We have all learned by now that trying to keep up with the Joneses is no way to live.
Yet, we have this ingrained barometer that ticks off when we hear or see someone with something more than ourselves.
Because we view money in relative not absolute terms we are often irrational in our thinking. We are wired to be “loss averse.” It hurts more to lose money than to win money. At the same time we don’t treat money equally in terms of our “feeling about it.”
Which would you choose,
- Win $50 at Bingo or
- Have $50 cut from your phone bill.
It is the same $50, but we don’t see it that way.
On the other hand when we pay with a credit card we get to experience the pleasure of buying without the pain (yet) of what it will cost. Using this rationale, the Money Gurus tell us to automate the same process in reverse—set up automatic deductions for taxes, IRA, Health Accounts, Savings so that we can use this same system to our advantage. Once they are set up we rarely change them.
Other defaults might include, telling your mortgage broker to contact you when rates drop ¾ to 1 percentage point below what you have now. If in fact, you can refinance you might save thousands of dollars over the course of a home loan.
Some research shows that when an employer automatically enrolls a new hire into the retirement plan, participation increases dramatically. If not, we just get lazy.
Finding ways to set up these defaults will increase your feelings about your financial situation and move you in a positive direction.