve your goals? In this episode, Mark talks with Cynthia Loh, vice president of digital advice and innovation at Schwab. Together they look at some proprietary empirical data involving the goals—and the biggest concerns—of rea…
 
In today’s world virtually everyone participates in the economy as either a borrower or a lender, and most people are both. If you’ve ever put money in a bank, then you’re a lender. If you’ve ever used a credit card, then you’re a borrower. In this episode, Mark Riepe talks with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz about the liability side of your personal bala…
 
Charles Schwab & Co. founder and Chairman of the Board Chuck Schwab discusses the decisions that led him to create a revolutionary business model for the brokerage industry. Chuck talks about his decision to start a business, his difficulties raising capital, and even how he convinced his wife to mortgage the house to support his upstart company. H…
 
Which generation is more prone to herding—millennials or Generation X? Should anchoring bias worry Baby Boomers or younger investors more? In this episode, Mark Riepe is joined by Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Investment Management and an expert in behavioral finance. Mark and Omar discuss the results of a su…
 
The financial services industry is heavily regulated. That means the politicians who write the laws and the regulators who execute those laws shape the environment in which individual investors make their decisions. In this episode, Mark Riepe is joined by Mike Townsend, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs at Schwab. Townsend is a…
 
Trading is a crucible of emotions and analysis. During volatile markets and periods of economic change, it is common for regular investors to ask whether they should be more active with their portfolios. In this episode, Mark Riepe is joined by Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. M…
 
Discussing what will happen to your children and your assets after you die might not sound like the most pleasant task. Is that why so many people don’t have wills or estate plans? Mark talks with Colleen O’Brien about what’s actually in an estate plan and how you can get started creating one. You can read more about the number of people without wi…
 
After saving up your whole life, is it finally the right time to retire? It’s a complex decision with a lot of variables. In this episode, Mark Riepe examines how affective forecasting and optimism bias could hinder you from making the best decision. Mark talks with Robert Aruldoss, a senior research analyst for financial planning at the Schwab Cen…
 
Saving for retirement can seem overwhelming—especially if you are 50 years old and haven’t saved nearly enough. Fortunately there are some provisions in the tax code that allow you to make additional contributions to tax-advantaged accounts. In this episode, Mark Riepe examines some of those provisions as well as a few biases that might actually he…
 
Your willingness and ability to take on risk in your portfolio has a significant effect on how your portfolio performs. However, perceptions of risk can be skewed by overconfidence, affective forecasting errors and other biases. In this episode, Mark Riepe explains how people’s tolerance for risk differs on a cognitive and emotional level, as well …
 
Two corrections for the broad market in 2018, coupled with bear markets in various segments of the market have many investors facing a decision: do I have the right level of diversification in my portfolio or do I need to make some changes? It’s likely that many people aren’t diversified as well as they should be. In this episode, Mark Riepe breaks…
 
A recent survey of people participating in 401(k) plans revealed that 62% of them expect their 401(k) to be their biggest source of income in retirement. But if these accounts are so critical to retirement, why are they so often neglected? In this episode Mark Riepe talks with experts from the world of retirement plan services: Catherine Golladay a…
 
Like any investment, bonds do come with their own set of risks. How can you best evaluate these different risks? It’s easy to be distracted by stories or personal experiences that aren’t necessarily representative of the current situation. In this episode, Mark Riepe talks with Kathy Jones, Schwab’s chief fixed income strategist, about the specific…
 
People are hardwired to value earning money more than saving it. A recent report shows that 26% of all workers have saved less than $1,000 for retirement and 64% have saved less than $100,000. In this episode, Mark Riepe talks with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz about ways to overcome some common mental blocks to saving more—and to put savings on autopilo…
 
What’s an acceptable level of performance for your portfolio? Before you can answer that question, you first have to be sure you’re calculating your returns correctly. Even professionals get it wrong sometimes. In this episode Mark examines how the availability heuristic and confirmation bias could affect your ability to make the best decisions wit…
 
In this episode of Financial Decoder, host Mark Riepe examines one of the most critical retirement decisions: When should you take Social Security? When you claim too early, your benefits are reduced, and yet a large percentage of people claim at the earliest possible age. What’s driving this decision? Mark looks at three psychological phenomena th…
 
In this episode of Financial Decoder, host Mark Riepe, head of the Schwab Center for Financial Research, examines the psychological forces that impact a common investing decision: What should you sell? Investors often spend a lot of time and energy trying to decide which investments are the best to buy. But what about when it is time to sell? In th…
 
In this new podcast, host Mark Riepe, head of the Schwab Center for Financial Research, unpacks important financial decisions and the biases that may prevent you from choosing wisely. Subscribe for free today to get the first episode when it launches November 5. Financial Decoder is an original podcast from Charles Schwab. Important Disclosures Inf…
 
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