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

<title>Dismiss</title>

Hoverboard Header

Financial Goals

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.

Articles by Jill Schlesinger

By Jill Schlesinger, CFP®
  |  Published: March 15, 2018

Daily life requires numerous decisions. Some easy, some difficult.  And some that have to be made without knowing a lot of pertinent information. And what we think is the best decision in the moment, doesn’t necessarily yield the best outcome.

There’s always an element of luck that you can’t control, and there is always information that is hidden from view. So perhaps the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets:

  • How sure am I?
  • What are the possible ways things could turn out?
  • What decision has the highest odds of success?
  • Did I land in the unlucky 10% on the strategy that works 90% of the time?
  • Or is my success attributable to dumb luck rather than great decision making?

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

By shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, you’ll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision making.

You’ll become more confident, calm, compassionate and successful in the long run.

Listen to the full interview with Annie Duke

The opinions stated on the Better Off podcast are those of the host, Jill Schlesinger, and her guests, and not those of Betterment or its employees. Any third party links provided are offered as a matter of convenience and are not intended to imply that Betterment endorses, or is affiliated with the owners of or any information contained on those sites, unless expressly stated otherwise. Listen to a preview and subscribe to “Better Off” here.

 

Recommended Content

View All Resources
How to Do a Direct IRA Transfer

How to Do a Direct IRA Transfer

If this is your first direct IRA transfer, don’t worry. We help process direct IRA transfers every day, and we’re here to make it as easy for you as possible.

10 Financial To-Dos Before Your First Wedding Anniversary

10 Financial To-Dos Before Your First Wedding Anniversary

Planning your financial life with your spouse can be very stressful. Here are ten considerations you should talk about before reaching your first anniversary.

ETF Selection for Portfolio Construction: A Methodology

ETF Selection for Portfolio Construction: A Methodology

Betterment seeks to maximize investor take-home returns, which drives our investment selection criteria and process.

Explore your first goal

Safety Net

This is a great place to start—an emergency fund for life's unplanned hiccups. A safety net is a conservative portfolio.

Retirement

Whether it's a long way off or just around the corner, we'll help you save for the retirement you deserve.

General Investing

If you want to invest and build wealth over time, then this is the goal for you. This is an excellent goal type for unknown future needs or money you plan to pass to future generations.

Smart Saver

You could earn 20X more than a typical savings account with our low-risk investing account for your extra cash.

<title>Close</title>

Search our site

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