Are you making investment decisions with just half of your brain? Have you ever thought about how we use the term right-brain and left-brain when describing people? Let’s talk about the unique functions of the right brain and left brain and then reframe financial decisions based on using both sides of our brain. We should be making all of our decisions with our whole brain – as my neuroscience friend, Jerome Lubbe says, “We are whole brain people.” Just like if you are into the enneagram, you are actually all 9 numbers you just might have a tendency to operate out of one in your more natural state. Well, you might naturally be more inclined to make your decisions based on one side of your brain, but shouldn’t you be making whole brain decisions? The truth is your left and right side of the brain don’t work independently from each other, they are connected by nerve fibers and work together for the entire body system.

Right Brain 

The right brain processes information based on feelings and intuition. Some scientists even call the right side of the brain the feminine aspect of the human being. The right side of the brain is where we create and imagine, it’s where we dream, and have holistic thinking and theorizing possibilities. We use our right side of the brain to visualize things. Some people say it is our subconscious mind.

Left Brain

The left side of our brain processes information through logic and words. Some scientists call this side of the brain the masculine aspect of the human being. The left side of our brain deals with linear thinking and mathematics. It likes facts and concrete evidence and things to operate in an orderly sequence. This is where you analyze data and make decisions based on your findings.

So what does this mean when it comes to investing? Some people tend to make investment decisions based upon their logic and just by looking at the historical trends and numbers (left-brain) and some base their decisions off of the dreams they have for the future and their emotions and intuition (right-brain). But, what if we told you that our firm is very adamant about helping you make decisions using your whole brain so that your intuition, values, and dreams align with logic and data? The truth is we don’t purely make decisions based on logic, because our emotions and our values play a role in what is important to us as individuals and families. This could be the reason spouses argue about finances because they are each trying to make decisions with different sides of the brain. 

We have to integrate our corpus colossal which runs down the center of our brain and allows both sides of our brain to work together. Making decisions with just one side of your brain would be like trying to swim with only one arm, you might be able to do it but you also might swim in circles. If you can integrate both sides of your brain in your decision-making process it is so much easier to swim. This is an example of the importance of integration from The Whole Brain Child, a parenting book I highly recommend. This example shows that to move forward in the direction of your dreams you need to make sure you are using both sides of your brain when it comes to making financial decisions.

How do you make decisions when deciding to save for retirement? 

What are your values?

Do you imagine having a mortgage when you retire? We know the answer to this question is usually no, but paying off your mortgage isn’t the left brain’s logical choice, it’s more of a right brain decision. This is where we see that using the whole brain helps you to have less stress and to have a more integrated approach, which leads to confidence in your financial plan. It’s a beautiful balance between logic and emotion.

What are you invested in?

At GIA, we want to make sure that you are confident in what you’re invested in. That’s why you always need to include your emotions in your decision-making process. For example, if the environment is really important to you we would want to know that so that you invest in only environmentally friendly companies or ESGs. We want you to be excited about your investments and feel like they truly reflect your values.

What causes and organizations do you support? 

At GIA we really think it is important to connect the logical, mathematical part of your brain with the right side which is the meaning and context behind your choices. This is why what you value and the legacy that you want to leave behind matters to us. This is the reason GIA encourages generosity because it bridges the gap between both parts of your brain — connecting your wealth to the things you value and the causes close to your heart.

What is your legacy plan?

We recently wrote a blog about your legacy plan which helps you as you are planning ahead not only for how you’re going to leave your money but how you’re going to influence those you leave behind through your values and your life’s work. Having an estate plan appeals to both the right brain, with the transfer tax – 40% in 2021 for both estate and gift transfers and the left brain, having an interest in directing to whom their assets are transferred to during life or at death.