The Flaws of Our Financial Memory

Posted: 11 Dec 2009 Last revised: 23 May 2019

Date Written: December 9, 2009


Our cognitive abilities like memory, perception, self-reflection etc. are highly evolved, but maladapted to the challenges of modern life. In this article the most common flaws of memory are described and it is shown how these flaws of memory might impact our recollection of financial events and decisions in the past. Faulty, inexistent or inadequate memory might give rise to sub-optimal financial decisions today and impair our ability to learn from the past. Thus, financial professionals and investors alike need to be aware of these flaws of memory and develop ways to mitigate their negative impact. Two techniques (investment policy statements and investment diaries) seem particularly promising in dealing with these problems. At the same time these techniques may be proactively used as a defense against unethical practices that try to exploit these flawed memories.

Keywords: Memory, cognitive risk management, behavioral decision making

JEL Classification: D10, D18, D83

Suggested Citation

Klement, Joachim, The Flaws of Our Financial Memory (December 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Joachim Klement (Contact Author)

Liberum Capital ( email )

25 Ropemaker Street
London, EC2Y 9LY
United Kingdom

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