Weekend Reads for Finance Pros: Happiness, Active vs. Passive Investing, and Millennials
One of my favorite pastimes is to walk through Central Park. I find a bench, take out my newspaper, and quietly survey the scenery. This morning I did just that en route to the office, and it reminded me that small things can lead to happiness.
I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, spurred, in part, by Shawn Achor’s TED talk on “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” Achor notes that only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ — 75% are predicted by “your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.” He believes we can train our brains to become more positive, that is to scan for the positive, not the negative, first. Dopamine not only makes us happier, it turns on all the learning centers in our brains.
He also believes that small changes can make a big difference, for example: random acts of kindness, exercise (which teaches our brains that behavior matters), and meditation, which “allows us to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once; it allows our brains to focus on the task at hand.” This is something Sharon Sloane, chief executive of Will Interactive, calls “chair time.” “It’s my time at home at the end of the day. I just sit quietly, turn my phone off, and I let the day wash over me. What really happened today?”
For some, introspection and happiness go hand in hand. But others go to great lengths people go to avoid introspection, even though researchers have found that an idle mind is “a crucible of creativity.” According to Jonathan Smallwood, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of York, in England: “Idle mental processing encourages creativity and solutions because imagining your problem when you aren’t in it is not the same as reality. Using your imagination means you are in fact rethinking the problem in a novel way.”
Here are some other articles and podcasts you may enjoy.
- “Your Core Portfolio: Sample Strategies for the Long Haul” (BlackRock blog)
- If you’re interested in hearing from some of the biggest names in investing and finance, unfiltered, and in your own time, check out Barry Ritholtz’s podcasts for the Masters in Business series. Recent interviews include Michael Mauboussin, Arthur Levitt, Rob Arnott, and Jeff Gundlach. (Bloomberg)
- “Confessions of an Index Investor” (Rick Ferri blog). See also: “We’re All Active Investors” (Pragmatic Capitalism)
- “There Really Never Has Been a Better Time to Be an Individual Investor” (The Big Picture)
- “Dangerous Investment World Generalizations” (Pragmatic Capitalism)
— CFA Private Wealth (@CFAwealth) August 1, 2014
- “A Hunt to Find the Next Generation of Financial Advisers” (Dealbook)
- “Unfortunate Realities of the Investment Business” (A Wealth of Common Sense)
- “The Recession Generation: How Millennials Are Changing Money Management Forever” (Forbes)
- A free retirement toolkit, courtesy of Uncle Sam. (The Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, PDF)
And Now For Something Completely Different
- What criteria do you use when promoting people? This article on nine traits of promotable employees focuses on attitude. Why? “Attitude informs action. Attitude informs behavior. Attitude is the driving force behind every achievement, every accomplishment, and every success.” (Inc.)
— Lauren Foster (@laurenfosternyc) July 29, 2014
Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.
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