Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

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Taylor Larimore
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Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:38 am

Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
I am surprised at the results because the long-term trend of stocks has been UP (harder to lose money) and also I was under the impression that winners brag and losers tend to remain quiet.

I would appreciate your thoughts?

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by dickenjb » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:47 am

Recency bias? Many people are still smarting from the 2008-2009 sell off, and many sold out at or near the bottom.

I'll bet in 1999 the search would have turned out the opposite, when "everyone" was making money in tech stocks and "everyone" was a genius stock picker.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by baw703916 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:47 am

I remember reading somewhere that a loss is twice as emotionally intense as a gain. Maybe these results suggest that it's actually a factor of 5?

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by steve_14 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:50 am

On the other hand "stocks lost money" came back with 111M hits, while "stocks made money" returned 267M, so maybe it's how you phrase the question.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:26 pm

I typed in "Taylor Larimore" and got 572,000 hits.

I typed in "Taylor Lariless" and got 10 hits.

Proof that people care more about the positive! ;)

Seriously, though, I wouldn't go by the number of hits returned.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:34 pm

I typed in my real life name and got 166,000 hits.

Proof people care more about Taylor than me! (and to add insult to injury, most of my hits were not even about me!). :oops:

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:54 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
Group 1 invested in index funds.
Group 2 chose individual stocks.

I typed cheese_breath and got 72,400 hits. But the results are bogus because Google removed the underscore between cheese and breath. Then I put quotes around cheese_breath and reduced it to only 48,900 hits. Google still removed the underscore, but somehow I got less hits. I didn't examine them all to discover what made the difference.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:59 pm

I typed cheese_breath and got 72,400 hits. But the results are bogus because Google removed the underscore between cheese and breath. Then I put quotes around cheese_breath and reduced it to only 48,900 hits. Google still removed the underscore, but somehow I got less hits. I didn't examine them all to discover what made the difference.

I tried "Boglenaut" and got 46,500 hits, the most interesting one of which was that I am currently in 10th place in the 2014 Boglehead stock prediction contest. :sharebeer

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:07 pm

stock market gains--70,600,000
stock market losses--107,000,000

"stock market gains" (in quotation marks)--2,830,000
"stock market losses" (in quotation marks)--73,300

"stock market gained" (in quotation marks)--1,330,000
"stock market lost" i(in quotation marks)--631,000

"Dow rose" (in quotation marks)--128,000
"Dow fell" i(in quotation marks)--138,000

"bull market" (in quotation marks)--4,790,000
"bear market" (in quotation marks)--3,170,000

"stock market went up" (in quotation marks)--392,000
"stock market went down" (in quotation marks)--273,000

My conclusion? It is all mysterious and I no idea what to make of any of it.

Meanwhile:

Gandhi--118,000,000
Ghandi--"About 211,000,000 results (0.62 seconds) Did you mean: gandhi"

Now, that is scary. If things go on like that, in ten years Ghandi will become the correct spelling.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Fallible » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:16 pm

The bigger the numbers the curiouser it gets - what do they mean? :confused
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:20 pm

Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... exactly what did you type into the search box? That is, what punctuation marks did you use, where? Try typing exactly what you typed and then using the "underline" attribute so that it's clear what kinds of punctuation marks you actually used. I get very very weird results of I actually use any single quotatation marks (apostrophes), they must have some special meaning in Google searches
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by staythecourse » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:25 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
I am surprised at the results because the long-term trend of stocks has been UP (harder to lose money) and also I was under the impression that winners brag and losers tend to remain quiet.

I would appreciate your thoughts?

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor,

This was a great, simple experiment again proving that stock returns and investor returns do not go hand in hand. The delta would be explained by active management (security selection and market timing). The interesting thing is it would seem "lost a lot of money" is A LOT more then Dalbar studies would indicate, no??

Maybe there is a selection bias of those using the internet more (young folks) who are usually more brash and active in investing thus leading to more losses??
Since we know those who are more educated do WORSE in investing, ?Odean/ Barber study, it may apply to those who research more about investing do worse? That would be an interesting finding wouldn't it? The more one researches/ reads about investing the more one starts to believe in some active management technique.

Personally, I like to read about different techniques in investing just to see if I can find something better/ predictable then passive investing, but sadly I come back to bogleheads as I have not seen ANY reproducible data to support more active investing. I do admit though I have found a few techniques that I have tried backtesting that was close, but not much better then just using index funds and throwing x amount of each paycheck into each month until I retire!!

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by bondsr4me » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:26 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
I am surprised at the results because the long-term trend of stocks has been UP (harder to lose money) and also I was under the impression that winners brag and losers tend to remain quiet.

I would appreciate your thoughts?

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
Great post!
Much to my dismay, I have more experience with #2.....BUT.....that was BEFORE I found this forum!
Thanks to you Taylor and all the posters for all your information and insights!
Happy "Investing" to everyone
Don

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by ajcp » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:29 pm

cheese_breath wrote: I typed cheese_breath and got 72,400 hits. But the results are bogus because Google removed the underscore between cheese and breath. Then I put quotes around cheese_breath and reduced it to only 48,900 hits. Google still removed the underscore, but somehow I got less hits. I didn't examine them all to discover what made the difference.
I got 580,000, underscore intact. 22 million if the underscore was removed. So I'm kinda confused about what you did.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:34 pm

Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... exactly what did you type into the search box? That is, what punctuation marks did you use, where? Try typing exactly what you typed and then using the "underline" attribute so that it's clear what kinds of punctuation marks you actually used.
AJ and Nisiprious:

Not positive, but I think I put in these words and punctuation's in my two Google searches:

First search: Stocks. "I made a lot of money"

Second search: Stocks. "I lost a lot of money"

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Grasshopper » Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:52 pm

It must be raining in Bogleland. :beer

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Quickfoot » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:40 pm

People remember negative experiences longer and are also 5-10 times more likely to share a negative experience than a positive experience. This is why companies that stay in business put such a high value on customer service, it really isn't about that individual customer, it's about the 20+ other customers they will lose if they don't make him/her happy (customer shares to 5 people, each other person shares to at least 5 people, goes downhill for them from there).

We also know that people stink at investing, they sell and buy at precisely the wrong times, so even though there has been enormous potential to grow wealth with stocks people in general fail to capitalize and wind up losing money.
I remember reading somewhere that a loss is twice as emotionally intense as a gain. Maybe these results suggest that it's actually a factor of 5?
Humans by nature are incredibly risk adverse, it insures our survival. Losing money definately triggers a much stronger reaction in the average human than gaining it. Invester pyschology is much more important than a lot of other factors in investing, even more important than ER. An invester that pays 2% ER a year but stays the course and makes good decisions will be better off than one that pays 0.15% ER but jumps in / out at of stocks at precisely the wrong time.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:46 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... exactly what did you type into the search box? That is, what punctuation marks did you use, where? Try typing exactly what you typed and then using the "underline" attribute so that it's clear what kinds of punctuation marks you actually used.
AJ and Nisiprious:

Not positive, but I think I put in these words and punctuation's in my two Google searches:

First search: Stocks. "I made a lot of money"
I get: 943,000 hits, about the same as you did.
Second search: Stocks. "I lost a lot of money"
But on that one, I only get 443,000 hits.

If I omit the close quote: Stocks. "I made a lot of money I get 2,840,000,000 hits. I can't find any variation that gets me in the ballpark of four million.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:45 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... exactly what did you type into the search box? That is, what punctuation marks did you use, where? Try typing exactly what you typed and then using the "underline" attribute so that it's clear what kinds of punctuation marks you actually used.
AJ and Nisiprious:

Not positive, but I think I put in these words and punctuation's in my two Google searches:

First search: Stocks. "I made a lot of money"
I get: 943,000 hits, about the same as you did.
Second search: Stocks. "I lost a lot of money"
But on that one, I only get 443,000 hits.

If I omit the close quote: Stocks. "I made a lot of money I get 2,840,000,000 hits. I can't find any variation that gets me in the ballpark of four million.
Nisiprius:

I repeated my "search" and also couldn't come close to the four million figure. Now I'm no longer surprised.

Thank you for catching my "search" error.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by in_reality » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:54 pm

"boglehead" About 118,000 results
"bogleheads" About 763,000 results
"bobblehead" About 2,150,000 results
"flight 370" About 1,250,000,000 results

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by ginmqi » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:48 pm

baw703916 wrote:I remember reading somewhere that a loss is twice as emotionally intense as a gain. Maybe these results suggest that it's actually a factor of 5?

Brad
Recently read Bernstein's Investor Manifesto and he has it in there. Basically you feel lot more pain losing $1 than gaining $2. It's the way brain is wired.

When the market crashes, ie 1929/2000/2008, people panick and doomsday reports are all over the news. You never hear about the steadfast BH investor who salivated at the chance for cheap stocks in 2000/2008 and stayed the course and is now retiring a multi-millionaire. :wink:

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Browser » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:21 pm

I typed in "browser" and I'm still counting the number of hits -- I am one popular guy. :D
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:07 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... I repeated my "search" and also couldn't come close to the four million figure. Now I'm no longer surprised.

Thank you for catching my "search" error.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Sorry to have been the bearer of disappointment, because it was such an interesting observation. But Google is weird. Among other things, it saves some kind of information about you, and two different people won't necessarily get the same results from the same Google search.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Leeraar » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:01 pm

Bogleheads search Google: 17,800
Bogleheads do not search Google: 13,900

L.
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by ajcp » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:12 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
Taylor Larimore wrote:
Taylor, I'm having trouble reproducing your results... I repeated my "search" and also couldn't come close to the four million figure. Now I'm no longer surprised.

Thank you for catching my "search" error.

Best wishes.
Taylor
Sorry to have been the bearer of disappointment, because it was such an interesting observation. But Google is weird. Among other things, it saves some kind of information about you, and two different people won't necessarily get the same results from the same Google search.
They may get a different order of results (I wouldn't have said weird though, I think it's useful). But I don't think it should affect number of results at all.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:26 pm

ajcp wrote:
cheese_breath wrote: I typed cheese_breath and got 72,400 hits. But the results are bogus because Google removed the underscore between cheese and breath. Then I put quotes around cheese_breath and reduced it to only 48,900 hits. Google still removed the underscore, but somehow I got less hits. I didn't examine them all to discover what made the difference.
I got 580,000, underscore intact. 22 million if the underscore was removed. So I'm kinda confused about what you did.
Maybe nisiprius has the answer.
nisiprius wrote:Sorry to have been the bearer of disappointment, because it was such an interesting observation. But Google is weird. Among other things, it saves some kind of information about you, and two different people won't necessarily get the same results from the same Google search.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by kdmusic » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:18 am

All compelling stuff, but for truly epic time wasting, Google ngram is the way to go. My favorite:

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?c ... ex%3B%2Cc0

kdm

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by protagonist » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:05 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
I am surprised at the results because the long-term trend of stocks has been UP (harder to lose money) and also I was under the impression that winners brag and losers tend to remain quiet.

I would appreciate your thoughts?

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
People are more likely to seek advice...eg go to the internet....when they panic. "I made a lot of money" is just bragging rights. "I lost a lot of money" is desperation.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by ot1138 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:48 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:Bogleheads:

I put two questions in Google about stocks and came up with these results:
1."Stocks. 'I made a lot of money'" = 958,000 hits.
2."Stocks. 'I lost a lot of money'" = 4,840,000 hits.
I am surprised at the results because the long-term trend of stocks has been UP (harder to lose money) and also I was under the impression that winners brag and losers tend to remain quiet.

I would appreciate your thoughts?

Thank you and best wishes.
Taylor
"I made a lot of money in stocks" is a common spammer's angle and most of these pages will have been filtered out of the search results.

invest0
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by invest0 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:08 pm

Oh no, the SEO guy is here. Let's see how far the rabbit hole goes!

http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q= ... ins&cmpt=q

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:22 pm

Well, misery loves company and negative news generates much more interest than does positive news, look at local news programs.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Orion » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:24 pm

I replaced "stocks" in these searches with "potatoes" and the made money results were more than twice the lost money results.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Runalong » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:04 am

Quickfoot wrote:We also know that people stink at investing, they sell and buy at precisely the wrong times, so even though there has been enormous potential to grow wealth with stocks people in general fail to capitalize and wind up losing money.
Logically, the more true this statement is, the easier it should be to make money investing by exploiting the failings of the masses, and the less true it is the harder it would be.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by gmtret » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:51 am

Folks, please... it must be nothing more than semantics; so be thankful that words have meaning... or something. :confused
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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by Jeff7 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:44 am

Quickfoot wrote:People remember negative experiences longer and are also 5-10 times more likely to share a negative experience than a positive experience. This is why companies that stay in business put such a high value on customer service, it really isn't about that individual customer, it's about the 20+ other customers they will lose if they don't make him/her happy (customer shares to 5 people, each other person shares to at least 5 people, goes downhill for them from there).
...
Agreed.
Back when I worked retail, there was some kind of list that showed the number of "good" phonecalls to "bad" phonecalls, and the bad ones were nearly always more numerous.

I don't know about anyone else, but if I have a positive shopping experience, I'm not going to call. I consider that "meeting expectations," which are just what they sound like: They're what's expected. A machine doesn't stop each time it finishes a job so that it can be lavished with praise. It stops when it senses something's gone wrong. Likewise, I don't expect to receive a notification of "You have performed adequately" every time I do my job properly.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by StealthWealth » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:54 am

I would recommend opening an incognito window (ctrl + shift + n) in chrome to get results that are not predicated on your previous search history. I believe that it should result in seeing the same results across users. As mentioned previously the results that we see can be heavily dependent on past browsing history.

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by EyeYield » Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:03 pm

What this proves is, that like everyone else, google knows nuthin. :mrgreen:
"The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing." - Jack Bogle

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Re: Investing in stocks--A surprising Google report ?

Post by inbox788 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:24 pm

EyeYield wrote:What this proves is, that like everyone else, google knows nuthin. :mrgreen:
A couple of years back, Google Flu Trends provided an encouraging idea:
Monitoring Internet search traffic about influenza may prove to be a better way for hospital emergency rooms to prepare for a surge in sick patients compared to waiting for outdated government flu case reports.
Hopkins Researchers Find "Google Flu Trends" A Powerful Early Warning System for Emergency Departments
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/med ... epartments

But today, results are still "discouraging":

The Mystery of the Exploding Tongue. How reliable is Google Flu Trends?
http://www.slate.com/articles/technolog ... thods.html

There's some data there in both stocks and flu, but getting at the information is very hard.

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