Can You Imagine Your Way to a New Car or House?

Can You Imagine Your Way to a New Car or House?

New research found that subjects who imagine their futures tend to make better decisions about money.

When’s the last time you thought about your future goals? This morning? Last month? Haven’t done that yet?


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If you’re more the “I’ll-think-about-it-later” type, new research suggests that it might be good for your bottom line if you change that. In fact, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently found that subjects whose brains showed activity when they imaged their futures also tended to make better decisions about money.

It makes sense when you think about. For example, the idea of living in a more spacious apartment over the past couple months has helped me feel motivated to sock away more cash into a savings account to pay a higher rent in the future.

In other words, just the idea of more square footage has me saving like a madwoman.

RELATED: Why You Should Step Up Your Savings

“These findings invert an old idea about delaying gratification,” Joe Kable, a specialist in the field of neuroeconomics at the University of Pennsylvania, told CNBC. “Right now, we are trying to tamp down the immediate temptations. But instead, it’s better to ramp up the desire for that future outcome.”

Penn researchers aren’t the only ones studying the correlation between imagination and money, though. At New York University’s Stern School of Business, another professor found that subjects who were able to imagine themselves in the future were better able to save more for retirement.

So what are you waiting for? Start taking some time each day to imagine what your life will look like in the future, and any goodies you’d like it to include. Your savings account will probably thank you.

RELATED: 7 Ways Money Memories Can Affect Your Finances


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