Budget Planner with Fit Financial Consulting
While most people spend a great deal of time planning for retirement, we often overlook the advantages of budgeting and saving for larger purchases like a down payment on a house, car, or vacation. The ability to go out and enjoy new things and new experiences is often determined by our daily spending habits. Seemingly simple and minor decisions, like buying an extra bag of chips or your daily coffee can be the difference between the car of necessity and the car of your dreams, or one annual vacation and two annual vacations. Not everyone has the disposable income to simply hop on a plane at a moment’s notice or book a lavish cruise. Instead we have to make the choice between spending now and spending later. We have all been taught the lesson about delayed gratification but I think it is made very clear in the marshmallow test.
The marshmallow test has been conducted in many variations by many individuals and groups. The gist, though, is this. Young children, typically between the ages of two to five are placed in a room and presented with a choice. One of the members of the study will enter the room and place a marshmallow or some other goody in front of the child. The child is then told that the researcher is going to leave the room and if the child waits to eat the marshmallow until the researcher comes back, they will receive an additional marshmallow. What they found is about what you would expect of young children. The bulk of the children devoured the marshmallow within seconds of the researcher leaving the room. The remaining children used whatever distraction they could conceive to wait and were thus rewarded with a second marshmallow. The researches then followed up with these children in later years of their life and found a striking difference between those that ate the marshmallow right away and those that waited. The children that waiting to eat the marshmallow had statistically higher SAT scores, higher GPAs, and higher paying jobs. What this tells us, these children understood the concept of delayed gratification and were likely able to place their studies ahead of play, thus setting themselves up for more success later in life. This is not to say that everything should be about delayed gratification, but that a certain degree of self-control and forethought can go a long ways towards helping you achieve your desired success.
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