How cool is your email address?

It’s “Party” season here in London. Like a blind hen that occasionally finds grain, I too have been invited to a few networking type Christmas drinks.

When I started working in the 1990s, folks would usually hand out business cards carrying their work email. Now with people moving jobs so often and LinkedIn or Facebook the way we keep our “friends”, people tend to hand out cards with a personal email on it.

For personal emails there seems to be a hierarchy. Gmail is the coolest, then Yahoo (the company has been sold) and then Hotmail (almost embarrassing). If you’re still on AOL, I think you might automatically not even be invited to parties anymore.

Twice this week people have apologised when handing over a card with a not so cool email address, with a quiet “I should really change my email” remark.

Gmail is free. Setting up your own personalised domain and email costs a few dollars a month. To switch all you do is: Go to current but unwanted email. Download and save the address book. Set up new, cool email, and upload your address book. Email everyone in your address book from your new email saying you’re switching. Keep both emails alive for convenience. About 10 minutes of work tops.

Why then is it so difficult to do? Switching costs and sunk costs. The human brain doesn’t like change. From an evolutionary perspective it holds onto things it has invested time and energy into. And it’s wary of new things.

People often tell me what they’re doing investment wise. And usually they are stressed or burdened by having to change something, decide to end something and start something new.

  • I should sell my shares in company X and reinvest…
  • I have too many brokerage accounts… I only need one...
  • I really should move some money back to the US from Hong Kong….
  • I need to find my pension paperwork for my job from 2003 and move the money...
  • I should kill the bank account in Cambodia (hello Helen!) ....

Things they need to switch out of or things they need to switch off.

These cycles of thought of “I really should…” take up mental space and keep us from moving forward on our investment goals. Very draining.

As the days darken and before we’re bombarded with the temptation of shiny new opportunities in 2018, end the things in 2017 that no longer serve your investment interests.

What is the one thing you could turn off, switch out of or say no to that would improve your financial life? How much better would you feel if you changed?