October 29, 2021
The Wisdom of Ignorance
It may seem like a misnomer to discuss the wisdom of being ignorant. Ignorance, defined as a lack of knowledge or information, is not generally viewed as a positive attribute. But it is absolutely essential for our individual success – both financial and psychological.
I am ignorant of how cell phones actually transmit my voice instantaneously across the globe to another person. I know that when I take medicine it may make me well, but I am ignorant of how the pill interacts with my cells to make it all happen. I am grateful other people know this so I can benefit from their knowledge. If we weren’t ignorant about certain things, we wouldn’t have the capacity to become an expert or a specialist in other things.
There is simply too much information for us to process everything. Selective attention and ignorance not only make the economies function, but they make us all need each other. We value each other and are grateful for others’ expertise where we are ignorant, and vice versa.
When it comes to investing, ignorance truly is bliss. The news story du jour, the quote of the hour, and the many unreliable predictions do not help investors achieve better results. On the contrary, many studies have shown that investors that pay attention to such fleeting information trade more often and achieve lower returns.1 In addition, the constantly changing market information produces greater stress and anxiety, which may weigh heavily on our personal lives and relationships.
I have infinite gratitude that I have a choice of what I pay attention to and what I ignore. We cannot control the volume, frequency or insanity of information, but we can choose what we allow in our minds.
With investing there is always something to worry about; always has been, always will be. But that is your choice. I have not heard of a single person, on their death bed, that wished they would have watched the market more often.
Be wise by exercising ignorance in those things that detract from your happiness focus your time and attention on what really matters!
Be well and invest wisely.
Douglas Eaton is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, CDFA®.
Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Eaton Financial Group, Doug has provided financial advisory services to individuals and families since 1996.
Eaton Financial Group is an SEC registered Investment Adviser (SEC #: 801-122301; FINRA CRD: 316323)
- Dalbar, Inc. Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior
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