This week’s write-up has a lot to do with a human tendency. When someone wants to massage their belief about something they hold deep to them, they seek out information that “confirms their bias.”
A friend of mine just had her whole life blow up right in front of her eyes. She was with her boyfriend for a total of 10 years and found out three months before the set date of her dream wedding that he’d been having an affair with some girl at his work for the last six months. As much of a deal-breaker as this would appear to be from the outside, my friend could not let go of him for some time. She claimed that she really loves him and wanted to make it work out – not to mention $20,000 that was being flushed down the drain on a venue that would never get used. She was blinded by what she wanted to believe and could not see that fact that he is a cheater and someone that doesn’t love her. Of course, she wanted to believe that he loved her and it would work, and she went to all of her friends looking for approval. She went to all of us trying to see if she could find some approval for her, even giving this guy another chance, and, of course, everyone was against this. Luckily, for her sake, she is letting this man go and moving on with her life.
This recent event reminded me of a human tendency that is referred to as “confirmation bias.” This has to do with people’s inclination to search for or just interpret information in a way that confirms someone’s already-established beliefs.
I’ve found that most people will do this to one extent or another and I was amazed that there was an actual word that describes this very behavior. If someone is a Catholic, for instance, they are going to seek out literature that confirms their belief in the religion, and when negative information gets shared about the Pope, they will “confirm” their bias by seeking affirming information that rebuts what is going against them.
Another example would be a liberal that wants to find information on why the rich “don’t pay their fair share.” They can confirm their bias by seeking information that does just this. Regardless of if your bias is true or not, this predisposition blinds humans and causes people to seek information that supports a belief that is strongly held.
I’ve caught myself doing this at times, as well. I’ve done this in the past with stocks that are tanking on me. If I believe that the company is solid and I don’t want to accept that the company is heading towards a disaster, I’ll search for information that supports the stock being a good buy right now. It could be a bleak and bloody future for the company, but because I was in denial, I sought out information that confirmed my bias, and ultimately lost.
Don’t get me wrong; I do believe there are times when your beliefs are spot on and there is nothing wrong with confirming the truth. The problem we face is when we are allowing are beliefs to cloud our judgment.
The Precious Metals Confirmation Bias…
When someone is purchasing silver blindly at $50 an ounce because they believe it doesn’t matter what price they pay as long as they convert their fiat currency for metal, this is a strong position to maintain. People have been saying this all the way down to where silver is right now, right at about $15.00 an ounce. People with all the right intentions can say what they want about fiat currencies, but the fact is back in 2011 when silver was kissing $50 an ounce, $10,000 bought you 200 ounces. Today, that same $10,000 buys you 667 ounces of silver.
I personally believe strongly in the metals, and now is the time to get greedy and confirm your bias. It is very possible — especially with the trend being down for silver (and gold) — to go lower, but at this point they are cheap, and with time on your side, you are bound to win big at these valuations.
Right now, at these prices, one ounce of gold purchases you 75 ounces of silver. There have only been a handful of times where the ratio has been this high, and this, among many other reasons, leaves me no other choice but to choose silver between the two.
If you thought precious metals were a good idea because of the lackluster fundamentals in the economy before, nothing has changed. In fact, things have only gotten worse. I encourage you, after reading this article, to do more research and confirm your bias to make precious metals part of your overall portfolio, because I believe your convictions will pay off big in the long run.