Of course money has no emotion but those of us who use money (that’s everyone, right?) employ any number of emotions every time we use our dollars. The emotions that move people to use money can bring out the best and worst in a person, so understanding money’s influence on the way we think and make decisions has the potential to help us manage our finances.
A recent study found people perceive financial decisions as cold, unemotional, extremely analytical and highly incompatible with feelings and emotions. The researchers propose that consumers are less likely to avoid decisions about finances when those same choices are presented in terms of making decisions about lifestyle (Sela and Park).
Consider this: when faced with making a decision about saving or investing toward a long-term financial goal (home purchase, retirement, etc.), reframe that decision in terms of lifestyle. Would you like to use thirty to thirty-five per cent of your income on a home where you have limited control (residing as a renter) or would a lifestyle as a homeowner (more freedom to decorate, landscape, renovate, etc.) better suit you? Do you envision retirement spent in the state you reside in or do you fancy a little travel to spice up your golden years?
The next time you are pondering a financial issue and a decision is at hand, think lifestyle rather than economics. Envision yourself plopped down in the middle of the desirable scenario that your wise decision will likely net you. The grassy pasture. The picket fence. The lanai. The open road. The jet airplane transporting you to that tropical island. There, now wasn’t that better?