How many times have you thought about starting a company, taking a year out to write that novel or leaving a loveless relationship but ended up doing nothing about it? A fear of regret – which is a powerful driver of maintaining the status quo in our lives – may be to blame.
As research in psychology, neuroscience and behavioural science has unveiled, regret can have a huge impact on our lives. Money and relationships are arguably the two issues that consume most of our emotional and mental resources, and regret affects our behaviour in both.
When it comes to money, a famous bias linked to regret is the “disposition effect”. This describes how investors hold on tight to losing assets. Whether it be a mutual fund, a specific stock or even the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, we are extremely reluctant to sell an asset at a loss. In fact, we rather hang on to it as it keeps dropping in value, hoping it will pick up again – regardless of whether that is likely....
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