Commentary

Uncovering Your Real Goals

Steve Wendel
Samantha Lamas

What are your top investing goals? As investors, we all face this question at some point, and we generally have an answer. But have you ever looked at how stable or consistent your answers are, when you think about them in different contexts or at different times? It may surprise you, but researchers have found that we tend to answer with whatever is on our minds, which may not always be our true, long-term goals.

For example, let's say a friend recently read an article about vacation trips in Italy. When you ask about long-term goals, the responce might be: "I'd like to take exciting vacations," even though the person also cares deeply about leaving a legacy of charitable works. It's not that the person is insincere or that other goals aren't deeply held--it's just that is what's top of mind and easy to recall.