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Money Monday – Sell or Hold?

Have you ever been in the midst of making a financial decision and felt stuck.

You arrive on a decision only to second guess yourself just a few minutes later.  You run the numbers over and over and still don’t feel 100% confident in the decision?

I know I have.  Sometimes what looks great on paper, the story the numbers seem to tell, feels different when you go to pull the trigger.

What might be happening is an ownership bias. 



When you own something, you like it more, just because you own it.  Seriously.

This can make it especially tricky when it comes time to make a decision around selling something.  Maybe you’re committed to paying off debt and selling the boat seems like a good way to go.  Or maybe you’re getting ready to buy a bigger house and trying to decide to sell or hold onto the smaller one.  

Because you own the item, your mind will likely value the item more than the markets or the financials do.

So how do you get around this?

First – be honest with yourself.  Do you actually own the item? If you have a loan against the item, it’s not yours, it’s the banks. Being honest about that can help reduce the ownership bias.  

Then ask yourself these questions:

1. Given your current goals and finances, would you go out and buy the item again today?  If not, what’s really holding you back from selling it?

2. What do you think it means if you sell the item?

3. What do you think it means if you don’t sell the item?

These questions will help you get some perspective on what you are trying to gain, besides money, by holding or selling.  They will help you see where you’re looking at the numbers and where your ownership bias is showing up.

I’d love to hear your experiences with ownership bias and how you moved past it.

Leave your comments and insights below. 

Email me your questions on money to christy.lambert@areyouthriving.com

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3 Responses to “Money Monday – Sell or Hold?”

  1. rebecca @ altared spaces October 17, 2011 12:43 pm #

    I’m not sure what you mean by the “meaning I’m attaching”. I’ve sold several homes because it was time to move. I’ve considered owning rental property but I don’t really want the reponsibility of fixing a home others are living in. Frankly, I have enough trouble keeping up with my own! Maybe this helps you know where I’m at!

    • Christy October 17, 2011 2:59 pm #

      Rebecca,
      Great question. Sometimes there is no meaning. Sometimes there’s a lot. For example If I sell my house it will mean I can follow my passion and be happy. Truth is you can be happy with our without the house. Or if I Keep the house it means I’m being successful by having a rental property. Having rental property isn’t what defines success. The goal is to clean up any meanings attached to make the decision from a clean place.

  2. Ruth Rueter February 7, 2012 4:47 pm #

    This really hit home with me since I was dealing with an emotional home sale and move. Your insight to ownership bias was priceless to me. It made me understand that the home sale price, which I thought should have been higher was only due to the love I had of my life there. I realized that day that the price was what the market would bear and we had moved on. From that day forward I was now freed from the idea of more money due to ownership bias. As you know the house sold and we are thankful for a nice offer and our time in the neighborhood. Thanks Christy!

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