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Brain Drain: We’re Not Wired to Save

New research out of Cornell University has determined that, over time, our brains are wired more to earn money than to save it. In other words, when given a choice, our default savings strategy is simply to earn more money. Rather than cutting back spending, we ask for a raise or look for a job that pays more. Unfortunately, even when we succeed, how many people actually save the difference between their old income and the new? For many of us, our spending also increases with higher income.1

It doesn’t help that our day-to-day living environment also encourages us to spend rather than save. All around us — every medium in which we receive information — is advertising enticing us to buy something. Ads on television, magazines, newspapers, online, billboards, flyers and mail all serve as inducements designed to separate us from our money.

However, the good news is researchers believe our pro-earning and anti-saving bias is learned and thus can be unlearned through recognition and proactive measures.2

1 Adam Anderson and Eve De Rosa. CNN. Oct. 17, 2018. “Low savings account? Blame your brain.” https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/17/perspectives/brains-earning-saving/index.html. Accessed Nov. 30, 2018.

Ibid.

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