"Your personality has a major influence on your behavior as an investor," says Robert Doll, president and chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers. In a groundbreaking survey of investors, Doll points out one of the fundamental precepts of professional money management: Keep your emotions out of your portfolio.

"In most human endeavors, individual psychology affects behavior and, ultimately, results," Doll notes. "Anyone who has ever gone on a diet or started a workout regimen knows that. Investing is no different. Whether you're trying to shrink your waistline or grow your nest egg, discipline and self-awareness go a long way."

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