Artificial Markers

I’m in the middle of researching and writing my 2012 Investment Outlook (the 2011 edition is here), set for publication at the beginning of January.  It’s a helpful discipline to go back and re-evaluate my positions and expectations and to try to provide good guidance while trying to fight confirmation bias and the other cognitive biases we all tend to suffer every step of the way. 

It’s also good to go undergo a comprehensive re-boot of “where I stand” as a way to check my work.  Doing  so at the start of  a new year makes sense because we all tend to think of it as a new beginning and because, for many of us at least, it is a new beginning — albeit an artificial one — in terms of performance evaluation and pay.

But it’s also helpful to recall that there is nothing magical about the turning of a calendar page any more than there is about 5,280 feet being in a mile.  We can all acknowledge that the earth takes a bit over 365 days to revolve around the sun, but the starting point for the counting is entirely arbitrary.  Nothing substantively changes with the new year simply because it is a new year. 

That’s worth remembering too.

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