Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Seeing red?

You know those little ticker symbols for stocks? That show how much up or down a stock is on any given day? Almost anywhere you look, there's a pretty consistent standard that when a stock is up, it's green, and if it's down, it's red.

I read recently that red is bad--just the color itself scares people.... or something like that. They see red, and red means bad. It means stop. It makes people do irrational things like panic and sell their stocks, often when they should be buying more.

Now if you're someone that is buying stock, it is in your best interests for the price of stocks to go down. You don't get excited when your favorite lunch place raises prices, so why would you get excited when the stocks you want to buy go up in price? It's completely irrational.

So here's my suggestion: Switch the colors. If you're a net buyer of stocks, constantly adding more money to your portfolio, the stock prices should turn green when the stocks go down, and they should turn red when prices go up. Red is bad. Higher stock prices are bad. Lower stock prices are good.

It's the way the world should work--at least for net buyers of stock. Perhaps they'll become better investors, buying more when those numbers turn green, and perhaps panic selling when things turn red. At least it follows more of a buy low and sell high strategy that way.

If you're retiring and looking to sell out, well obviously, the current method works just fine. You want stock prices to go up, and green is good. =) You don't want stock prices to go down, and red is bad. (But still, wouldn't you rather sell on an up day?)

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