Oct 24th 2016

Behavioral Finance (Coursera)

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We make thousands of decisions every day. Do I cross the road now, or wait for the oncoming truck to pass? Should I eat fries or a salad for lunch? How much should I tip the cab driver? We usually make these decisions with almost no thought, using what psychologists call “heuristics” – rules of thumb that enable us to navigate our lives. Without these mental shortcuts, we would be paralyzed by the multitude of daily choices.

But in certain circumstances, these shortcuts lead to predictable errors – predictable, that is, if we know what to watch out for. Did you know, for example, that we are naturally biased towards selling investments that are doing well for us, but holding on to those that are doing poorly? Or that we often select sub-optimal insurance payment plans, and routinely purchase insurance that we don’t even need? And why do so many of us fail to enroll in our employer’s corporate retirement plans, even when the employer offers to match our contributions?

Behavioral finance is the study of these and dozens of other financial decision-making errors that can be avoided, if we are familiar with the biases that cause them. In this course, we examine these predictable errors, and discover where we are most susceptible to them. This course is intended to guide participants towards better financial choices. Learn how to improve your spending, saving, and investing decisions for the future.