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My 92-year old grandmother has been an investor since the 1970s. Given her age, she now owns mainly stock and bond mutual funds, most of them geared towards "safety."

But much to the chagrin of her financial advisor, she still owns one individual stock: Exxon.

Her advisor thinks it's "risky" for her to own just one individual stock and that it would help her portfolio to sell it and disperse the money amongst her many funds. The Exxon stock, by the way, isn't a big portion of her overall portfolio. It accounts for less than 5%.

Why won't she sell it?

She inherited the shares when her father died in 1972. She has told me that it's her last "connection" to him. So she's keeping the stock, come what may.

My grandmother is, what I call, an "emotional" investor. That's an investor who is owning a stock purely for emotional reasons.

Here are some signs you are an emotional investor:

1. You're holding onto a stock for reasons other than the fundamentals: i.e. the product is so awesome, the company must be too. See Krispy Kreme and other "hot" food and product brands.

2. You still own shares of the first stock you ever bought . . . at age 15.

3. You own shares in the company a relative worked at for decades (usually a father or grandfather) and are still loyal (even if you, yourself, never worked there.)

4. Everyone else owns the stock, so you want to own it too. See Microsoft in 1999 and Apple in 2012.

In full disclosure, like my grandmother and great-grandfather, I also own shares of Exxon. Yeah, sometimes, I'm an emotional investor too.

How about you? Have you bought stocks for emotional reasons?

 

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