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投资理财

市场动荡,投资者如何才能保持理智?

Eric J. Dammann 2011年09月27日

全球经济形势动荡不安,投资市场起伏不定,投资者寝食难安。在这个疯狂的年代,投资者如何才能保持理智?

    当前世界经济乱象丛生,市场起伏不定,形势之恶劣为2008年金融危机以来所未见。这种动荡会对投资者的心理产生什么样的影响?现在正是研究这一问题的理想时机。金钱与人的心理状态息息相关,哪怕一点风吹草动,市场都会出现下跌,难怪人们经常抱怨市场如此“善变”。投资者之所以会抛售,而且通常是非理性的进行交易,恐慌是最主要的情感推动因素(昨天,道琼斯指数下跌391点便是最好的例子)。

    但大部分投资者其实并未意识到,除了市场上的集体心理活动,每个人或多或少都存在与金钱相关的心理问题。股市暴跌、抵押贷款膨胀、失业的威胁等等,这些自然都是造成压力的原因。但除此之外,关于金钱更严重的问题往往源自我们的内心。不论是否面临市场危机,正是内心的情绪驱使着人们在财务问题上做出非理性的举动。

    其中最显而易见的例子,便是我们所熟知的涉及金钱的病态心理,比如赌博成瘾、过度花费、囤积等。但在我们的日常生活中,其实还存在许多更不容易为人察觉的实例,比如无力应对日常财务问题,陷入一夜暴富骗局,超额借贷,或者无力处理重要的长期财务问题,比如资产规划等。

    涉及金钱的非理性在家庭生活中也扮演着重要的角色:父母无意之中向孩子传达的种种关于金钱的隐晦信息,或者因为对金钱斤斤计较而导致的家庭关系问题。在大量离婚案件中,金钱都是争论的焦点;而且,许多离婚案件无法友好解决也与金钱密切相关。

    有趣的是,涉及金钱的非理性在国家层面也同样非常明显,目前的金融危机就是最好的佐证。金融危机期间,很多美国规模最大的金融机构和监管部门所做出的决策在事后看来都是本可避免的、拙劣不堪的决策。

    那么,既然我们的金钱观都存在问题,又该如何纠正呢?首先需要明确的是金钱对我们的真正意义到底是什么。

    《韦氏词典》(Webster's)对金钱的定义是:

    1:公认的、作为交换媒介或价值衡量物的物品,或作为支付方式的物品:例如 a:官方铸造的金属货币

    2:以货币计算的财富 b:一笔钱

    3:硬币或纸币的面额

    《韦氏词典》的定义虽然准确,却并未阐明金钱对于人的意义。要想理解自己与金钱的关系,最简单的方法是回答下列问题:

    金钱 = (填空)?

    我曾在一次研讨会中向与会者提出过这个问题。他们的回答五花八门,连与会者自己都感到惊奇。其中最普遍的答案包括:控制、爱、权力、安全感、独立、自由、社会认可和吸引异性。另外一个简单的测试是明确自己使用金钱的方式,这样也能让你明白金钱的意义。例如,金钱可以用于示爱、惩罚、培养独立性、操控、羞辱,以及获得盟友。

    As the markets roil and uncertainty hangs over the economy in ways we haven't seen since 2008, it's a good time to address how all the turbulence has impacted investors' psyches. Money and psychology are inextricably linked, of course -- it's the reason people often call the markets "skittish" to explain drops with little cause. And fear and panic are the main emotions that drive investor selling, almost always irrationally (see yesterday's 391-point drop in the Dow as an example).

    But what most investors don't realize is that in addition to collective market psychology, almost everyone has his or her own individual psychological issues with money. While crashing stocks, ballooning mortgage payments, or the threat of job loss are understandable causes of stress, our more significant problems with money stem from our own internal issues that drive many people to act irrationally when it comes to financial matters -- whether there's a market crisis or not.

    The most obvious examples of these issues are the classic money-related pathologies we're all familiar with: gambling addiction, overspending, hoarding, etc. But there are many more subtle everyday examples -- the inability to deal with day to day financial tasks, falling for get rich quick schemes, taking on excessive debt, and the inability to attend to important long-term financial issues like estate planning.

    Irrationality with money plays a big role in families, too: the myriad subtle and unintended messages parents give to children regarding money, or relationship problems that can arise over insignificant amounts of money. In a significant number of divorces money is a central issue, and many problems with settling a divorce amicably are money related.

    Interestingly, irrationality with money is also evident on a national level, as evidenced by the ongoing financial crisis, during which many of our largest financial institutions and regulatory agencies made decisions that, in hindsight, were clearly problematic and avoidable.

    So if it's true that we all have money issues, how do we correct them? The first step is to identify what money means to you—what it really means to you.

    According to Webster's, money is:

    1: something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment: as a: officially coined or stamped metal currency

    2: wealth reckoned in terms of money b: an amount of money

    3: a form or denomination of coin or paper

    But this definition, while accurate, doesn't quite get at what money actually means to many people. An easy way to begin to understand your own relationship with money is to answer the following question:

    money = (fill in the blank)

    When I've posed this question to workshop participants, they've been amazed at how large and varied a list they create. Some of the most common answers are: control, love, power, security, safety, independence, freedom, social acceptance, and sexual appeal. Another easy test is to identify how money is being used, and you'll have a sense of what it means. For example, money can be used to show love, to punish, to foster dependence, to manipulate, to humiliate, and to create alliances.

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