Does temperament play a role in investments?

By Michael Osteen

When you look up the definition of temperament in the Merriam-Webster dictionary you’ll find the following: “the usual attitude, mood, or behavior of a person or animal.”  

In an online dictionary, it is defined as “a person’s or animal’s nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior.”  

There are a number of different theories and information pertaining to the topic.

Going back to oldest reveals there is a four temperaments system, which includes sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic.

Sanguine temperaments often display lively, optimistic and carefree traits.  

Phlegmatic temperaments often seek close relationships and interpersonal harmony. 

Choleric temperaments often are goal-oriented, savvy, analytical and logical.  

Melancholic temperaments often display a love of traditions, are orderly and involved in community.  

Others have described those using different terms, but the basic characteristics overall are similar. For example, Dr. Helen Fisher uses the labels Explorer, Negotiator, Director and Builder.

There are some circles that would want us to believe that each is totally distinct and apart from the other. Some experts agree that within each of us is a unique combination made up of the four, but with specific traits being more dominate.  

So how does this correlate to investments?  

As Warren Buffet said, “Success in investing doesn’t correlate with IQ … what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.”  

In general, investors are human and as such are naturally hardwired to react to certain situations by fleeing to safety to keep them out of harm’s way. These same emotional behavior instances become our biggest liability when it comes to investing.  

The successful investors are those that have the ability to keep their heads and remain calm while others are running around crying the sky is falling and panicking.  

To help jump off the emotional rollercoaster, we suggest focusing on the long-term perspective of your investments rather than the daily short-term approach of others.  

This in itself starts to separate mere speculators from serious investors.  

For example, in December of 2013 via our research we found an undervalued company, called Idenix Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:IDIX). We invested in the company. At one point it was down 70 percent, yet we did not panic; we held our position based on sound fundamental analysis.

Later, in August of 2014, Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) paid a nice premium for the company and we realized a 451 percent cumulative (989 percent annualized) return performance.  

To learn more about value investing research, contact me today for a complimentary meeting. 

Michael Osteen, MBA, is chief investment strategist with Port Wren Capital LLC with a 252-percent, three-year cumulative (36.04 percent annualized) return performance using independent value investment research.  Email him at michael@portwrencapital.com.  

This column is not to be intended as investment advice. It is solely for general information, and you are advised to perform your own research and due diligence prior to making any type of investment and that investing in stocks involves risks that could result in part or all of your capital invested.

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