Would you place a bet where you have a 50% chance of winning $100 and a 50% chance of losing $75?

While the expected payoff of this bet is positive, the average person would pass on the opportunity. Behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky found that people tend to have a very strong loss aversion and require a 2:1 payout to consider a bet that might result in a loss.

When I first read about their work, I thought about my own approach to investing and its shortcomings. If we have asymmetric aversion to loss, why do we fail to take many of the financial actions that have a fairly certain economic benefit– maxed out retirement contributions, charitable giving through appreciated securities and donor advised funds, etc.? If we are hardwired to avoid loss, how do we let ourselves lose by not taking actions with such important long-term benefits?

I realized that my own inaction was driven by a few factors. Despite having been an investor at Bain Capital and the CFO of a successful tech company, I found I had the same reasons for inaction as friends with no financial experience:

  1. Inhibition to ask questions of peers when I suspect I should know the answer
  2. Not knowing the right question(s) to ask related to a potential tax deduction, investment option or legal action that could add significant value
  3. Not knowing who to turn to in order to execute a strategy I thought might add value
  4. Concern about my taking the wrong action that could lead to a “loss”, which resulted in indecision.

How should I keep track of everything, how do I figure out everything I could be doing and most importantly, perhaps, how do I avoid doing things that cause irreversible missed financial opportunity?

I wanted a resource to be able to determine what I should be doing and where I could find the best advisors to help me with my financial, legal and tax needs. After evaluating the landscape and not finding that resource, I decided to build it.

Harness Wealth was founded on the belief that the best financial outcomes and the most rewarding client experiences occur when innovation meets expertise. We help clients effectively unlock financial opportunity to achieve their best financial future through a holistic and personalized approach. This is done through an integrated data platform that enables clients to identify what they should be thinking about based on their goals, assets, life milestones and areas of concern, and to build a holistic dashboard of their financial life and execute strategies or build advisor relationships to ensure that they optimize their financial future. We then power those ongoing relationship with our proprietary technology.

Our approach allows people to engage in the way that they want and need. Someone can come to us because they want a self-directed way to learn about areas of potential opportunity, for instance when they have a child or start a new company. Others may come to us because they want an integrated dashboard of their financial life in order  to create a will or have a CPA prepare their taxes. And others may come to us because they want a full set of financial, tax and legal advisors to ensure they reach their best financial future.

We believe that with this approach, Harness Wealth can help unlock significant uncaptured financial opportunity and help our clients achieve the impact they seek.

To learn more about Harness Wealth, visit About Us