The Psychology of Money - Deepstash
The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money

Morgan Housel



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Money: The Greatest Show On Earth

  • Doing well with money has little to do with how smart you are, and a lot to do with how you behave.
  • Financial success is not hard science, it’s a soft skill where how you behave is more important than what you know.
  • To grasp why people bury themselves in debt, you need to study the history of greed, insecurity, and optimism.
  • Not all success is due to hard work, and not all poverty is due to laziness. Keep this in mind when judging people, including yourself


8.79K reads

Luck And Risk

  • Luck and risk are siblings, they are both the reality that every outcome in life is guided by forces other than individual effort.
  • The world is too complex to allow 100% of your actions to dictate 100% of your outcomes.
  • When judging financial success, both your own and that of others, nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.
  • Be careful who you praise and admire, and be careful who you look down upon.
  • Be careful when assuming that 100% of outcomes can be attributed to effort and decisions.
  • Focus less on studying specific individuals and more on studying broad patterns.


5.27K reads


Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.



7.35K reads

Nothing is Ever Enough

  • There is no reason to risk what you have and need for what you don’t have and don’t need.
  • The hardest financial skill is getting the goalpost to stop moving.
  • If expectations rise with results there is no logic in striving for more because you’ll feel the same after putting in the extra effort.
  • Life isn’t any fun without a sense of enough.
  • Happiness equals results minus expectations.
  • Social comparison is the problem.
  • Accept that you might have enough, even if it is less than those around you.
  • Enough is not too little.


4.73K reads

The Compounding Of Money

  • Lessons from one field can often teach us something important about unrelated fields.
  • You do not need tremendous force to create tremendous results.
  • If something compounds, a small starting base can lead to extraordinary results.
  • Linear thinking is so much more intuitive than exponential thinking. You never get accustomed to how quickly things can grow with compounding.
  • The counterintuitiveness of compounding may be responsible for the majority of disappointing trades, bad strategies, and successful investing attempts.


3.83K reads

Maintaining Your Wealth

  • There are a million ways to get wealthy. The only way to stay wealthy is some combination of frugality and paranoia.
  • To summarize money success in a single word: survival.
  • Getting money and keeping money are two different skills.
  • Getting money requires taking risks, being optimistic, and putting yourself out there.
  • Keeping money requires the opposite of taking risks, it requires humility and fear that what you’ve made can be taken away from you just as fast.
  • The ability to stick around for a long time without wiping out, or being forced to give up, is what makes the biggest difference.


3.24K reads

Survival Mindset

  • Compounding doesn’t rely on earning big returns, merely good returns sustained uninterrupted for the longest period of time, will always win.
  • Many bets fail not because they were wrong, but because they were mostly right in a situation that required things to be exactly right.
  • Room for error often called the margin of safety is one of the most underappreciated forces in finance.
  • A mindset that can be paranoid and optimistic at the same time is hard to maintain.


2.83K reads

Heads And Tails

  • It is not intuitive that an investor can be wrong half the time and still make a fortune.
  • Anything that is huge, profitable, famous, or influential is the result of a tail event, an outlying one-in-thousands or millions event.
  • Most of our attention goes to things that are huge, profitable, famous, or influential.
  • When you accept that tails drive everything in business, investing, and finance, you realize that it’s normal for lots of things to go wrong, break, fail, and fall.


2.34K reads

True Wealth Is Freedom

  • The highest form of wealth is the ability to wake up and say “I can do whatever I want today.”
  • The ability to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want, is priceless. It is the highest dividend money pays.
  • Control over doing what you want, when you want to, with the people you want to, is the broadest lifestyle variable that makes people happy.
  • Money’s greatest intrinsic value is its ability to give you control over your time.


2.18K reads

Having Money In The Bank Gives You Independence

  • A small amount of wealth means the ability to take a few days off work when you are sick without breaking the bank.
  • To obtain bit by bit, a level of independence and autonomy that comes from unspent assets that give you greater control over what you can do and when you can do it.
  • Having six months of emergency expenses means not being terrified of your boss, because you know that you won’t be ruined if you have to take some time off to find a new job.
  • Using your money to buy time and options has a lifestyle benefit few luxury goods can compete with.


1.86K reads

The Paradox Of Wealth

  • The paradox of wealth is that people tend to want wealth to signal to others that they should be liked and admired.
  • You might think you want an expensive car, a fancy watch, and a huge house. What you really want is respect and admiration from other people.
  • You think having expensive stuff will bring it, but it almost never does, especially from the people you want to respect and admire you.
  • People generally aspire to be respected and admired by others, and using money to buy fancy things may bring less of it than you imagine.


1.9K reads

True Wealth Is What You Don’t See

  • Someone driving a $100,000 car might be wealthy. Or he may just be poorer by $100,000.
  • We tend to judge wealth by what we see because that is the information we have in front of us.
  • Wealth is the nice cars not purchased, the diamonds not bought, the watches not worn, and the first-class upgrade declined.
  • Wealth is financial assets that have not yet been converted into the stuff you see.

The only way to be wealthy is to not spend the money that you do have. It’s not just the only way to accumulate wealth, it is the very definition of wealth.


1.78K reads

Richie Rich

  • Rich is a current income. Someone driving a $100,000 car or living in a big house is almost certainly rich because you need a certain level of income to afford the monthly payment. It’s not hard to spot rich people. They often go out of their way to make themselves known.
  • Wealth is hidden, it is income not spent. Wealth is an option not yet taken to buy something later. Its value lies in offering you options, flexibility, and growth to one day purchase more stuff than you could right now.


1.9K reads

Facts about Saving Money

  • Building wealth has little to do with your income or investment returns, and lots to do with your savings rate.
  • If you view building wealth as something that will require more money or big investment returns, you may become too pessimistic.
  • You can build wealth without a high income but have no chance of building wealth without a high savings rate.
  • Learning to be happy with less money creates a gap between what you have and what you want.
  • One of the most powerful ways to increase your savings isn’t to raise your income, it is to raise your humility.


1.67K reads

The Neglected Element In Investing Money: Surprises

Two dangerous things happen when you rely too heavily on investment history as a guide to what’s going to happen next.

  1. You will likely miss the outlier events that move the needle the most.
  2. History can be a misleading guide to the future of the economy and stock market because it doesn’t account for structural changes that are relevant to today’s world.


  • The most common plot of economic history is the role of surprises.
  • Realizing that the future might not look anything like the past is a special kind of skill.


1.47K reads

Mistakes and Errors

  • Good ideas taken too far are indistinguishable from bad ideas.
  • People underestimate the need for room for error in almost everything they do that involves money.
  • Room for error lets you endure a range of potential outcomes. Endurance lets you stick around long enough to let the odds of benefiting from a low probability outcome fall in your favour.
  • The biggest gains occur infrequently, either because they don’t happen often or because they take time to compound.


1.45K reads

The Uncertain Future

  • The ability to do what you want, when you want, for as long as you want has an infinite ROI.
  • You can’t prepare for what you can’t envision.
  • Avoid single points of failure. If many things rely on one thing working, and that thing breaks, you are counting the days until catastrophe.
  • The biggest single point of failure with money is a sole reliance on a paycheck to fund short-term spending needs.
  • The most important part of every plan is planning on your plan not going according to plan.


1.35K reads

Nothing Is Free

  • Everything has a price and the key to a lot of things with money is figuring out what that price is and being willing to pay it.
  • Most things are harder in practice than they are in theory. This is often because we are not good at identifying what the price of success is, which prevents us from being able to pay it.
  • The price of successful investing is volatility, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and regret.
  • The inability to recognize that investing has a price can tempt us to try to get something for nothing.


1.33K reads

The Psychology Of People

  • Short-term traders ignore the rules governing long-term investing, particularly around valuation. Because those rules are irrelevant to the game they are playing.
  • Bubbles do their damage when long-term investors playing one game start taking their cues from short-term traders playing another game.
  • It is hard to grasp that other investors have different goals than we do.
  • An anchor of psychology is not realizing that rational people can see the world through a different lens than their own.


1.42K reads

Gravitating Towards a Negative Outlook

  • Optimism is the belief that the odds of a good outcome are in your favour over time, even when there will be setbacks along the way.
  • Two topics will affect your life whether you are interested in them or not, money and health.
  • An iron law in economics: extremely good and extremely bad circumstances rarely stay that way for long because supply and demand adapt in hard to predict ways.
  • Progress happens too slowly to notice, but setbacks happen too quickly to ignore.


1.31K reads

Believing In Narratives

  • Stories are, by far, the most powerful force in the economy.
  • The more you want something to be true, the more likely you are to believe a story that overestimates the odds of it being true.
  • Everyone has an incomplete view of the world, but we form a complete narrative to fill in the gaps.
  • Coming to terms with how much you don’t know means coming to terms with how much of what happens in the world is out of your control.
  • The illusion of control is more persuasive than the reality of uncertainty.


1.35K reads

Things To Remember

  • Go out of your way to find humility when things are going right and forgiveness and compassion when things are going wrong.
  • Less ego equals more wealth.
  • Become okay with a lot of things going wrong.
  • Use money to gain control over your time, because not having control of your time is a surefire way to be miserable.
  • Be nicer and less flashy. Nobody is as impressed with your possessions as much as you are.
  • You are more likely to gain respect and admiration through kindness and humility than horsepower and chrome.


1.71K reads



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