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More Pain in Losing or Fun in Winning?

We love winning yet we despise losing. The U-M vs MSU game is October 3. We are going out with another couple that night. The BUB says to me "Are you sure you want to go out in case your team loses?"

She's right. Driving back from East Lansing with a victory, we want to listen to the game wrap up, what the coaches have to say, what the players have to say, and what the heck, what the advertisers have to say. We are happy and have bragging rights.

But driving back from East Lansing with a loss, the radio is not only turned off, but barely functioning. Silence permeates the car like a funeral home. Knowing that conversations will be going on about the loss for the next few days is intolerable. Worse, the thought of the loss lasts much longer than the thought of a win.

David Adler in his latest book, Snap Judgment, has finally answered the question for us and why and what we can do about it. According to Adler, losing is at least twice as painful as the feeling of winning. When it comes to MSU, I think it's more like four times as painful.

Adler lists several examples that we can relate to. For instance, gamblers expect to win but when they lose, they get much more upset than if they won. More so, they tend to bet higher stakes to get back to break even and since that seldom occurs, they get even more upset.

Same thing goes for stock picking. We buy a stock expecting it to go up. When it goes down, we tend to buy more to get back to even. Again, this seldom works and once again, we are much more upset losing money on the stock versus making the profit we planned on.

The best example I enjoyed was the one credit card companies use based on the fear of losing. They cleverly include a minimum balance that needs to be paid each month. The minimum balance is a tiny percentage of the amount due. However, virtually all credit card payments made are the minimum balance. Why? Because credit card holders don't want to risk losing the card but they see not enough upside to pay more. Hence, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card and pay the minimum balance, at a 15% interest rate, it will take 27 years to pay it off. Adler's solution to this is to simply manage your finances and not use credit cards if you can't pay them off or beat them at their own game by taking their miles and paying them zero interest.

There is one thing I know for sure after all this: MSU best whip Wisconsin's butt this Saturday because I really want to enjoy Kemon Nights later on.

Happy Wednesday!


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