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Tag Archives: ownership bias

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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