A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that one reason people have trouble saving money for the future is because they haven't spent enough time thinking about their future selves. If the future you feels like a stranger, you're less likely to put money away for his or her benefit.
For the study, researchers asked people to evaluate how connected or similar they currently felt to their future selves. Study participants who said they felt more connected and more similar to their future selves made better financial decisions than people who weren't quite sure who they might become later on. The more self-aware group were more likely to choose large gift cards that they had to wait to spend, rather than smaller gift cards that they could use right away.
"[H]elping people recognize the enduring aspects of their personal identity, may hold the key to making people more patient and more willing to sacrifice, save and invest for the future," said the study's authors, Daniel M. Bartels and Oleg Urminsky, in a statement.
So take 2011 to get to know yourself a little better. What are the values, interests, goals, dreams, likes and dislikes that make you tick? You might end up reaping lots of benefits to health and happiness by doing so — and put away a few bucks for a rainy day to boot.
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