Emily Guy Birken's blog

Investment Advice You Should Never Hear From Your Financial Advisor

Choosing a financial advisor you can trust is hard. Narrow the field by eliminating any advisor who offers you any of this "advice."

4 Brain Hacks for Better Investment Decisions

Investors may think they make rational decisions, but for many, emotions and psychology call the shots. Understand your biases to make better decisions.

How Emotions Can Hurt a Home Buyer

Granite counters and fresh paint can lead a buyer to overlook a home's flaws. Avoid buying the wrong house by recognizing these common biases.

How We Brainwash Ourselves Into Brand Loyalty

If you think you're immune to marketing, think again — in fact, you might be convincing yourself to buy something and not even realize that you're doing it.

Credit Cards Aren’t as Competitive as They Want You to Believe

Competition between businesses is what creates good deals for consumers, right? Then why the heck are credit card companies not more competitive?

Marketing, Life Insurance, and Behavioral Psychology

Many of us avoid thinking about life insurance because, well, it's kind of creepy. But it's also incredibly important. Learn why.

Psychology and Loans: The Strange Reasons Why You Make Bad Decisions

You might think that when it comes to big financial decisions, you only make logical, rational decisions. But research suggests that you don't.

A Brief History of Credit Card Marketing Tactics

Credit card companies have been trying to part us from our money for years — and their techniques are only getting more sophisticated.

The Presenter’s Paradox: Why Less Really Is More

Whether you're getting something for free from a company or giving your significant other a gift, discover how our minds assign less value to more stuff.

Mental Accounting: Why You Blow Your Tax Refund but Not Your Raise

Learn why we treat some money differently from other money — and how to get a better overall grip on your finances.

Why Superstition Makes You Buy Insurance

Our illogical brains lead us to buy insurance when we need it the least and forget about it when we need it the most. Here's how to change the cycle.

The Paradox of Choice and the Mortgage Crisis

We often think that having more choices is better. But in reality, having more options might cause us to make bad decisions — like getting risky mortgages.

How Credit Card Companies Prey on Your Basic Needs

Maslow's hierarchy of needs helps explain why humans react the way they do. And for credit card companies, it helps explain how to get more of your money.

How Retailers Manipulate You Into Spending

Whether you're at the mall or online, retailers have plenty of tricks to help separate you from your cash. Learn what they are so you can shop smarter.

How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior

By making a few key moves before you shop, you can easily trick your brain into better credit card use. Here's how.

How Your Credit Card Statement Is Keeping You in Debt

Your credit card company uses all sorts of sneaky statement tricks to keep you in debt. Learn what to look out for.

How to Escape Reward Card Spending Traps

Even savvy shoppers can get sucked into credit card traps. Get the benefits of a rewards card and avoid the pitfalls by developing these habits.

Weight Watchers for Your Wallet

There are a lot of parallels between losing weight and saving money — in fact, some of the best financial advice comes from dieting.

How Traditional Banking Practices Can Make You Poor

Traditional banking practices benefit the banks, not the customer. Discover how, if you're not careful, banks can hurt your finances.

Why We Take on Credit Card Debt

Why some of us take on so much debt — and how others manage to avoid it so well — can seem mysterious. Discover some of the reasons.