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Life's Unanswered Questions

By Morgan Housel - Oct 24, 2014 at 9:15AM

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Help me out here.

Help me out here...

Why do you check your stocks twice a day but your cholesterol twice a decade? The former is killing your emotions and the latter is killing you.

Why do companies still provide paper receipts? My grandma discovered email 15 years ago.

Why do companies limit the number of sick days employees can take? If you can't trust me when I say I have bronchitis, you shouldn't trust me to be your employee.

Why is 2008's 35% market crash so memorable, but 2013's 33% rally so forgettable? Answer this and you'll be a better investor.

Why is it so much easier to fool yourself than other people? It is amazing to watch smart investors convince themselves of something that clearly isn't true.

Why do companies ask job applicants for their SAT scores? If you have not improved as a person since age 17, no employer should want anything to do with you.

Why do we care what a 90-year-old company did in the last 90 days? Quarterly earnings are a showcase in short attention spans.

Why is tax policy that helps you called a "deduction," but when it helps someone else it's a "loophole?" Or were you trying to show your inability to be objective?

Why are we more concerned with other investors' mistakes than our own?

Why do we talk about long-term market returns without including dividends? It's like citing long-term history excluding January through April.

Why do most people know exactly how much they pay for their cell phone, which isn't much, but no idea how much they pay the person managing their 401(k), which is a fortune?

Why isn't there more desire for a reputable organization that tracks and scores pundits' forecasts? And a standard that says no forecast should be made without disclosing your track record?  

Why are most academic papers so densely written? The best writers in history use the shortest words, the shortest sentences, and the shortest paragraphs. How many PhDs do you need to learn this?

Why is compound interest so hard to understand? It's so simple, but smart people are humbled by its power. People's minds are blown when they hear that $65 billion of Warren Buffett's $68 billion net worth came after his 60th birthday.

Why does someone who understands why they can't afford a Ferrari think it's reasonable to attend private college? Grasp reality with both hands and buy what you can afford.

Why is investing in index funds called "passive" when there are hundreds of different indexes to choose from? You can be more active in indexes than picking stocks.

Why do we blame and credit presidents for the economy's performance when they have so little power? If the buck stops with anyone, it's the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Why do people pay $1,000 to go to a conference to hear someone talk about their book when they could just pay $10 to read the book? A work-paid vacation is my best guess, but huge inefficiencies here.

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