7.1.9 Personal values, emotions and behaviours

When you make investment decisions, you need to get solid information and consider factors like risk, rate of return, effects of inflation, fees and taxes. But you also need to be aware of other factors that may affect your financial choices: factors like personal habits, values, emotions and behaviours.

Here are some examples:

Julie relies on her dad's investment advice.
Kailai doesn't read his investment statements.
Alicia likes to act boldly, even when investing.
Dylan says ethical investing is important to him.


When you invest, remember that you are making choices that can significantly affect your future. Carefully consider all the information you have, and ask for more if you need it. Think about how your own personal habits, values, emotions and behaviours affect the investment choices you make. Evaluate them together with the factual information you have before making a final decision.

Use this chart to review your decision-making each year when you review your investments. Mark the answer to the question at the end of each section.

My habits, values, emotions and behaviours

Yes No Sometimes

Financial habits are the activities you repeat without thinking, such as:

  • buying a coffee each day or going out for dinner every Friday
  • putting a fixed amount each month into a savings account.

Are my habits helping me to invest wisely?

Personal values can affect financial choices, such as:

  • avoiding anything that could reduce my family's financial security
  • preferring companies with a positive social record.

Are my values consistent with my investment goals?

Emotions may cloud the financial judgments you make, such as:

  • trusting the suggestions of a member of your faith or social group
  • following a financial advisor's suggestions because you don't want to hurt his or her feelings.

Are my emotions supporting my ability to analyze an investment and make a clear decision?

Financial behaviours are the ways you conduct yourself that affect your finances, such as:

  • acting impulsively and relying on intuition
  • thinking things through, acting methodically and researching.

Are my behaviours supporting my ability to act in a careful and thoughtful way when I invest?

What steps can I take to make sure my habits, values, emotions and behaviours do not limit my investment choices and actions? (For example, schedule a regular review with my advisor; write down pluses and minuses before making a decision; set up low-cost rewards like a cheap movie or music download when you resist a costly habit; etc.)

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