Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

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Pierre Delecto
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Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by Pierre Delecto »

Two questions:

1. Do you think the Bogleheads forum has a notable tilt toward pessimism or optimism for future investment performance?

2. If yes to 1, has your active participation in the forum led to any confirmation bias on your part that you think has negatively impacted your investment decisions and/or returns?

Please elaborate. Thanks!
Dottie57
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by Dottie57 »

No. I think with a three fund portfolio one is willing to take market returns.

There are pockets of optimism and pessimism but the varying viewpoints balance out and give valuable viewpoints to ponder.
L82GAME
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by L82GAME »

Pierre Delecto wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:42 pm Two questions:

1. Do you think the Bogleheads forum has a notable tilt toward pessimism or optimism for future investment performance?

2. If yes to 1, has your active participation in the forum led to any confirmation bias on your part that you think has negatively impacted your investment decisions and/or returns?

Please elaborate. Thanks!
No.
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AerialWombat
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by AerialWombat »

1. I see neither optimism or pessimism here, but rather realism and altruism.

2. The forum helps me stay the course.
Trader Joe
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by Trader Joe »

Pierre Delecto wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:42 pm Two questions:

1. Do you think the Bogleheads forum has a notable tilt toward pessimism or optimism for future investment performance?

2. If yes to 1, has your active participation in the forum led to any confirmation bias on your part that you think has negatively impacted your investment decisions and/or returns?

Please elaborate. Thanks!
1. No.
2. See #1 above.
bigred77
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by bigred77 »

I notice a distinct pessimistic tilt while reading Bogleheads.

I don't know if it's a vocal minority of members or truly representative of the active population.
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1789
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by 1789 »

Maybe. Most people here are i would say more realistic than the general public. This is not pessimism, imo. I value the experience from people who has gone thru hell in their investment lives. It is always educating to learn from them. They are the ones who suffered thru 1987, dot com bust, great recession etc.. My participation in the forum didn't change much in me because i am not just using forum, i am also reading a lot in the meantime. Most discussion in the forum and books i read reminds me what Daniel Kahneman says " Investors shouldn't delude themselves about beating the market. They are just not going to do it. It's not going to happen". So I am happy to be convinced with this.
"My conscience wants vegetarianism to win over the world. And my subconscious is yearning for a piece of juicy meat. But what do i want?" (Andrei Tarkovsky)
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steve roy
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by steve roy »

There are too many points of view on Bogleheads dot org to get a lot of reinforcement for one specific bias (except maybe avoiding high costs). Market timing? You’ll find proponents for it here. Three fund portfolio? Check. Factor investing? Value investing? Small cap? Double check.

There’s the “official” Bogleheads position and then there’s everything else. The various roads to Dublin are meandering and numerous.
Last edited by steve roy on Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Dottie57
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by Dottie57 »

bigred77 wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:58 pm I notice a distinct pessimistic tilt while reading Bogleheads.

I don't know if it's a vocal minority of members or truly representative of the active population.
Can you explain the pessimistic tilt? I would like to understand what is deemed pessimistic.
csmath
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by csmath »

Realism sure looks pessimistic next to optimism. I guess my point is that relativity to "outside" doesn't make something more or less accurate.
harvestbook
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by harvestbook »

You're going to find confirmation bias no matter your personal position or opinion. That's what it is.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.
bigred77
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by bigred77 »

Dottie57 wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:07 pm
bigred77 wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:58 pm I notice a distinct pessimistic tilt while reading Bogleheads.

I don't know if it's a vocal minority of members or truly representative of the active population.
Can you explain the pessimistic tilt? I would like to understand what is deemed pessimistic.
I see a lot of discussion around sub 4% (or even 3%) withdrawal rates, planning around 0% real returns for a balanced portfolio over multiple decades, building in assumptions for no social safety nets, planning for 1yr+ bouts of unemployment coinciding with a severe recession/depression, etc.

I understand the argument that this is just being a "realist" because these situations could actually happen. I just don't think people understand (or at least internalize) how unlikely these things are to happen or become necessary.
rockstar
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by rockstar »

I like when investors here disagree with me. They give me alternatives to think about. It’s great that it’s not an echo chamber.
MittensMoney
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by MittensMoney »

I think the attitude here is cautious, not pessimistic. Bogleheads are cautious and therefore plan for a worse outcome, because doing that will result in success regardless of whether they're right or wrong.
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by JonnyDVM »

bigred77 wrote: Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:58 pm I notice a distinct pessimistic tilt while reading Bogleheads.

I don't know if it's a vocal minority of members or truly representative of the active population.
Read the threads with folks advocating for a 2% SWD rate and tell me it doesn’t have a pessimistic tilt.
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Nowizard
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by Nowizard »

I would call it conservative rather than pessimistic, though there appear to be many who have hit their number and can be more conservative now than they perhaps were in the past. We are more optimistic than many if that is reflected by having a more aggressive portfolio than our need for risk would suggest. I find the forum to be incredibly supportive and almost totally devoid of personal confrontation, though there is open disagreement at times.

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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by MnD »

Yes, strong pessimism bias among a percentage of the community.
Tax rates, even in the middle brackets are certain to go up, social security and your pension will be greatly impaired, equity returns will be be much lower going forward, the rest of the world (ex-US) is a dangerous unlawful place full of corrupt institutions and citizens and should be largely or entirely avoided for investing, the tax torpedo of RMD's will blow up your tax-deferred retirement nest egg, a locked in base case for retirement spending must accommodate a far worse than ever observed worst case scenario in order to be considered conservative and prudent. Decades spent in nursing homes awaits you.....................

I'm glad I had my head on straight about the merits of investing in equity and a general retirement plan (date, rough retirement number and what income that could generate) before I started reading here or I might have run away screaming and limited my retirement investment plan to buying rental four-plexes or something like that.
70/30 AA for life, Global market cap equity. Rebalance if fixed income <25% or >35%. Weighted ER< .10%. 5% of annual portfolio balance SWR, Proportional (to AA) withdrawals.
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Re: Does being active on Bogleheads lead to confirmation bias?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread has run its course and is locked (not actionable). General comment threads are off topic in the forums with "Personal" in the title. See: A reminder that non-investing general comment threads are OT
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If you have a specific question, please ask directly and provide sufficient information for members to supply appropriate advice.

This thread would also be non-actionable in the general investing forum.
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