Mea Culpas: ‘Fresh mistakes, every year’



Its my annual mea culpas column for the Washington Post Business Section column.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

“Once again, it is the time of year when I look back at the various investing, trading and other mistakes I’ve made. (Last year’s version is here; prior years can be found here).

Why go through this annual review of blunders?

Rather than engage in the sort of selective retention that so many investors tend to do and pretend mistakes never happened, I prefer to “own” them. This allows me to learn from them, and with any luck avoid making the same errors again.

My motto: “Fresh mistakes, every year.”

It also provides a good opportunity for humility — a reminder of how little we actually know, and how much our expectations about the future are often at odds with what actually occurs. Ray Dalio, who runs the world’s largest hedge fund, observes this is how we “live up to our potential” as investors. The alternative is continually lying to oneself — about how smart we can be, how insightful our worldview is and what great investors we are. I am reminded of an old Yiddish expression: “Man plans, and God laughs.”

What mistakes did you make last year?


My motto: ‘Fresh mistakes, every year’
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, February 9 2014

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