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4 min read

How Biases May Create Blind Spots

How Biases May Create Blind Spots

Money Energy Law #15:

Biases can distort decision-making. These are your blind spots and reduce your money energy.

Decision-making is fundamentally a cognitive action resulting from a mixture of instincts, intuition, rules of thumb, and thinking that may be rational or irrational, often based purely on assumptions rather than being entirely evidence-based. More often than you may realize, the choices we make are based on incomplete information. That’s because we don’t have 100% of the information, nor the probabilities, nor can we measure the level of satisfaction beforehand. We are forced to take mental short-cuts called heuristics. It also opens the doors to biases.

Behavioral biases are irrational beliefs or emotional reactions that can consciously influence our ability to manage our money efficiently and effectively. Not only do they have the potential to diminish rational decision-making, but they can reduce your Money Energy potential—developing blind spots. 

“System 1” Versus “System 2” Thinking

Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow, addresses our mental process and breaks it down into two systems of behavior:

  • System 1: the fast, automatic biases that come from the instinctive use of intuition or prior learning. We look for causation, patterns, or triggered emotions. Examples are when we absent-mindedly read a sign on the highway or a banner ad on a website. It’s knowing how to tie your shoelace or just breathing without requiring any concentration to accomplish those tasks. Think of it as the rabbit and its advantage is speed of response, but its disadvantage is jumping to conclusions. Interestingly, Kahneman says that 95% of decisions come from System 1 automatic behavior.

  • System 2: the slower biases which come from more conscious thinking. They involve more thought processing and computations. Examples are when it is necessary to solve far more complex problems such as creating a budget, planning for a vacation, or any decision requiring more mental activities. Think of it as the tortoise and its advantage is it allows for greater reflection and contemplation, but its disadvantage is that System 2 thinking requires more time, effort, and energy.


The same framework is embedded in DNA Behavior’s methodology.

The System 1 and System 2 framework explained by Kahneman shares similar thinking to what DNA Behavior independently adopted when we launched our comprehensive Financial DNA Discovery System back in 2001. We also revealed something interesting. Natural DNA Behavior, which reflects a person’s instinctive behavior, is like System 1 and dominates 95% of all decision-making. People will naturally revert to their automatic (inherent) behaviors, especially under feelings of anxiety or stress. 

To overcome or reduce the influences of biases, it requires awareness of one’s behavioral style. If not known and understood, it can alter and confuse, or even distort decision-making. The less aware, the higher the risk of Money Energy depletion. That’s because poor choices, particularly those that are perpetually repeated, can be detrimental to your Money Energy Potential. However, becoming more cognizant can transform biases into strengths when consciously drawn upon in an overall decision-making process. 

The Connection to Money Energy

Ultimately, your Money Energy reflects your natural behavioral style. It’s ingrained into you early in life and is later built on by learned behaviors based on experiences, education, and values. The starting point is measuring your level of Money Energy. (DNA Behavior offers a separate discovery program for subscribers, which does just that.) Another contributing factor is your willingness to discuss money openly and safely, and continually learn about behavioral biases that can build stress, weaken your ability to make sound decisions, and their effect on money management. As an example, let’s observe how bias influence choices, energy, and opportunities.

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Constrained by Mental Accounting

Mental accounting describes how people code, categorize, and evaluate economic outcomes. Richard Thaler first named the concept. It’s associated with the way we budget and categorize expenditures. Put simply – it’s how we allocate money (savings, investments, and goals) into labeled buckets based on how we define its utility (the value and satisfaction level we give it), which may lead to compartmentalizing money irrationally. This form of intense, and potentially rigid, budgeting could be driven to a place of irrationality led by fear of insufficient funds for goals, retirement, acquired debt, or memories of parents' financial loss. But whatever the driving source, mental accounting in this way can block money energy and opportunities, as well as cause anxiety leading to health problems.

Patricia’s Rigid Bucketing System

Let me introduce to you Patricia Murphy. She is a project manager who works on local government system projects. She is married and has two children. Due to the nature of her occupation, she has relocated several times. She is about to purchase a new home. 

Patricia has a Reflective Thinker DNA Style. She is naturally focused, well-organized, and conducts a great deal of System 2 thinking. However, this makes her prone to mental accounting bias when it comes to her spending, saving, and investing. And she can be quite stubborn when discussing her finances. She has her ‘labeled buckets’ within each category and messing with them is a no-no. 

Aware of the house hunting, her financial advisor recommended that she might want to view properties closer to her work and better schools for her children, as well as a more up-market area. However, this would mean a larger purchase price (more money than what is in that ‘bucket’) but travelling expenses would be less and the resale would be much higher—a consideration since she has relocated frequently throughout her career. The overall opportunity would give a boost to her Money Energy.

Patricia was excited by the prospect. After all, she wants the best for herself and her children, but unfortunately her obsession with compartmentalizing her money, and the thought of “depleting funds from other buckets,” prevented her from moving forward. Perhaps she would have chosen differently had she explored deeper insights into her behavioral style, which are available through DNA Behavior’s various subscription-based solutions.

Take a moment to consider your own financial decision-making. Have you ever fallen into the behavioral trap of mental accounting?

I hope you’ll take your journey one step further and explore one of DNA Behavior’s Subscriptions. Gain access to as little or as much as you need for yourself, your business, or a mix of both! Isn't it time you learned an improved method to achieve better financial wellbeing? Stay tuned every week as we continue to reveal all 40 Laws of Money Energy.

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