Tag Archives: Psychology

The Financial Animal

“You and me, baby, ain’t nothing but mammals…”

The human brain is a remarkable thing. We have evolved all manner of traits which set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom: language, art, empathy, technology, philosophy, law, religion, music, virtue, war, entertainment, history, cookery, medicine, welfare, mathematics. It’s almost enough to fool us into thinking that we’re fundamentally different, made of something better than the organic mush the rest of nature is composed of. We certainly think of ourselves as logical, rational, objective thinking machines rather than primitive, animalistic beasts.

However there is one area where it is apparent to me that we are not half as clever as we think we are; another specific uniquely human characteristic: money.

We think that we make decisions, not just about money, but about life in general, based on the facts. We get a good understanding of the options, weigh up the pros and cons, and make sensible decisions. That’s what we tell ourselves, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that we are far more short-sighted and reactionary than that. Ultimately, our decisions are entirely emotional rather than rational.

We struggle with the abstract, arbitrary nature of money. It’s not tangible. It’s counter-intuitive. We have no instinctive grasp of the workings of our financial lives. We’re also very bad at planning. Anything which involves delayed gratification produces a natural reluctance. We want it all, and we want it now. Not to mention the tide of emotions evoked by our relationship with money. Fear, insecurity, desire, self-esteem, vanity, aspiration, guilt, mistrust, excitement, laziness, regret, determination. These are our drivers, not the cold, hard facts and figures.

Hence our planning, decision-making and thinking are flawed and result in irrational and self-defeating behaviour, and this dictates our fortunes.


I’m Ed. I seek to enlighten.

With a degree and a lifelong interest in psychology, I’m fascinated by human behaviour and how people are motivated and influenced in what they do.

I apply this interest in my work as a financial coach and adviser. Working in this role since 2004, I’ve learnt many lessons about how people think about money.

I aspire to being a polymath. As well as my professional work in the field of financial services, I have many and diverse interests and talents. I play the guitar and write songs saturated in meaning. I am an experienced Ultimate player. I support Arsenal football club. I love films and music. I read fiction, science and motivational books. I write.

I aim to gain and to share an understanding of the grand scheme of things and to show that there is nothing beyond the realms of possibility.