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Tag: InBev Anheuser-Busch
Avoid Financial Framing: Shed Your Behavioral Blinders
In the horse-and-buggy days, it was common to put blinders on your trusty steeds. It helped them narrow their frame of reference to the job at hand … or at hoof.
Even today, blinders remain a great strategy for those Budweiser Clydesdales. But for us humans, a similar behavioral bias known as narrow framing is more likely to knock us off-course than keep us sensibly invested.
What am I talking about? UCLA’s behavioral economist Shlomo Benartzi recently published an insightful Wall Street Journal piece on the subject. In it, he describes narrow framing as “a tendency to see investments without considering the context of the overall portfolio.”
“The first [narrow framing] mistake involves people taking too little risk, which often leads to lower investment returns. When we engage in narrow framing, we tend to focus on short-term losses. … The second mistake involves people taking on too much risk without realizing it. When we don’t think about our entire portfolio, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many of our different investments might fall or fail for similar reasons.”
In other words, overly narrow framing can result in ignoring instead of accurately assessing your own and the market’s landscape of inherent risks and potential rewards. You end up investing like a horse with blinders on – but nobody is steering the cart.
Fortunately, Benartzi offers a few practical solutions, which just happen to coincide with our way of doing business here at Hill Investment Group.
“Rely on information that reflects the biggest possible picture,” he advises, but “remember not to look at it too often.” Sounds a lot like our motto: Take the Long View®, don’t you think? Helping families view their big picture is core to our approach.
Benartzi also notes that today’s aggregation software – like our recently released HIG’s Client Portal – makes it easier than ever to see the grand scheme of things at a glance.
If you’ve never had the chance to catch the Budweiser Clydesdales in action, I recommend it highly. (No, a Super Bowl commercial doesn’t count.) But when it comes to your investments, let your advisor and today’s technological tools help you eliminate your narrow-framing blinders. Being blinded will only lead you astray.
InBev Anheuser-Busch: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?
While nostalgia can be an effective way to market beer, in my opinion, it’s no way to manage a brewery’s 401(k) plan. At least not if it hearkens back to a time when it was routine for plan sponsors to load up a 401(k) plan with high-cost investment selections and expect participants to sort it out for themselves.
This is what I fear has happened when InBev Anheuser-Busch (A-B) proudly announced nine additions to its 401(k) plan investment current lineup of low-cost, passively managed index funds. Much to my disappointment, the additions represent a confusing mix of mostly active funds.
When I was assistant treasurer at A-B in the mid-80s, I was proud to help the company become one of the first in the nation to replace all active funds with index funds in both its 401(k) plan lineup and pension plan investments. Our early leadership has since become common practice, buttressed by the empirical evidence on how to advance retirement plan participants’ successful outcomes.
There is a glimmer of hope in the mix. Dimensional Fund Advisors appears to be among the firms A-B announced in its new “active management” lineup. While Dimensional offers a different strategy from traditional indexing – something we refer to as “evidence-based investing” – it’s not traditionally active either. Dimensional is itself a leading advocate of avoiding largely fruitless attempts to beat the market through stock-picking or market-timing.
Even with this positive exception, I feel the new lineup still represents an unfortunate shift, sacrificing better choices on the altar of more choices.
Maybe I’m being nostalgic, but the A-B I knew, knew better.