What Do Sleep and Your Investment Portfolio Have in Common?

Scientific research interests me, especially when it relates to something practical. Sometimes science reinforces conventional wisdom, sometimes not. Here are a couple of interesting, recent illustrations.


Dubious Advice: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Most successful and wealthy clients spend a good portion of their lives focusing on building their careers and net worth. Many assume the stress they endured has shortened their life expectancy, compared to less-focused, happy-go-lucky sorts of people.


Maybe not. In a 20-year-long “Longevity Project,” researchers at the University of California recently concluded that, on average, people who were the most cheerful and had the best sense of humor as kids lived shorter lives than those who were less cheerful and joking. It was the most prudent and persistent individuals who stayed healthiest and lived the longest. Looks like those dour, project-oriented wealthy folks will need all that money to fund a long retirement.


Sound Advice: Sleep On It

Your mom and dad were right: Academia confirms you should sleep on it before making major decisions, financial or otherwise. In a recent sleep-deprivation study, Duke University researchers demonstrated how even one poor night’s sleep caused study participants to become overly optimistic and take on more risk than their well-rested counterparts. Functional MRI tracking showed increased activity in the sleepy participants’ areas of the brain related to fear, risk and decision-making, resulting in over-confidence in the face of real risks.


So, if you’re considering a change to your investment portfolio, it might make good, common sense to first take two aspirin and think about it in the morning.


About the author

Tom Posey, CFP®, J.D., AAMS

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