Hold On to Your Marshmallows
One of Americans’ top resolutions every year is to save more money. As with other popular New Year’s resolutions, losing a few pounds or kicking a nicotine habit, the secret to success comes down to self-control.
Are you better at living for today, than planning for tomorrow? An experiment observing people over an extended period of time has shown that being unable to hold back can hold you back in the long term.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
A Stanford professor, Walter Mischel, conducted an experiment with children in 1972 to test their ability to delay gratification through self-control. He offered them a marshmallow and told them that if they could wait and not eat the marshmallow, they could have a second marshmallow when he returned to the room. If they ate the first one before he came back, they wouldn’t get a second marshmallow.
Some kids immediately ate the marshmallow and others managed to wait until Mischel returned and received an additional marshmallow. Those who waited, experienced the sweet rewards of delayed gratification. The study followed the participants later into their lives and revealed that the kids who held out were healthier, scored better grades, and were more successful in the psychological measures the researchers conducted.
What a Marshmallow Can Teach You
Saving money works in much the same way as the “Marshmallow Test”. Applying the same process to how we handle our finances will ultimately lead to larger monetary rewards, although not right away, which is an example of delayed gratification.
It’s important that we constantly remind ourselves that every decision in life comes with a trade-off. Every time we seek immediate pleasure we could be robbing ourselves of future happiness, health, and wealth.
Saving isn’t about being deprived, it’s about making sound decisions and purchases that add value to our life and to what’s really important. As we continue to save, the process of self-control becomes easier and we begin to associate saving with the positive emotions of eventual attainment rather than the negativity from suppressing instant gratification.
When it comes to your financial future, Consumers Credit Union provides several savings accounts and other investment options in which your money can grow steadily. For additional information, visit us online or feel free to contact a Consumers Credit Union representative.