If you've ever wondered why it's so tempting to turn window shopping into real purchases — and so tough to turn income into long-term savings — it turns out, there's a natural reason for this impulse.
For thousands of years our hunter and gatherer ancestors had little incentive to save. Wandering for food and shelter, there was no reason to lug around precious items like fruit, vegetables, grains, and meats for future use. Survival meant being able to consume, and become thrifty, on the spot.
“When you're talking about saving," Dr. Brad KlontzDr. Brad Klontz. Opens a new window in your browser, an Associate Professor at Creighton University's Heider College of Business, said, "you're asking your brain to do something it's not wired to do."
While this knowledge may make you breathe a sigh of relief (It's not just you!), understanding how we are wired can help us better plan for the future, turning short-term satisfaction into long-term, 21st century gain.
Yet, this is where we find a silver lining (for our retirement funds). This capacity to invest meaningfully in people and things, however abstractly, can be retrained to invest in the emotional elements of long-term saving.
In the end, participants who had their emotional brain stimulated saved nearly 200 per cent more.