Ritholtz on the Folly of Forecasting

When it comes to market and economic forecasts, top strategist Barry Ritholtz has some advice: Ignore them.

“The simple truth is that, as a species, you humans are terrible about making predictions,” Ritholtz writes in a Bloomberg column. “Forget forecasting big events that are not in your control, such as the economy or the market, you cannot even forecast your own behavior. If you could, the fitness and diet industries would be bankrupt.”

Making predictions, Ritholtz says, can set the stage for dangerous behavioral biases. “The true danger of forecasting is not that you will be wrong — the odds are you will — but rather the natural tendency to stick to a forecast regardless,” he says. “Instead of adjusting to changing conditions, we have the odd tendency to marry the old prediction.”