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Blame It On the Brain

You know that you could have more money if you stopped spending and held on to your money. So why can’t you just do it already?

It might just be how you’re wired. CNN reports that three separate studies have shown that subjects would rather have something now than wait for something later—even if what comes later is better. That’s because the payout has to be huge for your mind to justify the delay. What’s worse is that the longer the waiting period, the less attractive the gain is. An NYU study shows that to the average Joe, getting a crisp $20 now is preferable to receiving $23 in three weeks or $40 in three months. No word on whether all the test subjects were poor students simply in need of a little cash…

So how can you cheat what seems to be in your nature and help yourself save for the future? It’s not easy, but you can try having friends hold you accountable or make small savings goals for yourself that will reward you in the near future with a desired vacation or minor purchase. Chances are if you can wait for that, you’ll be able to learn to wait a little longer for the things you’ll want later on. [CNN]

Posted: 3/25/08