Does investors’ personality influence their portfolios

Based on large-scale survey data from the 2006-2012 waves of the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) we show that individual portfolio decisions are influenced by a variety of traits and facets traditionally investigated in the field of personality psychology. Two personality traits that taken together depict a self-centered personality profile have the most significant impact on financial risk taking: lower Agreeableness and higher Cynical Hostility predict
higher willingness to take risks. The effects of Agreeableness seem to pass through the preferences – rather than the beliefs – channel. Our findings shed new light on the noncognitive side of individuals’ risk taking.

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