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Procrastinating on profit-taking?

We humans have a tendency to procrastinate, not just work, but also pleasure.

Take, for instance, sightseeing. A new study by professors at the University of California has confirmed what many of us have long suspected from anecdotal experience: People who move to a new city get to fewer local landmarks than the typical tourist visits during a two-week stay. [1]

The other classic example is gift certificate usage. Retailers have learned over the years that they can reliably count on profits from expired balances.

What about taking profits on a successful investment or trade? We all know that taking some money off the table is never a bad thing, yet we all hesitate to do it. We procrastinate on taking profits.

Perhaps a good resolution for investors at the dawn of this new decade should be: Carpe diem, take profits!


[1] Shu, Suzanne B., and Ayelet Gneezy. (2010). Procrastination of Enjoyable Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research []