Free for 90 days: Sign up now and get 90 days managed free after your first deposit. See offer details

Coming soon: our new one-on-one advice packages. Learn more

Now available: our new one-on-one advice packages. Learn more

Get your entire Smart Saver balance managed free for 3 months. Enroll today

Get your entire Smart Saver balance managed free for 6 months. Enroll today

Introducing Smart Saver: You could earn 1.83% with our low-risk investing account for your extra cash.* Learn more

Financial Goals

Flying on Autopilot

We often hear financial experts say “put your finances on auto-pilot”, and there is plenty of data to back up this strategy.

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: September 17, 2012

Image Source: Shutterstock

But something about it feels intuitively wrong – when I’m making important decisions with my money, shouldn’t I continue making those decisions every step of the way? Well, unfortunately for us, humans make bad decisions based on emotion all the time…

Even the most sophisticated investors make poor decisions. Paul Graham, partner at VC firm Y Combinator, talks about counterintuitive knowledge in a recent article on his blog. While funding startups is very different to retail investing, the emotions involved are the same. Paul talks about making decisions you know to be right, and how to stick with them when irrational instincts kick in:

“To succeed in a domain that violates your intuitions, you need to be able to turn them off the way a pilot does when flying through clouds.”

Carl Richards touched on something similar last week – what we refer to here at Betterment as the “paradox of choice”. It’s important that we, as investors, are informed … but too much information can get in the way of being a good investor. Anxiety, rather than clarity, is often the result of an information overdose.

It’s good stuff so take a look:

Recommended Content

View All Resources
Acceptable Reasons for Holding Unused Cash in Smart Saver

Acceptable Reasons for Holding Unused Cash in Smart Saver

When you aren't yet sure when or how to spend or invest your unused cash, we offer Smart Saver, a managed account designed to handle your extra cash.

How We Use Your Dividends and Deposits to Keep Your Tax Bill Low

How We Use Your Dividends and Deposits to Keep Your Tax Bill Low

Every penny that comes into your account is used to rebalance dynamically—and in a tax-savvy way.

Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke

For most people, it’s difficult to say “I’m not sure” in a world that values and, even, rewards the appearance of certainty.

How would you like to get started?

Your first step toward a smarter investing future starts here.

Create a Betterment account

Go ahead and join the smart, modern way to invest.

See what we can do for you

Tell us a bit about yourself, and we'll show you the benefits of investing with us.

Get a free investing checkup

Help us get a sense of your investing approach and see how you could improve.

Transfer a 401(k) or an IRA

Move an existing retirement account into a Betterment IRA.

Download the mobile app

Enjoy the Betterment experience anywhere on the go.

Search our site

For more information and disclosures about the Betterment Resource Center, click here. | See our contributors.